One of my favorite things to do is toast and clink glasses. A simple “cheers” makes every gathering with friends feel like a celebration.
During a time when finances are tight and jobs may be scarce, celebrating seems harder to come by, which is why I get excited when I see others reveling in simple traditions or routines.
This weekend, college degrees were awarded all across the city. At the Pfister, one law school graduate and her family (a group of 14 in all) gathered in the lobby bar in twos and threes and when all were present and the honoree had arrived, glasses were raised (and a baby bottle too, if I recall) and a rousing “Here’s to Kate” echoed throughout the holiday décor.
Who couldn’t help but cheer her on? The room turned and smiled, all of us proud at both the accomplishment and the spirit of the family celebrating this achievement. Next to me, Sophie, Grace and their mother and grandmother were also celebrating…just being together.
The ladies have a holiday tradition of coming to the Pfister after seeing a show at First Stage Children’s Theater. After one of their first visits, Grace, awestruck in the grand foyer of the hotel, mentioned to her mother, “We should come here more often.”
The celebration is this: The girls go out to the theater, leaving a little brother at home, and then come to the Pfister to be fancy and elegant while eating a delicious cheese pizza at their regular table (sadly occupied on this day) in the lobby. Their mother let me know that the tradition was extending this year to taking the girls to tea on the day after the holiday. Both Sophie and Grace nodded energetically at the prospect of tea after my long-winded description of how fantastic the experience was for me and my girlfriends just a few weeks ago.
What I admired about the girls was the ease with which they made the day a celebration. They were simply happy to be there, happy to be a part of something they remember from last year, and happy to chatter on about what they’ve been learning in school, how they liked the play and, to quote the oldest daughter, recognize that “this pizza is intimidating!” (It was beautiful in its cheesiness, I must confess).
The group stayed long after the food was gone, took many a picture near the holiday tree and perused the art collection.
My celebration was the opportunity to sit with Kate on my left, a newly minted law degree awaiting her and Sophie and Grace on my right, reciting an amazing array of facts about the Statue of Liberty that they learned in their elementary schools, perhaps on their way to a degree in a few years as well. Sophie proclaimed with joy, while getting her coat, “Wow, we’ve been out all day long! It was morning when we left!” It’s that spirit of making every moment an adventure that I hope people bring to each clink of their glass when they mutter “cheers!”
Molly Snyder has lived in Milwaukee her entire life. She started keeping a diary when she was four and published her first poem at age 10 called “The Unicorn” in the now-defunct Shorewood Herald. Today, she writes less about mythical creatures and more about Milwaukee people and places.
She is a senior writer at OnMilwaukee.com, where she has worked for the last 12 years. Telling people’s stories is her passion.