Late last week, a text arrived on my phone in my "Cousins" text group: "We are emptying Mom and Dad's house, come by today or tomorrow there may be some things you want".

My cousin: Ginger. Her mom and dad: Aunt Rose and Uncle Pee Wee. Aunt Rose left us in 2002, and Uncle Pee Wee went to meet her earlier this year.

Rose and Pee Wee "At the Camp".  Townsquare Photo by John Falcon

Ginger had taken time to go through the house and remove any keepsakes she wanted for her family, and now she was offering us a chance to find something to keep as a memory of her parents (and, I'm sure, with hopes of getting the house "more empty" so they would have less to deal with, which is totally understandable!).

Some of my memories of them and their house: Aunt Rose would always have ice cold Coca-Colas in the little green bottles at their house, which were a real treat. I remember Aunt Rose and Uncle Pee Wee having little yellow plastic drinking cups with a smiley face emblazoned on them with the words "Have A Nice Day". I remember the smell of her hair salon next door. I remember Uncle Pee Wee's fogging machine (he owned "Pee Wee's Pest Control") which looked like something out of the Ghostbusters movies. I remember the old-fashioned hand-pump water well that, to this day, stands in front of their home. I remember lots of smiles and laughs at their home, and I certainly remember Aunt Rose's rice dressing. If you ask anyone in my family about Aunt Rose's rice dressing, you'll get a smile that quickly turns into a serious look along with the question "Do you have the recipe???"!

When I arrived at the house this past weekend, Ginger said: "Sam has already laid claim to any tools, and Uncle Harold gets all of the buckets and washbins. Everything else needs to go!"

So, I set out searching. First, the hair salon next door, and then the shed next to the garage. I wanted to find something that was A) unique enough that it would remind me of them each time I looked at it or someone asked about it or B) a common tool or gadget that I could use which would remind me of them each time I used it. I was able to find both.

I recently (within the past 2 - 3 years) have rediscovered my love for fishing. One of my earliest memories of Aunt Rose and Uncle Pee Wee was going to their camp in Butte La Rose to fish. After a day of fishing, the catch would be cleaned and then the fish fry would start. I was young but wanted to help, so I got to use a fish scaler for the first time on that first trip to their camp.

Townsquare Photo by John Falcon

I've used one of these things a hundred times since then but never owned one: I've always used my dad's fish scaler. Well, now I have one of my own.

I also found a coffee mug that no one else claimed. It isn't just any old, generic coffee mug: it is a coffee mug from the radio station where I started my career in broadcasting!

Townsquare Photo by John Falcon

Of course, the "Boss 96" format was long gone by the time I started working there,  but to find that mug with those call letters in their house was a sure sign that I should have it!

Ginger, thank you for that text. Thank you for allowing us to come through the house to reminisce and pick out some items: they will bring fond memories each and every time they are used.