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Traditions Keep A Family Strong - Part 1 in Series - Pecan Pie

Updated on February 8, 2013

The Nucleus, The Core, The Heart

“A Tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years. The word “Tradition” itself derives from the Latin, tradere, which literally means to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping.”

That pretty much, puts into a few words, the nucleus … the core … the very heart of what makes a family … a family … more than ever, during that family’s recognized Holidays.

Whenever my siblings and I start talking about the Holidays, the first thing we usually try and decide on is “When and Where” we’ll be gathering. Because of all our busy lives, we often times do not gather on the actual date of a holiday.

Some Traditions just sort of happen sometimes

When I was a child during the 1950’s-60’s, my Daddy was a farmer, as was most of my extended family. The most imperative thing for the family to be doing during the fall and Thanksgiving was not necessarily a big meal on the fourth Thursday in November. That is, unless all the cotton and beans had been harvested. Because of that, we fell into a Tradition of celebrating that special time on Sunday. We continued in that Tradition for many years, even after Daddy was no longer in the fields. Now, with all the in-laws and out-laws, gathering on Saturday or Sunday, gives everyone a chance to have more time with all family members and not have to get all the visits in on the big Thursday. Of course, by then, everyone’s pretty much had their fill of turkey so we sometimes do a nice brunch instead. I guess you could say that’s almost another Tradition.

I wonder, just how long or how many times does something have to be repeated before it’s an official Tradition?

Traditions Can Change

Some Traditions change or evolve in various degrees, over time, to meet the needs of the family. Winston Churchill put it this way in a speech November 29, 1944. “A love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world must roll forward.”

Thanksgiving & Pecan Pie

Thanksgiving was Mother’s favorite of all holidays. She loved all the cooking and sharing in the kitchen and then watching the family and friends savor and praise one another about each others culinary masterpieces. She could make awesome pies, especially Pecan Pie. Often she would make four or five of them just so her grandsons, Charles and Steve could have plenty to take home with them. But they had to promise to return the glass pie plates, if they were lucky enough to pack up a whole pie to take home.

When Mother was no longer with us, ten years ago, one of the first things we discussed about the Thanksgiving menu was “who would make the Pecan Pie and the Dressing?” That first holiday season, no one even attempted making the pie. “We” did try our hands at the dressing and it was pretty fair. And I do mean … we … for my brothers, sister, myself and probably even a grandkid or two was involved in the “Dressing Expedition”. You could say it was ... A family affair.

Determination Pays Off

The next year we got braver. My brother did attempt to make the Pecan Pie. After all, it’s just not Thanksgiving without that southern classic. It is Tradition. But, alas it was not the same as Mother’s. What were we going to do? We were all pretty good cooks … Mother, after all was our teacher … we could conquer this culinary dilemma!

My Aunt, Mother’s younger sister, kept reminding us what Mother always said about her Pecan Pie. “It’s really one of the easiest pies to make. Just use the recipe on the Light Karo Corn Syrup and add an extra egg. It must be Karo and no store brand. And the eggs must be nice, large and fresh.”

During the following year, my oven got a work out and my house was often fragrant with those wonderful baking aromas. As I worked on continuing this Tradition, visions of Mother, in her favorite room standing at the counter and whistling some melody, filled my memory banks. And you know what … it worked! Just like she said and it really is easy to make. We should all listen to our Mother’s, right?

The Tradition Is Not Lost

A year later, I showed up at our Thanksgiving gathering with my beautiful Pecan Pies in hand. The great revel took place. Some of the family where skeptical but everyone was willing to be a taste tester. I received the greatest compliment a daughter could have gotten. “Sis, this is as good as Momma’s … Mom this is like Grandma’s”. And you guessed it; I am now the official Pecan Pie maker! And I must boast, I am proud to carry on that Tradition!



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    • PaisleeGal profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Materna 

      8 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Mary .. thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed my story. I'm working on another story about Tradition. I just recently got a some fresh pecans, so now I'm ready. It's such an easy pie to make. Glad my folks enjoy them. I'll check out your recipe on that hub.

      Merry Christmas!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      8 years ago from Florida

      I enjoyed reading about your family's tradition. We have so many. I am the official Pecan Pie maker in our family. My family would be so disappointed if I didn't make one for every family dinner.

      I voted this UP, etc.

      BTW: If you want to check out my recipe for Pecan Pie, read the Hub I wrote when you have some time.

    • PaisleeGal profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Materna 

      8 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Thanks for reading my story. Pretty cool you're from this area. Where do you hang your hat now? Be sure and try the Pecan Pie. It's really great!

    • One Ribby Dibby profile image

      Jessica White 

      8 years ago from Decatur, AL

      Hey there! I love, love, love this! Thanksgiving and pecan pie are my favorites too! Thanks for your comment! I am all new to this so it was a big encouragement to read. I saw that your from Memphis. My first home was in Southaven, MS. Actually, My Pappaw, the one I wrote about, and Mammaw live in Olive Branch, MS. My mama is from there. I was born in Memphis. Anyway, I thought that was pretty neat!

    • PaisleeGal profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Materna 

      8 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Thanks much for the comments. It won't be long before you will have lots of traditions to grow your family. Treasure the memories made in those Traditions.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      8 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      HAving a new family of my own, my wife and i are starting new family traditions. of course the old ones that we have are still there, but it's time that our own family has its own set of traditions.


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