For forty years, at our house, we have celebrated Sadie Hawkins Day, albeit…on the wrong day. Every February 29th, we created a Sadie Hawkins party. I started this celebration because my husband and I had two daughters and our friends had two sons. In days gone by, Sadie Hawkins Day and Leap Day both presented women with the opportunity to invite men on a date. I know it seems impossible, but for all of the days in between, women were expected to wait for an invitation from a man.
As some of my loyal readers may remember, I had confused Leap Day, February 29, celebrated for centuries, with Sadie Hawkins Day, a more recent celebration. Sadie was a character from the Li’l Abner cartoon, which ran from August 1934 to November 1977. I fully explained my errors in a blog titled My Erroneous Leap Year Tradition.
February 29, 2016, would have been our tenth Sadie Hawkins celebration. When I couldn’t get everyone together, I promised we'd celebrate on the real Sadie Hawkins Day, which is November 15th. You can learn all about Sadie Hawkins Day HERE. I fulfilled my promise and I am glad I did. I love a good ending.
I have decided that this forty-year tradition, no matter how much fun, must come to an end. The old cartoons are both politically incorrect and irrelevant in the twenty-first century. Also, as children grow up, move away, and have children of their own, it is next to impossible to get everyone together. What cannot be denied is that traditions offer gifts to those who were involved. We have ten scrapbook collages of our families maturing in four-year intervals. We made life predictions and recorded them on Bouchard’s Beaujolais bottle labels, also tracking the changes in the price of this wine. Over the years we learned that it’s impossible to predict the future of politics, weather, population, or families. As my husband frequently says, “Expect the unexpected.”
A tradition like this requires willing, wonderful friends who will play the game. As life got busier, I learned I could take short cuts. Once, I even bought a dessert. Another time, I prepared the food ahead and froze it. In 2016, for the first time in ten Leap Years, I didn’t cook at all! We ate in a restaurant. We hired a limo and listened to 60s music using our friend’s playlist. All of us will remember the look on my grandchildren’s faces when they realized we were picking them up in a limo.
The best thing about having a tradition is that you make it happen, no matter how busy or upset you might be on that day. Life brings good years and bad years to each of us, but traditions continue. Traditions, by definition, are those repeated, dependable, familiar times in life that anchor you. I often say that if you do something two years in a row it becomes a tradition. Some traditions last decades while others dwindle out after only a few years. I think traditions are worth maintaining until their natural expiry date.
So, to the Gardner family who joined the Haddock family ten times over forty years, to celebrate an idea based on the wrong day, I say thank you. To the Kozar family, who have one son and one daughter, keeping the numbers even, I thank you for representing the next generation. To my readers, please share your favourite tradition in your comments. We are interested, and maybe you’ll inspire our next tradition.
NOTE: The bottle of Bouchard's Beaujolais from 1980 was chosen for its reasonable price. At $7.20 it was still a stretch. This year, a bottle of the same wine would cost $15.98.
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