I love this picture of my Dad and Mom that I snapped on Christmas Day. My Dad smiles a lot, but he never smiles for pictures. I'm so proud of my Dad—for Christmas he gave my mom that pretty scarf she is wearing. As long as I can remember, he's said to me a few weeks before Christmas: "I am stumped. I don't know what to get your mother." I remember the year we lived in Germany when he waiting until the very last minute to go shopping. What we didn't realize was that the stores closed much earlier there than they do here on Christmas Eve. He barely made it, but he did get my mom an adorable chimney sweep for her Hümmel collection.
Speaking of presents and my Dad, I did something that I'm quite proud of for my Dad this year. In my writers' workshop at my church, I learned about this awesome site called Create Space, a division of Amazon. It's an incredibly easy and totally free way to self-publish. As soon as I was introduced to it, I knew what I needed to do.
My Dad is a storyteller. Over the past 20 years, he's been writing down slices of life, memories, and poems from his life. One afternoon when he was gone, I went on a stealth mission, logged onto his computer, and emailed myself all his stories. (Fortunately, he has them on word docs.) I realized that I could not possibly get all his stories into one collection before Christmas, so I decided just to do his childhood stories. My third brother sent me a bunch of pictures, and just a few days before Christmas, Boy at Dix arrived.
How cool is that? I got a copy for all my brothers, nieces, and nephews, and a bunch of copies for my Dad. Needless to say, it was pretty much the gift of the year.
That's Dad, with his great-grandson Justus looking on, as he opens his book. What I really loved is that my Dad right away sent one to his cousin Bob, who is featured quite prominently in these childhood stories. Dad has not seen nor spoken with Bob in—ready for this?—50 years! I am excited to hear Bob's reaction.
The most precious part to me, though, is that we have this book. My kids, my brothers, nieces, nephews—we have this part of my Dad. I am so incredibly grateful to my Dad for writing down these stories and memories so that we can have a piece of our family history, so that we can keep passing these stories down through the generations.
My message: get those stories on paper. If your parents or grandparents don't like to write, get them talking and record those stories.