After browsing through our class sets of books, I found a selection from The Joy Luck Club. The holds dear to me as one of those books which features strong ideas about women, family, and our roles. We started reading the excerpt, and the ladies continued, listening to me read and change my voice dramatically. I mentioned it is also a movie, but the book is always so much better. So that's how we started reading The Joy Luck Club, spontaneous - spur-of-the-moment decision. Every woman in my classroom engaged in the reading about women, getting together to play Mah Jong. However, the women in The Joy Luck Club were involved in more than a game; they were engaged in continuing a tradition, not with sadness or despair, but with hope and aspiration. They continued a tradition, even though they were in a new country, they still met and shared their lives.
The themes in the beginning of the book about tradition reminded me of the women in my family and how closely we hold tradition. Tradition is what holds us together in hard times and good times. Tradition welcomes us with loving arms and reminds us of where we come from and where we always have a home. Tradition sustains - even during those moments- cuando queremos decir no aguantamos!
When I was growing up, I used to spend time with my sister-in-law's mom, who we called Grandma Fina, even though she wasn't our grandma. She treated us all like grand-children though with never-ending care and love.
Our tradition was Loteria! y pan dulce con cafe. We would stay up till the middle of the night, playing Loteria! I remember her house, the heavy scent of comino wavered in the air, so strong it clung to your clothes when you left. That scent is home to me, it is loving hands rolling tortillas and cooking delicious food. The scent of comino is a grandma who never tired from doing for others, a grandma who nurtured, scolded, and praised her grand-kids, and even us.
After Grandma Fina went to Heaven, the tradition continued. Grandpa Lopez was there, in his wheelchair, seated at the head of the table, waving the big Loteria! cards till we were ready to play.
So I leave you with this...every woman should keep traditions alive.