Pieces of Me

September 7, 2008
By Cameron Koch, Carmel, IN

Being with my aunt and uncle at their lake house is my favorite tradition. We are always doing something drollery and life never is dull there. Last year my uncle and I built a deck and it was a really beneficent time for the both of us. He is probably the most comical guy I have ever met and he always has me laughing. I have quite a few traditions that I participate in with my family. Basically every holiday I am doing something with my family. But all these traditions encircle around my culture and the way me and my family do certain things. I think it is important to believe in your culture and where you came from because that is the foundation of a person.

I wasn’t raised around a very religious family. We never go to church and never say grace before a meal. The only time I can remember being at church was with my mom and grandma when I was a tike, but the memories are faint. I just recall how the sun shined through the different colored panels that constructed the windows and made the audience seem as if they were in a sea of paint. Because of the lack of my attendance at church, I find it incredibly difficult to have any kind of faith in Jesus or another religion. I find it awkward to celebrate certain holidays that symbolize Jesus’ birth and death and all his sacrifices, when my family cannot even dedicate one hour a week to him by going to church. I believe my mom is more spiritual then she is religious, but she still has faith in Jesus.
Every year towards the end of October, my entire step-dad’s side of the family and my mom and I travel up to Logansport to roast turkeys at a local public park. On the day of the roasting, we wake up at about five o’clock and drive to my uncle’s house to put two huge turkeys on two separate sassafras trees. Previous to this day, me and my step-dad will go out onto his friend’s dad’s land and cut down two sassafras trees for the turkeys to sit on while they cook. When we arrive at my uncles we skin the tree and slide the turkeys through each of the trees. We wrap the turkeys in an abundance of aluminum foil and metal wiring to secure it to the trees.

After the messy work is done, we take the turkeys to the camp ground and start up the fire and begin the roasting. Everyone brings an immense mass of food and we all dive in and eat till there is absolutely no room left in our stomachs. Me and my uncle’s cook up Jiffy Pop over the fire and peel potatoes and boil them to make homemade mashed potatoes. My grandma makes her homemade pies which go quickly because they are just so scrumptious. We get a game of football going and we play horseshoes and Dartts. And at the end of the day we play our traditional shoe throwing game. The objective is to swing as high as you can on the swing set and when you are coming down, you flick your shoe off your foot as far as you can. The person who flicks their shoe the shortest has to hop out and gather all the other shoes. I have never won, but it is one of the most fun games ever. This family get-together has been a tradition since 1954, so you can imagine how much it means to my dad’s family. The reason we do this is to celebrate life and remember the loved ones that have past through out the years.

Another tradition that we do is spending Christmas and Easter at my grandmother’s house. After Christmas morning at our house, head over to my grandma’s house where we meet up with the rest of my family. We just hangout here and talk amongst one another and catch up on each other’s lives. Of course, we also feast on all the food my grandma has prepared for everyone. The first thing I get when the food is ready is my great-grandma’s famous macaroni n’ cheese. It is so delicious it’s not even funny. This stuff melts in your mouth. After filling up on the food, we get to open presents. There are like 35 people there so you know you are going to get something good. My grandma does not want me and my cousins to ever grow up so she gets us dominos and Legos and all these little kid toys. My mom and my cousins and I all find it hysterical.

Also we celebrate Easter at my grandma’s. Now that my cousins and I are older, we have the privilege of hiding the eggs instead seeking them. We are really tricky with the eggs because we know the best hiding spots. It takes so long for the little kids to find all of them. I personally think it was more fun looking for the eggs than it is hiding them. It is basically a contest between everyone looking for the eggs. My grandma always fills a gigantic basketball full of candies and toys and whoever has the most eggs in the end gets the basket. I remember me and my cousin Austin used to put our eggs together so we knew we would have the most eggs and win the grand prize. We were the defending egg hunting champions for like seven years straight. No one ever knew we cheated. To this day my cousins and I still laugh about it. Just like every time we go over to my grandma’s, she always makes an assembly of fat, sugar and carbohydrates in the form of a batch of enticing eatable goods for everyone to eat. And like always, there is too much food so everyone has to take home like a pound of leftovers each. I am not saying this is a bad thing because her home cooked meals are amazing, but it’s like she is trying to get us to gorge our faces full of food.
Both my Mom’s and Dad’s side of the family are a little bit larger than your average human is. They are all fairly fattened up from junk food and virtually no exercise. I don’t really see them that often but I live with a man who eats exactly like the rest of them. That man is my step-dad and he could probably consume this entire planet if he really wanted to. He brings home all these delectable foods such as pies, cookies, candy, fast food, and flat out just a plethora of sugary fattening products. For me it is hard to resist all these mouthwatering foods. I have to resist and try to eat healthy and stay active so I do not end up like him. My mom is also trying to stay fit by working out on the treadmill. I think I motivate her by staying active with football, basketball, and track. She definitely is not overweight; she just does not want to get large.
I think all my family traditions all revolve around my culture. And my culture defines and shapes me into who I really am; a quick witted, hard-working, intelligent young man who finds joy in the smallest things in life and isn’t torn down without a fight. Therefore meaning that my family traditions are important to me and affect me majorly on the kind of person I am. Culture is an important part to all people because it shows what they believe in to an extent and the true background of an individual.

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