Traditions can develop out of the most unlikely situations. My family has a tradition around the holidays to play the movie “Elf” everyday from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, which is generally reserved for the non-stop marathon of “The Christmas Story.” Our children even named their creepy elves-on-the-shelves, which we would reposition every night for everyone’s amusement, Ralphie and Jovie after characters in both movies.
And, at my work, we have a tradition on campus that marked its 39th Anniversary today as the New Year has finally ushered in a new semester. We call it, The Oldtimers’ Breakfast. Past and present teachers fellowship over pancakes served up with a smile by the men on our staff. Some of these former teachers come hobbling in with their stories of the good ol’ days when they used to ride their horses to the ‘new campus’ when it was just a handful of classrooms in a swampy field long before our tradition had begun. Now over 80,000 cars drive by us on any given day.
Even my wooden pointer has this murky patina to it that rivals any antique. It came with the classroom. I wield it with pride because I know that I’m holding onto years of other teachers’ memories, even as I create my own. The original school house is over a century old and sits as a monument just up the road from where our current campus is located, but even our newer campus is so old now, it has become irreparable.
Next year’s breakfast will mark the end of yet another era in our school’s history as an inevitable move is set to take place in the fall of 2016. As long as our school bears its original name in our new location, we are still the same ol’ school, and we’ll all continue to gather together over breakfast and swap stories about our many experiences. We’re an awkward family of strangers brought together by a common denominator…our love of teaching.
I don’t mind the impending move. It’s long over due. You can be assured, though, my pointer’s coming with me. And, eventually, I’ll hand it off to someone else when I come hobbling in to get my fill of a plateful of pancakes someday.