By Jennifer Davis Rash
President and Editor-in-Chief
He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30) — that’s the Scripture verse I’m claiming for 2019. It’s also the verse one of my nieces and I read each day during the first week of this new year.
She and I select a new verse each Sunday night and commit to read it every morning before work and school for that week. Even though we live in different states, it’s a way for us to not only feel the presence of the Lord but also to feel close to each other.
My husband, Jason, and I strive to find special connections and bonds with each of our nieces and nephews. We don’t have children of our own so we decided to make sure our Aunt Jen Jen and Uncle Jay hats are always ready to go whenever possible.
We love to play games with them, listen when they want to talk and share special experiences with them. We are all about making memories.
A friend recently motivated me to invest more time and effort into these special kiddos when she said, “Collect memories, not things.”
I believe she is on to something because the stories told around our family’s dinner table when we are all together relate to experiences. Rarely do we discuss last year’s birthday or Christmas gifts.
And thinking about my aunts and uncles, I would have to agree my memories are connected to experiences too.
I remember — and can almost taste — the chocolate biscuits my Aunt Linda would make for my brother, cousins and me when we spent the night at her house. She also would let me help her with whatever craft project she was working on at the time. I’m confident I was more of a hindrance than a help, but she always made me feel like she was so happy I was there to assist her.
My Aunt Helen would sit in the floor and play games with us kids for hours. She also would let my brother and me come visit for days at a time and make each day an adventure.
Nail polish and lipsticks — and lots of dolls — that’s what I loved to play with at my Aunt Louise’s house. I also remember getting to ride in my Uncle Bobby’s antique cars during some visits.
Uncle Bobby’s famous pork chops, Aunt Freida’s homemade Sloppy Joes, Aunt Sybil’s salmon patties and homemade biscuits — something they were always willing to make for us.
Working in the yard with Uncle Johnny and Aunt E, spending every waking hour with Uncle Russ and Aunt Dixie and our cousins when they would make their annual trip to visit our grandparents and all of us living in Phil Campbell. All special memories.
I can recount similar warm childhood moments with almost all my aunts and uncles.
In some cases they invested a great deal of time, money and energy into the experience. In other cases they merely allowed me to tag along with whatever they had planned for the day.
Either way they gifted me with a vast collection of special memories which in turn has inspired me to continue the tradition.