Residence: New Orleans
Date of Performance/Collection: April 2012
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spansih
My informant described a family tradition that takes place
Usually first week in august during their stay in their vacation home, which is located on Blueberry island (in Lake Joseph, Canada).
The following is a transcript of our interview:
“Each year up in Canada we go to this island called Blueberry Island for a picnic. It’s like a 90 minute boat ride and we have like 4 boats going together and we go and dock up next to each other on this tiny wooden dock and we jump off this rock, fry soft shell crabs, make s’mores, and sit on the rock, which has a nice view. It is a family tradition, and my whole family goes, often with extended family, every year for the past 50 years. My mother did this once when she was a little kid, and she liked it so much that she vowed to come back every year.”
To the informant, this day is the pinnacle of vacation, and he looks forward to it all year. He said it wouldn’t occur on a specific day, just when a majority of his family could come out for the picnic. He said he liked it so much because his family was together all at once, but isolated in the world because they were alone on the island.
The informant’s mother, who enjoyed this so much when she was a child, is sharing her favorite memory with her entire family. Also, by repeating what she did that day, she is likely conjuring memories of her parents and siblings and reliving the moment so that she could feel young again. The food, crab and s’mores, represents their vacation home and summer, since crabbing and cooking over the fire are limited to their vacation. Thus, this event serves to create a memorable experience with which to codify the vacation. Moreover, family is key to the event, which will not take place until a sufficient (but arbitrary) number of members can go, illustrating the importance of their established community. Spending time together, the family strengthens their bonds, and since this takes place on a private island, this trip reinforces their identity as part of the family.