Family traditions are a funny thing. As a child, having to spend any amount of extra time with the parents and the rest of the family is such a stressful (and huff inducing) experience.

A peculiar thing happens as you grow older though, the frustrating occasions that would upset you most as a child, gradually tiptoe behind you, to become the memories you treasure and the moments you hold onto the longest.

One such nostalgic memory was my family’s yearly venture to Glasgow Green’s firework show. It was not, however, the promise of the night sky being illuminated by the chemical combustion of fireworks, that was enthralling, but the subsequent family meal that followed.

Regularly there would be nothing particularly special about the meal in question, but on this specific night, it was quite simply wondrous.

364 days of the year, going to KFC, McDonalds or Burger King (other fast food restaurants are available) was a means to an end. Neither tasty or tasteless. Very unmemorable,

But on that particular evening, the fifth day, of the eleventh month, this quick serviced meal, became illustrious, heavenly, more haute cuisine than hate cuisine. For one night fast food meal became the greatest dining experience available in Glasgow City Centre.

Each bite tasting infinitely better than the last. I would savour every morsel, a meal fit for a king.

Maybe it was the unknown anticipation of the encroaching night, enticing the heart to beat that little bit faster. Always subconsciously aware, Guy Fawkes night was fast approaching.

Perhaps, it was a combination of the cold air, all consuming darkness and the scent of fireworks lingering over the fearsome winter’s night, adding to the expectation.

Whatever the reason, I remember standing in KFC on this particular evening, all four foot nothing of me, staring wide eyed, up toward the huge brightly lit menu, thinking, “life can’t get any better than this”.

Sometimes, nowadays, I’ll find myself walking past one of the various restaurants, and I’ll  catch a familiar scent and stop dead in my tracks. For a moment, struck with nostalgia, time unravels around me and I’m eleven years old again, standing in an illuminated castle of glory, with my family, waiting to be served at the till. Questioning life’s ponderous meal choice dilemma.

In years to come, when my future offspring are huffing and puffing at being inhumanely forced to spend time with their family, I won’t get upset or angry, I’ll just take a moment to laugh and think to myself, “just wait until you taste the meal.”

Tradition and nostalgia, it’s a funny old thing.

What about you? Have you any peculiar family traditions? Feel free to comment below.

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