When I lived in Silver City, NM, there was a yarn shop called Yada Yada Yarn. I always liked that name. I’m not sure if the proprietors defined it as a yarn shop. Maybe it was a fabric store, or a sweater store.
There was yarn everywhere. Thick yarn and not-so-thick yarn. Deep colors and light colors. The kind of yarn to make scarfs and bonnets. The kind that seems to keep going and going.
I like that place because there was a group of ladies that would sit together to knit, and to chat. One of the ladies said that knitting together was something that ladies did for generations, but it’s something that doesn’t happen much anymore. That’s one of the reasons the ladies at Yada Yada Yarn did it. To keep the tradition alive. Knitting and chatting. Learning from each other. Creating community.
A lot of traditions are not traditions anymore. We are in a hurry. Knitting seems like it doesn’t get us from point A to point B. We can’t stay in one place. We are nervous people.
Most traditions are born organically. Normal people doing normal things. They don’t start as traditions. They become them when what you do becomes necessary to you and those around you.
I meet up with a group of friends every Friday morning for coffee. There are the regulars, and there are the new folks that stop by for one or two visits. It’s not for everyone, but the core group of us keep it going. Meeting up for coffee. Sometimes there isn’t much of anything new to share or to say to each other. Still, we meet up to see each other. To know that we are still here.
I don’t think there are any strong communities that exist without traditions. I’m thinking of the kind of communities that go beyond shopping districts and fast-food restaurants. Communities with buildings built by our great-grandfathers. Communities that look old and new at the same time.
They always have traditions. People meeting up for church every week. County fairs and rodeos in late summer. Bed races and stair climbing competitions. Tortilla making and hot air balloon festivals. These kinds of traditions keep neighbors as neighbors and communities as…