by Guest Author Mary Manners
How wonderful it must be to speak the language of the angels, with no words for hate and a million words for love! ~Quoted in The Angels’ Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994
Traditions are the vines that connect family memories and lives. The older I get, the more I reflect on the traditions of my childhood, joyfully instilled with the love of my parents. I’m not talking so much about the big events but more about those little things that lay nestled in my heart like bountiful spoonfuls of warm chicken noodle soup.
For example, on each of my birthdays Mom always spent the better part of the morning elbow-deep in sifted flour and eggs as she lovingly prepared a double-chocolate cake layered with vanilla pudding and chocolate chips, drizzled in dark fudge frosting—a virtual and delectable chocolate overload. And Dad, well…at the heart of every summer this hard-working veteran’s ode to the Fourth of July consisted of a walk in the town parade followed by a backyard barbecue. As dusk fell, Dad carefully staked a flare in the lawn of our tiny front yard. Its light shimmered in a waterfall of colorful sparkles that elicited a delighted round of squeals coupled with a flurry of applause from my siblings and me. To a bunch of kids, the resulting fanfare from this single flare was more alluring than the grand finale on the town square.
Warm spring nights were filled with anticipation as I sat on the front steps with a scuffed and tattered baseball clutched in my hands while I waited for Dad to come home from a long day of work. It was his tradition to toss a few pitches to me before heading into the house to greet Mom and then wash up for dinner. Sometimes we got caught up in the moment and those few pitches stretched blissfully past twilight—and the dinner hour. In contrast, on snowy Chicago winter days Dad made it a tradition to help me run my paper route with his beat-up Chevy station wagon. He’d navigate through snow trenches while I bundled the papers and tossed them onto flake-dusted front porches. It was during those excursions that I soaked in Dad’s most valuable kernels of wisdom—words that have remained with me over the decades since I first heard them, “If you’re going to do a job, do it right.”
I’ve carried on some of the traditions of my childhood with my daughter and sons. For example, when Danni turned seven I purchased her first two-wheel bike and spent the afternoon pounding the pavement of our cul-de-sac as I taught her to ride in the same manner my parents employed for each of my siblings and me on our seventh birthdays. Her brothers soon followed. I also prepared sack lunches for school every day, same as my mom did each and every morning for thirteen years. Boloney and cheese with a side of raw veggies remains a favorite at our house, and sometimes I even managed to tuck witty inspirational quotes, scrawled on plain white paper napkins, inside before I closed each bag.
My husband and I have also begun a few of our own family traditions. We love leaving little notes for each other and for our children—taped to the car’s steering wheel, tucked beneath a bed pillow, at a place-setting on the dinner table, slipped with care into a pocket or shoe. The favorite Danni and I share is notes scrawled on a sheet torn from a sticky pad and slapped onto the bathroom mirror. When she started to drive, I began to leave messages for her each morning before I left for work and while she still lay soundly in her bed. “Have a great day. I love you. Be safe.” As the number of messages mounted, she framed the mirror with them. Then one day, as the time for her leave for college approached, I noticed the notes had disappeared. I thought she’d thrown them away while packing, but later wept when I found she’d tucked each one carefully into a shoebox that she carried away with her to campus. Now the messages frame a bulletin board in her dorm room and I pray they remind her daily of the importance…and fun…of traditions.
Traditions…they remain one of the ties that bind my family together and will surely also prove to be a legacy as my children, and now grandchildren as well, carry on many of the nuggets of day-to-day nuances that have over the years blossomed to be special—and cherished—memories.
Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they’ve rescued from local animal shelters…Lucky and Gus.
She writes romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
Learn more about Mary Manners at her website: www.MaryMannersRomance.com and at her author pages at http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/ and www.Amazon.com.
Freesia & Faith
(Wildflowers & Wishes, Book 2)
Releasing FRIDAY (May 30th)
Reese Cutler loves the feel of damp, rich soil and the scent of anything that blooms. A strong faith navigates him through the roughest waters, and nothing makes him happier than watching the family business grow–until Peyton Langley visits the nursery, presenting a partnership venture with her fledgling floral boutique.
Peyton Langley has transplanted from Kentucky to Clover Cove where she’s determined to grow her own floral shop. Work keeps her busy, and she has no desire to learn more about God–or ever set foot inside a church, save for the weddings that showcase her impeccable designs.
Until she meets Reese Cutler, and his faith and gentleness steal her heart. At odds over business, Reese and Peyton can’t deny an attraction in all other areas–including the desires of their hearts. But will conflicting goals–and Peyton’s lack of belief–destroy them, or will faith find a way to knit them together…forever?