For my birthday last year my super awesome American roommate Taylor sent me this notebook called ‘642 Things to Write About’ full of cool and (very) random writing prompts. So, in the interest of writing more regularly and practicing my craft, I have decided to write in response to one of these each day this week. We’ll start out with one of the less weird ones.
Monday’s Prompt: Tell a complete stranger about a beloved family tradition.
Every New Year’s Day, my family and I do two things: we get up (relatively) early and travel about half an hour to a place called Timboon. We have two regular places that we are once-a-year customers to: the Timboon Strawberry Farm and the Mouse Trap Cheese Factory.
Over the years the extra faces coming along for the ride have changed, but I don’t recall us ever going alone, just the seven of us. From our cousin and aunt, to mum’s best friend, to our sister/daughter’s new husband this last year, I love that we always have extras.
The funnest part (yes, I just realised that wasn’t a word despite the fact that I’ve been using it for about a decade) is sneaking some strawberries as we pick—pretending that we’re stealthy even though I know the lady knows—and then eating them at the cheese factory with our cheese platter, even though they’re not from there.
We never spend very long at the strawberry farm, which I’m glad about because there’s no shade and I don’t like the feel of sunscreen. For Christmas last year my younger sister got me a hat. For some reason I got laughed at by my older sister and brother-in-law when I exclaimed as I got out of the car at the strawberry farm, “Oh my gosh; hats actually have a practical use, too!” when I realised it had just solved my sunscreen problem.
I think the cheese factory’s not as good as it used to be but maybe that’s just because I’m older now and everything is coloured rose through the lens of childhood. Or maybe it’s because they let us try less free cheese in the tasting than they used to, and cheese is practically a food group for me.
But still, the garden is beautiful and we brave the bugs to sit out there with our cheese platter, swatting away as we drink our milkshakes (or wine) and graze. Some, but never all of us, play cricket.
I think we take a photo every year—surely we must—and I’d be interested to see how we’ve all changed. Sometimes you see old photos and want to go back to those times, but I realised when I was about 13 years old that if you went back in time, you’d probably make the exact same mistakes, and you’d have to go through all the growing pains again, so the only way to go is forward, which is the only possible thing to do anyway, unless you have a DeLorean DMC-12 handy.
P.S. Feel free to leave a comment telling me about your favourite family tradition.
Image: http://lartisancheese3.weebly.com/uploads/1/0/7/4/10742455/_3227552_orig.jpg, sourced 25 April 2016.