Family Traditions: We’ll Take the High Road and the Low Road

Family Traditions: We’ll Take the High Road and the Low Road

Traditions weave families together, bonding them with counted-on rituals and shared memories. They can also make some of the best stories. Case in point….Have a grump in the house? Maybe it's time for a new family tradition.

Whenever my older son, Trevor, performed in one of his high school band concerts, our whole family would head over to Jeremiah’s Italian Ice afterwards for a treat. This popular, local place regularly pulls in a steady stream of customers, especially on a hot Florida night.

Last spring, after one of Trevor’s concerts, we continued this post-performance tradition. As we rolled up to Jeremiah’s in our Honda CRV, we got in the drive-thru line, about 6-10 cars deep that night. A couple dozen customers, mostly other teens, buzzed around in the parking lot, taking over the picnic tables with their cups of gelato, ice cream and Italian ice. We put the window half-way down, so we’d be ready to order once we got up to the window.

While we waited in line, we started chatting about the concert to pass the time. Parker (my younger son) said he didn’t like the type of music the band sometimes played. (More accurately, he probably said in his eloquently blunt teen-speak, “That music sucked.”)

At this particular concert, the wind ensemble played a Scottish folk song called “Loch Lomond.” I had learned the exact same song in grade school, so I knew some of the words to the song. (Ironically, I can’t remember what I ate for lunch six hours ago, but I can easily recall the lyrics from a Scottish folk song I learned in 1974. But I digress.)

I always thought the song sounded hauntingly dreary. (I recently found out why. Written in the 1800s, the song is widely interpreted to be a tale of captured prisoners and death – a real pick-me-up for high school bands.)

Kevin, in his trademark goofy manner, adopted his best Sean Connery Scottish brogue and started singing his own off-kilter rendition of the song, complete with enough low notes to make Barry White jealous. He then transitioned into some kind of dub-step beat, so I joined in the serenade and took over the lyrics, belting out the song like the passenger-seat diva that I am.

O ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,

Where me and my true love will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Hoping no one saw or heard us bellowing the Irish folk song, Trevor and Parker cringed in the back seats, ducking below the headrests and shielding their faces with their hands from the parking lot crowd. The more they cringed, the louder we sang, as there’s nothing quite as fun as embarrassing your teens with goofy behavior in public. Oh, we’re taking the low road alright. 

“Oh my GOD! You guys are SO embarrassing!” Trevor and Parker kept saying from the back seat, alternating between discomfort and stifled laughter. “Put the window up! People can hear you.”

As we hit the crescendo in our Loch Lomond mash-up, we heard someone tapping on the window. It was one of the Jeremiah’s employees who had come up out of nowhere to take our order since the drive-thru line was so long. (Did this girl pop out from behind a bush? I swear, no one saw her coming toward our car.)

Kevin cracked the window as the order-taker cleared her throat.

“May I take your order?” she asked in a professional tone, as Kevin and I tried to regain our composure and Trevor and Parker slunk down further in the back seat.

Red-faced, Kevin attempted to order, but couldn’t quite keep it together. He burst out laughing, tears streaming down his face, unable to speak. I’m no help, laughing and snorting even louder next to him, trying to catch my breath. Even the boys, still mortified at this point, started laughing too, as they progressed from being embarrassed by us to being embarrassed for us. We literally looked (and sounded) like we were out-of-control drunken idiots.

God must have blessed our order-taker with extraordinary patience that night, as it took a full minute for our family to calm down enough to speak. With our order finally in hand, that poor girl practically ran from our car, trying to escape the buffoons in the Honda CRV.

Thanks to our Jeremiah’s Adventure, we’ve now got a new tradition. Whenever anyone in the family is feeling grumpy, we speak the code words to boost their mood: “Loch Lomond.”

Did one of your family traditions ever got out of control, with funny (or disastrous) results? Please share your story below!


LisaBeach-HeadshotAbout Lisa – Lisa Beach is a recovering stay-at-home mom and homeschooler who lived to write about it. Her blog,Tweenior Moments, offers insights about middle-aging like a fine wine: down-to-earthy & complex, medium-bodied, with a hint of sarcasm and a smooth-but-wrinkled finish. She’s a freelance writer and blogger about middle age, parenting, family life and all the baggage that goes with it. Find Lisa on Facebook and Pinterest!

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Ten to Twenty Parenting was created as an honest resource for those of us parenting kids between the ages of 10 and 20. Our needs are so different and the issues much more complex than diaper rashes and playground tantrums.

Ten to Twenty

Ten to Twenty Parenting was created as an honest resource for those of us parenting kids between the ages of 10 and 20. Our needs are so different and the issues much more complex than diaper rashes and playground tantrums.

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