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annual mother’s day hike

May 15, 2009

trilliumIt is often said in my family that my dad is more traditional than the Catholic Church.  Basically this means we have a lot of family traditions.  Dad passed his love of tradition to all of us.  We grew up with an appreciation and respect for family traditions and Sacred Tradition, which is one reason we love being Catholic.

Schwartz Family traditions are numerous and varied.  Some have been around for as long as we can remember, but we are open to adding new ones or bringing a different twist to old ones.  We can do that: our traditions are, after all, traditions with a lower-case t.  We understand the difference between our traditions and Sacred Tradition with a capital T.

climbing treesEach of us all have our favorite traditions, but there are a few that are favorites of the entire family.  Our annual Mother’s Day hike is one of those.

Almost every year, the family heads to Aman Park, just west of Grand Rapids, for a hike through the woods.  After our adventures, Dad gets KFC, which we usually eat at the park.  One year, Dad forgot utensils.  This wasn’t a problem for the former Boy Scout, who was in his element.  Dad had us eat the chicken first and use the bones as spoons.  Every year since, he threatens to do the same, claiming it’s a tradition even though it only happened once.  Using chicken bones as utensils is one tradition this city girl can do without!

Hiking adventures with our family is just that: an adventure.  We never stay on the main trails.  Ranger Dad and Jeffrey of the Jungle usually find smaller, lesser traveled trails for us to explore.  The trails are over-grown and often disappear, sending Jeffrey of the Jungle off to find a new and semi-passable route.

whippoorwill lessonsThis year was no different.  We spent just under three hours exploring the forest, climbing fallen trees, admiring wildflowers, watching birds and trying to find our way back to the car.   It was a wonderful time of familial bonding, and one of the best presents we could give to Mom.

My favorite part of this year’s hike was when we lost the boys.  It wasn’t actually losing Ranger Dad and Jeffrey of the Jungle that I enjoyed: it was finding them.  You see, the girls (me, Mom, Rita and Ang) were at the top of a hill.  We had just emerged from one of those barely-there trails and the boys were nowhere to be seen.  We stood there for a while trying to figure out which way they went.  We were discussing it for a few minutes when Ang handed me her water bottle.

“Hold this,” she said.  She folded her hands, put her thumbs to her lips, and blew.  Out came a loud, clear imitation of a Whippoorwill.  I threw Ang’s water bottle to Mom and grabbed my camera.  Such amazing talent had to be recorded!!  Check it out:

We eventually found the guys.  It took a while, though: Jeffrey had to figure out how to answer the call.  As we continued to make our way through the forest, we all attempted to learn (or re-learn) the call of the Whippoorwill.  Some of us did better than others, but no one can hold a candle to the master caller, Angelica!!

The car was eventually found, and our KFC dinner eventually eaten.  (Yes, I actually ate fast food for the first time in three years!  But only a little!)  And Mother dearest enjoyed the family tradition as did we all.

Swiss Family Schwartz

Swiss Family Schwartz


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