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Rituals turn into history and lore

By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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When I wrote last week about the late John Lee and his dependability and habits, it got me thinking about the traditions and rituals we all practice, especially at this time of year. The Memorial Day ceremony at Del Oro High School is only nine years old, but already it has become tradition for Loomis Basin families to spend that morning honoring all those who have served our country. Jeff Tooker, now an assistant principal but a teacher when students organized the first memorial, has said he thought it would be a one-time event. He has to be pleased he was wrong. The ceremony is now attended by hundreds. It has also become an important legacy left by those students, all those who have continued to organize the Memorial Day ceremony, and to Tooker, who will soon move on to the Placer Union High School District as an assistant superintendent. My Memorial Day tradition is to visit the Colfax Cemetery to place flowers on graves of loved ones. It’s a tradition handed down to our family by our mother, who made visits to the cemetery on Memorial Day, on holidays, and whenever she could get someone to drive her there. It took some time to choose, wrap and decide which of the many beautiful flowers would be placed on specific graves. In the end, we decorated graves of 15 parents, a sister, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, great-great-grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, a brother-in-law and family friends. We also got to hear the Scottish pipe player perform during the Memorial Day program at the Colfax Cemetery. That ceremony has taken place for over 50 years. When I was in Camp Fire Girls, the day started with a pancake breakfast at Veterans Memorial Hall, followed by a parade led by Scouts and American Legionnaires carrying flags. The parade went through town and over the freeway to the Colfax Cemetery where flags were placed on the graves of veterans. These Memorial Day ceremonies are now part of local history and lore. Whenever possible, pass on your traditions and rituals to your kids and grandkids. It gives them a sense of family history, feelings of roots and provides stability, which we all need, no matter the age.