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Remembering seasonal traditions

December 4, 2014
Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

Last week, son Tim and I were part of a gathering of the Florida branch of the family.

The Querrevelds daughter Becky, son-in-law Randy and my priceless grandson and granddaughter, Ryan and Rachel... invited us to share a Thanksgiving feast at their lovely Sarasota home.

As we loaded our plates with Becky's sumptuous gourmet meal, I asked each of these special folks to share their favorite seasonal tradition. The results took us on a laugh-filled stroll down memory lane.

Although this was our first Thanksgiving without the head of the family, my beloved husband, George, we all felt his presence as we recalled holiday seasons from the past.

Both Becky and I picked the same favorite memory from years gone by. Our choice was the tradition George began when our three children were still small and Christmas excitement was running high in the Schenk household.

We'd bundle the little ones into the car. Then George would cruise around town, traveling down every promising street, marveling at the glittering decorations and twinkling light displays.

No matter how excited the kids were during the tour, by the time we returned home, they were ready to be tucked into their waiting beds to invite visions of sugarplums.

Although Tim agreed he enjoyed the annual light show road trip, he said his real favorite of the Christmas season was the excitement of picking one gift to open on Christmas Eve. Since our family traditionally considered Christmas Day the time for gift exchanges, this special present preview added a bonus Tim joyfully anticipated from his earliest years.

When Rachel and Ryan looked back on holiday seasons past, they both picked the same event as their favorite never-to-be-forgotten tradition.

As Ryan put it, "I always loved to go to Grandma and Grandpa Q's for their special Christmas Eve dinner."

Ryan and Rachel's paternal grandparents, Clymer's late Fire Chief, Butch Querreveld and his wife, Corky, put on a wonderful feast, according to Rachel. Becky and Randy agreed that Corky's skill as a cook always made the meal unforgettable.

When I asked Randy to share his favorite tradition, he began to chuckle. Then he told us the family story of the "traveling tie."

Many years ago, Butch Querreveld's brother-in-law, Don, gave the Fire Chief a tie for Christmas.

The following year, when Butch was searching for a gift to give Don, he came upon the tie. Unfortunately, by this time he had forgotten where it had come from.

So he wrapped the tie and "re-gifted" it to Don.

Of course, it was recognized. And the following year, Don gave it back to Butch.

Randy reported that the tie became the family's comedy exchange gift for over 20 years, traveling from one male relative to another, always re-wrapped in a different box.

In the end, Randy said, the tie was showing evidence of its history, even though it had never been worn.

As we finished our pumpkin pie, we all agreed this Thanksgiving had been one to add to the long list of special family gatherings.

Loved ones sharing good food and good conversation along with warm and wonderful memories of the past.these are surely among the richest blessings of the holiday season.



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