Tradition Solidified

I’ve spoken so many times of the Sugar Maple Music Festival, that summer event which we revere more than any other.  We afford it sacred calendar protection normally reserved for  holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and now Solstice. Please don’t plan on getting married, birthing/baptizing your baby, or dying on the weekend of the Sugar Maple; we probably won’t attend. (your event)  So it is now an event so religiously repeated that it beckons the title of Tradition.  No surprise there.  But attending the festival…attending is only half of the ritual.  This was made implicitly clear to me this year.

The Festival begins Friday night, which we’ve declared to be Date Night, ditching the kids and donning our square dance attire.  On lean years, it may be the only square dance we get to attend.  (leaving the kids behind is our choice; they’re always welcome at the festival)  Saturday, then, is the meat of our family celebrating.  The festival opens at noon and runs till some time past 10pm, making for a very full, music-filled day.

This is how it went down this year.

Wednesday, Aug. 1

8:35 a.m. :: Declared, in an email to a friend, that I won’t be making anything special for any of us to wear to the Sugar Maple.  I had resigned myself to it in the weeks preceeding.

4:26 p.m. :: Was folding laundry, came across a favorite dress of Isadora’s and said to her, “This would be great to wear to the Sugar Maple this weekend!”  “MOM!” she said with a stern look, “I am not wearing that dress – it came from a store! (sneer) I’m wearing something you made.” “But I’m not making anything new this year, Dearie.” “That’s ok – I’ll wear last year’s dress.”  (I swoon and gush with satisfied pride.)

Thursday, Aug. 2

8:27 a.m. :: Decided that girl will have a new dress, goddammit.  Anyone that loyal deserves one.  Furthermore, I was going to finally make the lovely cotton gauze number featuring the unicorns I’d been hoarding for too many years.

8:47 p.m. :: Handquilting the top bodice of said dress, loving it, but thinking Didn’t necessarily pick the most expedient project to whip out on a whim. Good thing I don’t have to make anything else, or I’d drive myself crazy. 

Friday, Aug. 3

7:45 a.m. :: Finished lovely dress.  Girl smitten with it.  “Yes, of course Errol – I sure WILL make you a new cowboy shirt!  You betcha!”

2:30 p.m. :: In a phone conversation with The Mister: “Guess what?  Made a dress for the girl.  (relayed indignant conversation suggesting store-bought dress) Decided to make a shirt for the boy.  Yes, I know – crazy.  But I’m trying really hard to not get stressed out.  Take your time coming home though – busy sewing.”

6:15 p.m. :: Date Night.  Belly full of delicious supper, sipping a beer, knitting in hand, man at side, listening to fantastic music.  “Wish I could make you a shirt too, Daddio.  I hope to finish knitting this top in time to wear it myself tomorrow.  Sure would be neat to have the whole family outfitted again.”

7:30 p.m. :: Still Date Night.  Somewhere between beers 2 and 3 I resolved to sew Andrew a shirt as well.  The forecast promised a hot day to come and I had some more cotton gauze from the same line that I had been saving for him, for years.  (Errol’s shirt, I should mention, featured the same unicorn print as Isadora’s but in a light blue.)  3 outfits from the same fabric line, specifically designed to look like dynamite when paired together, all in cotton gauze, the promise of a hot day, the challenge of it all – all of this proved irresistible.

9:02 p.m. :: Hey look – that’s me in the center, him on the left, circlin’ round at the square dance.

Saturday, August 4.  The Big Day.

8:15 a.m. :: Finished The Boy’s cowboy shirt, started cutting out Daddio’s.

11:00 a.m. :: The Mister checks in, sees the progress, and declares that we should plan on arriving a couple of hours later than previously planned.  Guess he wants his shirt.

2:00 p.m. :: Last-minute preparations – setting pearl snaps on the cowboy shirts, packing up the cooler, blanket, beginning the cast-off of my own knit camisole.

2:45 p.m. :: Cast of the last stitches, en route on interstate 90/94, pulled off the interim shirt and replaced it with my finished camisole.  We were finally dressed.

3:00 p.m. :: We arrive.

It was our best year yet.  Now that I understand how integral a part the clothing-making is to our own tradition, I’ll try to plan a wee bit in advance next year.  Here’s hoping.

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