I have phrases from “Fiddler on the Roof” running through my head as I write this. It happens whenever I think about the traditions of my life, of American life, or of my characters’ lives. “Tradition” is the answer we give when we’ve forgotten why we do something. Why do we eat turkey for Thanksgiving? Tradition. Why do we bring a tree into the house and cover it with baubles? Tradition. It’s more than that though.