No time of year seems to spark tradition more than the Christmas holidays. Among them is the Polk Brothers store Santa, which yearly stands in the window at Aunt Diana’s Fudge Shop on East Burlington Street in Riverside.
The Brodhay house on Southcote Road always finds the lamp post on their property turning into a Christmas tree. This year I was concerned when I did not see it, but I was glad to be driving by recently when Laurie Brodhay was putting it together.
Within your own homes you may have traditions that include favorite ornaments or decorations. And, of course, there is food and desserts, which find their way to our tables during this time of year. You know they could be made at other times of the year, but we don’t seem to do it. Tradition!
Jay Van Cura of Riverside is upholding a tradition that has been in the Van Cura family for more than 60 years, beginning with his grandfather, Joseph Van Cura. A Czech immigrant born in the late 1800s, Joseph Van Cura was a baker, trained in Czechoslovakia and Vienna.
He immigrated to the Pilsen area of Chicago where he met his wife and ran a successful bakery in the area for many years. He was also talented in other ways. A woodworker, he made a set of Christmas carolers out of plywood by hand and painted them so well that, for all these years, they have endured and have not been retouched.
The display decorated the front lawn at 154 N. Delaplaine Road, the home of Van Cura’s parents. After his parents passed away, Jay Van Cura got them. Now in the spirit of the Van Cura family, he displays them on his front lawn at 181 Scottswood Road. He recommends the best viewing time is after 5 p.m. when they are lit by a spotlight. Tradition!
Van Cura continued another family tradition when he formed the local singing duet the A Cappella Fellas, just as his mother had been one of the co-founders of a women’s singing group known as the Profiles, which are still in existence.
So whether or not your family has some age-old traditions which come to light this time of year, it is never too late to begin new traditions for the years to come.
How we treat each other should be the gift we bestow on each other throughout the year. Now it is time for me to wish the spirit of peace to you and your families this season.