While obviously the coronavirus has wrecked havoc on lives, both with illness and death and the loss of employment or financial wherewithal, it’s also done a really big number on the traditions we hold dear. Honestly, one of the reasons we all have trouble knowing what day (month?) it is is because of these markers, these milestones being uprooted from our lives.
I imagine every one of us knows of someone that lost a scholastic memory this year. Communities are doing their best to recognize seniors who have had their last quarter of their final high school year eliminated, but it’s not really the same. They won’t be able to have a true prom. They won’t have the satisfaction of walking across a stage to get their diploma. They won’t even get that indescribable feeling of going through those last days, partly fully relaxed and not caring, partly worried about the future. The tradition here is for our high school (grades 10-12) band to take a big trip every three years. This year’s seniors worked and planned for this trip and now it’s not going to happen. For all of these folks, there’s going to be a hole there forever. Hopefully most will be able to move on, but there’s something to be said about getting closure on chapters in your life.
The other side of the educational spectrum are the kindergartners. Most of the things they are missing may be replicated or improved later on, but there’s still missing out on some of those field trips that only happen in kindergarten (or other elementary grades, as there always seems to be the one thing that one grade gets to do that others don’t). I know there are some parents out there that are missing out on those kindergarten graduation pictures. There’s no end of the year band concerts, no t-ball or little league, none of those things that are usually part of our spring and summer and that people get so much enjoyment out of.
We’ve already had an Easter season that didn’t play out like it normally did. I’m guessing that your church has some things they always do on Easter that mean something to the congregation, things that had to be set aside this year. If church isn’t a large part of your life, you probably still often usually do family things that weren’t able to happen this year.
Obviously we’ve seen it in baseball as well. I think we are all of the opinion that, if baseball does return this year, there aren’t going to be fans in the stands and likely the teams won’t be playing at their regular stadiums anyway. So there’s none of that Opening Day pageantry going to happen. Originally, we thought maybe it’d just be delayed, but now it looks like no Clydesdales at all, no players coming out to circle the track, no Cardinal Hall of Famers wearing their red jackets. Which is sad on a lot of levels, but in part because many of those guys are older. Thank goodness Bob Gibson seems to be beating cancer so that we don’t have to hold our breath about seeing him again. However, you have to acknowledge people like him and Lou Brock are folks we worry about when you have to go a year without seeing them.
I’m feeling that even more so today because this should have been our church’s annual chicken BBQ. Usually I mention it in this space because I won’t be writing on that day (though, given my output the last few years, missing a day isn’t as notable). It’s something I’ve been helping with for close to 30 years, I would say. It’s a day where the church spends the day, from before dawn until close to sunset, cooking chicken, making meals, and having a great time doing it. It can be stressful, it is always a lot of work, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
But obviously we had to put that aside. It could be we’ll be able to do it in the fall, it could be we’ll miss out this year. Just like with any tradition, not doing it isn’t the worst tragedy of this whole coronavirus thing. Not by a long shot. However, traditions and rituals are also part of what helps us enjoy the life we have, something we take meaning from. The loss of that is still a loss.
What’s the tradition that you are missing most this year–or is there one you are still hoping will happen in 2020?