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A new tradition: Just Do it!!!

December 23, 2011

Barrie Park: site of the "hill run"

It was 11:57 pm on December 31, 2008 and I turned to my nephews Andrew (11) and Brenden (8) and I said, “Let’s do it!!!”  “It” was running up the sledding hill across the street from our house and celebrating/screaming Rocky style as we reached the top of the hill to ring in the New Year.  Despite some “concerned” looks from others in my family, we did and had a good time.  The whole event lasted about five minutes as we whooped and hollered as we ran down the hill.

I did not think too much about the “hill run” until I was talking to my nephews the following Thanksgiving.  They came up to me and said, “Uncle Pat, we are doing the “hill run” again on New Year’s eve, right?”  I was like, “Of course we are boys and let’s see if we can get a few more people (like their Dad) involved.”  The second hill run included six people and let’s just say that everyone had a shirt on during the run up the hill, however, I cannot confirm that everyone had a shirt on coming back down.  Things got a little crazy, but a new tradition had been born.  This year, we are heading to year four of the hill run, which should be awesome.

My point is this: the holiday season is all about spirituality, family and traditions.  Lots of traditions start as a spontaneous idea that strikes a chord and then is repeated.  One Christmas eve, my Uncle Tom stopped by our house in Minnesota and offered to take my mom Judy out to lunch at TGIF’s.  The word spread that Tom & Judy were at TGIF’s.  The rest of us, perhaps thinking a free lunch was in the offing, started to show up at TGIF’s.  Pretty soon we had over 20 people there for lunch.  For over 10 years, we had the “Judy lunch” at TGIF every Christmas eve with a Donohue gathering of 30-40 people.  A simple tradition that was started by one spontaneous act.

May your family be blessed this holiday season and may a new tradition arise to bring your family together.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak PArk, IL.  Contact him at

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