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[Photo: dhow by Farl]

My family and I drove up to Lake Lawn Lodge, on Lake Delevan in Wisconsin, for Thanksgiving dinner. When I was younger, my parents would often taken my brother and I there for a mini-vacation around Easter time. We also often made the trip for Thanksgiving dinner, as they always had a great buffet and the atmosphere was warm and cozy -- the perfect place to begin the holiday season! We haven't gone up there for a number of years, and I was excited that everyone agreed to go this year when I suggested it.

Unfortunately, it was a partially disappointing experience. Spending time with my family was great, but the Lake Lawn Lodge of my memories was gone. Little did we know, the lodge was renamed to Lake Lawn Resorts and is currently being redeveloped as a condo complex along the lake. They were beginning the construction process and were preparing to raze a number of the buildings. The lodge had lost most of its atmosphere, as many of the shops and rooms had been converted to offices. Holiday decorations were minimal. The dinner spread was still tasty, however, the number of patrons were minimal and the lodge was not bustling with energy. I had gone there in anticipation of reliving old memories, as well as making new ones. Instead, a chapter of my life closed and I will have to find satisfaction in looking forward to making new memories. What are some of your favorite family traditions (not necessarily holiday related), past or present?

If you could bring back any tradition that seems to have faded into the past, what would it be?

Question selected from The Conversation Piece 2.

There are 3 that come to mind.

Every summer my family went to Door County, Wisconsin for the 4th of July. Al Johnson's Swedish pancakes. Wilson's ice cream. Door County cherry pie. Swimming, miniature golf, go-cart riding, drives through Peninsula State Park. Watching the sun set on Green Bay from our hotel.

Every Thanksgiving we went to Iowa to visit my Mom's family. My Grandpa, step Grandma, Aunt, Uncle cousins, and other relatives would have a huge dinner. We would arrive late Wednesday evening after driving from Chicago to the smell of turkey in the oven. My Grandpa used to cook an 18 hour turkey and it was already in the oven when we arrived. Talk about a warm fuzzy feeling inside!!

Third, every Christmas Eve our family would host a huge party at our home and eat, play games and anticipate opening our presents the next morning!

Sad to say all these traditions ended when I was in high school. Not sure which one I would like to bring back. All of them are so memorable!

I would like to take the commercialism out of our holiday celbrations and inject some of the meaning back into them as I feel this has been lost.

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