We all have our daily rituals. Whether it is a perfunctory peck on the cheek from a spouse as you walk out the door to work, stopping for coffee at the same place every morning to gab with friends or something more elaborate, all of us have different ways of easing into our day.
We may not even think about them, at least not on any conscious level. They are the sort of things that blend into the backgrounds of our lives and we notice them more in their absence when we can no longer do them. Kind of like the weekly letters my wife’s grandmother sent her for years, you don’t truly appreciate or cherish them until they are no longer there.
When my daughter started preschool we had an elaborate morning goodbye ritual that including bunny hops and tail wagging in a particular order and which progressively got more complicated as the year went on. The silly little rituals were an important part of her morning routine. The days that we missed doing them, were ones that we would generally get a note home from the teacher for misbehavior.
Over time, the rituals faded away, or rather new ones took their place. I swear that by the time she was in high school Beth just waited in her bedroom until I started yelling for her to get moving because it was part of the morning routine. This is a habit her brother has learned by example.
My son, Alex has his own morning rituals, such as waiting until we pull into the driveway of the school before he says anything involving more than one syllable. It is remarkable how much information you can squeeze out of a teenager in the two minutes it takes to pull up and get out of the vehicle — on good days this sudden flow of information doesn’t even require having to turn around and go home to get what was forgotten. This year our morning rituals have included patting down pockets in order to check to see that we have at least one face mask and taking our temperatures with a digital forehead thermometer before we walk out the door.
I was thinking about the morning rituals last week as I was dropping Alex off at the high school and seeing the very long line of cars waiting to drop kids off at the elementary school. I have to imagine that the morning rituals are more streamlined now with parents being encouraged to pause and push kids out of their cars rather than walking them into the building. I know from experience that no matter how much parents may grumble about it, walking kids into the school was more for their sake than their children’s. The day those small rituals are no longer needed is always a sad one.
I wanted to give a shout-out to Cheryl and Deanna McVicker. Each of them sent in emails over the weekend identifying the bench in the Jump River Community Park that was featured in last week’s “Where Am I in Taylor County?” spot.
Deanna wrote: “I would like to thank Brian Wilson for taking a picture of my Dad’s bench and posting it in The Star News. The bench was made In Memory of Dorwin who has been gone four years on August 14. With the help from Noel and Arlaine Weld and the family, Dorwin will never be forgotten.” Cheryl also expressed a similar sentiment.
As someone who has lost both their parents in the course of two years, it is important to keep memories alive. All too often in this job we have to deal with reporting on bad things that happen, it is nice to give people something to smile about and a happy memory to share.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.