Monday, March 18, 2013


I have always loved musical productions. I suppose I inherited this trait from both of my parents, who also enjoyed this type of entertainment. They were both musically inclined and as a family, we often performed together, singing some of our favorite ditties from productions like "The Sound of Music," "Mary Poppins," "Lost Horizons," etc. "Fiddler on the Roof," has always been one of my favorites. I especially love the song, "Tradition!" My dad would often mimic Tevye, singing that song at the top of his talented lungs.

There is wisdom in the lyrics of that tune. For me it is summed up as follows:

" . . . how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: Tradition!"

I believe that concept with my entire heart. Traditions are sooo important. These are the family beliefs and customs that help us maintain our identity, and pass on important cultural treasures. We celebrated many important events during my formative years, something I have tried to pass on to my own children. One of those yearly milestones took place yesterday: St. Patrick's Day!

It would take me several years to catch on that I have a rich Irish heritage. (Yep, I'm a mutt--I'm also Scottish, English, Danish, and in recent years we learned that we possess Jewish and Native American bloodlines in our leafy family tree.) Before I understood that my mother's paternal line came from Ireland, I grew up thinking that everyone commemorated St. Paddy's Day with the traditional corned beef and cabbage feast, and by wearing that all-important color, green. For the longest time I thought we wore that color to keep from getting pinched. The fun leprechaun doll that an uncle had brought home for me from Ireland was a cool gift and a reminder of the folklore of the little people. I think I was about ten years old when I finally caught on that our Sibbett line was of Irish descent. When that finally clicked for me, this holiday took on a whole new meaning.

I've always loved history and I began devouring books about Ireland. I also began listening more closely when our Sibbett clan gathered together for reunions, weddings, and the like, gleaning important tidbits about our Irish ancestors. They were hardworking, fun-loving people who were passionate about life, loyal to their beliefs, and among the first to offer a hand when help was needed. Those traits were manifested in the way my Grandpa Sibbett lived his life. His example has touched my heart in numerous ways and I have tried to honor his memory by building on the foundation he set for those of us who would follow.

It does my heart good to see those same traits surface in my offspring--and to know that important holiday traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation will continue. Yesterday, after my husband and I had enjoyed a traditional Irish feast, we heard from one of our sons, He called to share what my young granddaughter had to say about the corned beef and cabbage he had prepared for their dinner that day:

"Daddy, I love this cow!" =)

We enjoyed a good laugh over her interpretation of corned beef. It's tradition--we Irish types tend to find humor in things others miss. It's part of our heritage, and something I will always treasure.


Mary Walker said...

I am of Irish descent too,I grew up in a small MA town that was predominantly Irish Catholic. I love all things to do with St Patricks Day, except corned beef, cabbage and Irish Soda Bread. We had lasagna instead.

Cheri J. Crane said...

It's a wonderful heritage, Mary. =) And I love lasagna, too.