So I spent the past few weeks picking out books for my nephews and niece while trying to take my mind off of my mom’s cancer prognosis. Mom passed away at the end of October. During the time that my mom was very ill, our family also celebrated several baptisms and child and adult birthdays. (Including the birthdays of both my dad and my mom.)  Then we faced another “child birthday season” immediately after the funeral. And let’s not forget the all-important November-December gift season!

In keeping with many other evenings, I shopped online tonight. “Oh, I hope that he likes this,” I thought before I hit the “buy” button on Amazon.

This triggered memories.

I remember my mom panicking over a baptism gift for one of her nephews – my cousin, of course. Another time, Mom worried herself silly over picking out the “perfect” Christmas gift for yet another of my young cousins. Mom wanted to “get it right” as she chose the “perfect” gift for one of my many, many cousins from “Aunt Shirley and Uncle Bob.”

This reminds me of something else:

If you know me very well, you know that I loved and respected both my mom Shirley and also my mother-in-law Fran. Both women passed away at the age of 64.

Anyway, I remember the time that Fran selected a gift for her own beloved niece’s wedding shower. Fran picked out this gift at the Macy’s at the Mills Mall. Fran brought the gift home. She talked about the gift to several family members. Then Fran drove back to the Mills Mall, returned the gift to Macy’s, and bought a DIFFERENT gift.  Then she called her son and daughter-in-law and talked about the new gift for awhile before she finally wrapped it.

And you know what? I bet that at least one time in my life, one of my aunts or uncles did the SAME thing for me.

So to all of my aunts and uncles: thank you very much for all of the many Christmas, birthday, graduation, and wedding gifts that you selected for me.  You purchased some and handmade others, and put thought and love into all of them. Thank you for the time that you spent with me and the fun places that you took me. I look forward to repeating this with my own niece and nephews.


The site of Fort Crawford, Parnassus, New Kensington, PA. Colonel William Crawford founded this fort. Simon Girty was present at Colonel Crawford’s execution in 1782. I walked to this site from my house when I took this photo.


Here’s my newest post in my new blog, The Parnassus Pen:


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