Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 12-10-12 |

Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 12-10-12

This old Christmas postcard gives you my wish that you will all have a Merry Christmas.

How many times do you have to do something before it’s declared a tradition? Does the first year count as in “The First Annual, Traditional whatever?” If a year passes and the tradition is not observed is it dead?

Some years ago I started making cinnamon rolls when the first snowflakes fell on our farm. Although I make them at other times as well, the family began to appreciate the tradition, not because of custom but because they like the rolls. So they played along. It’s the only activity in our home that our boys ever seemed to recognize, and even call it, a tradition.

My birthday is December 12 so this year it is 12/12/12. I guess I will make history as I have been told it’s a golden birthday. My traditional birthday party when I was young was to have two of my neighbor girlfriends come for the day. We made cut out sugar cookies, frosted them and ate to our heart’s content. Hot chocolate was our beverage and we giggled the day away.

For as long as I can remember my birthday was the day we went to the trees on our farm, cut a fresh cedar, and put it up. I always enjoyed the trek — picking out the “perfect” tree — that always had to be cut much shorter so it could fit in the house. Funny how they look so small, relatively, mixed in with the other trees but when they are near the door reality sets in and the chainsaw comes back out.

In later years our sons liked to sleep under or near the Christmas tree on the first night it was in the house. We soon learned that we had to anchor the tree to the window frame with wire or the tree would mysteriously topple during the night.

With our extended family spread out in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas and Colorado these family members set up a schedule wherein they all come to South Dakota one year and then the alternate year they all stay at their own homes. That way they can all be together too. It makes one Christmas fun and busy and the next one subdued and somewhat bleak for us yet it is a good plan.

One Christmas Eve we were alone and we did something some would think odd, but it was it turned into a great time. We went to Deadwood, S.D. — the gambling town — on Christmas Eve. It was indeed a silent night because few were in the casinos. With no crowds, it was pleasant to walk about on the warm winter evening. Surprisingly all of the workers we encountered were happy and pleasant, just as they are on any other day. I am already looking forward to the next time we have the opportunity instead of dreading the “off” year of Christmas.

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A real body of work


I’ve presided over a riot only once in my life. It was years ago at our annual branding which would eventually turn into an all out war.

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