Most families cement their bonds by creating rituals.

I have a friend whose entire family returns to Oklahoma State University on the eve of the HomeComing Game. They fly or drive, bringing kids and grandkids to watch the parade, walk the campus, and spend a bucket of money at the football game.

In our family, our end-of-summer tradition is:  we dig potatoes.

I know…pause here, and let the stupidness of the event roll over you.

It wasn’t meant to be a tradition. It began as a way for tired parents to keep a toddler from chasing the cat or trotting over to the next county.

And what could be better than sanctioned dirt-time?

With each shovelful of soil, spuds would break from their hiding spots. And Scout screamed “TAAAAY TOOOOOE,” scurrying to pluck them out, before they disappeared back into the soil (which was what he assumed would happen, based on his experience with redworms).  His height (or rather the lack of it) gave him the advantage of nabbing the tater before an adult could get to it.

The game had everything that appealed to a lad’s inner core: filth, competition, seeking, and gross stuff like grubs, frogs, and the occasional snake. I suppose that’s why each September, when I say, “It’s time to dig potatoes.” Scout shows up, bucket and shovel in hand.

We no longer push and shove over who picks up the tubers. Now, it’s usually me because I’m nearer the ground than anyone in the family. But we still get dirty.  We still throw worms at each other, and at some point, one of us will yell, “Taaaay tooooe.”

Fortunately for us, HOMECOMING includes all kinds of games.

About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in Appreciation, Enough, Hope, Life, Smiles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Tay-Toes

  1. Lisa Nowak says:

    It’s important to have rituals and traditions. I think it reminds us to slow down and savor the moment. It’s nice that your son isn’t too cool to join in with the potato digging, now that he’s all grown up.


  2. One of our traditions occurs any time I bake sticky buns. As they are presented, all cinnamony and buttery from the oven, those who intend to eat them must chant WITH ENTHUSIASM in unison:

    Sticky buns, sticky buns,
    rah, rah, rah!
    Sticky buns, sticky buns,
    sis boom bah!
    Yaaaaaaaay, sticky buns!

    Even teenagers are willing to do this for a bite of the yummy goodness.


  3. digipicsphotography says:

    Sounds like a good tradition to me. 🙂


  4. moma escriva says:

    Traditions are far and wide. This, however, is the first I’ve heard of, but, potato, patato, why not!


  5. Alice Lynn says:

    Digging potatoes (at least in the home garden) is like digging for treasure. Each spud is welcomed with joy and satisfaction. Yummy. Potatoes right from your own garden to grace meals through out the winter months.


  6. Roxie says:

    I grew up in central Oregon, and in September, the schools would all close for a week so the kids could help pick potatoes. And then we had the Spud festival with a potato king and queen and a parade where kids put crepe paper streamers through the spokes of their bicycle wheels, and maybe they or their mom made crepe paper flowers and bows to deck the bikes.
    some of the girls had entire dresses made of crepe paper – and they would ride down the main street in swarms, while the high-school marching band sweated through their wool uniforms and tried to keep in step while avoiding the horse poop left by the various rodeo courts, and city dignitaries waved from the windows of sundry trucks and cars. And the volunteer fire department showed off the truck. Potatoes come with great memories, because I never had to pick ’em up.


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