Steely's thread about going to spend the last days with her father brought this to mind. The most precious thing to most of us is our family. Many of us have lost older relatives and we know that what we miss the most isn't a specific thing, it is the time we spent with them. PLEASE make a point as you go through your life to take time to record your loved ones. Even if you just take a voice recorder or even an old tape recorder, get your relatives to tell you their memories and the old family stories as you record them. Then make copies of these. Keep one copy in a safe place, with your will or in a safe deposit box. If you are the victim of a tragedy like a fire or tornado or whatever, you will be able to replace the clothing and books and computers. You won't be able to replace these. Easter is coming up, a time for family gatherings and traditions. Some of us have children or grandchildren coming, and we also have some already an integral part of our lives. Take time to record YOURSELF reading to them, telling them memories of your childhood, of your life before them, of their relatives. If your grands live far away, or any relative does, send an mp3, cd or cassette tape of you talking to them instead of a letter. My grandfather had a difficult time writing so for several years he and my gma sent cassette tapes to us instead of letters. We CHERISH these tapes and wish that we had more of them. I shared a copy of one with a cousin and was astounded to hear her cry when she called me. Her mother was not as close to our gpa as mine was, so she didn't spend as much time with him or know him the way we did. Hearing his voice brought back wonderful memories that she ahd forgotten. Another way to preserve the family memories is to preserve the recipes. We all have family favorites that some family member makes better than anyone else (or worse if you have my mother in law - but even those recipes are special and make us laugh!) and food is often a central theme in family gatherings. If you have a collection of recipe cards from a relative, or know of a relative with a good size collection, make copies. A few years back I took the recipe cards that my grandparents gave me and copied them. I didn't type them into the computer. I put them on a copy machine. Then I put them in binders and sent them to my aunt, cousins, etc.... for Christmas. We were broke and it was a really inexpensive gift. It also meant more, and was worth far more than the expensive gifts we sent in past years. Some of these were in my Gpa's handwriting, or had his notes. Some were in my Gma's writing (stepmom to my mom and aunt) and some were in my other Gma's writing. She died when my mom was 10 and my aunt was 25. My cousins had not ever seen her handwriting except on a few very old documents. Some of the recipes were thought to have been lost decades before, like Gpa's divinity. Anyway, this opened up a whole flood of memories for all of us and it was one of the best gifts I could have given to any of my relatives. Remember this, and do what you can to preserve these memories - NOW. You never know when something will happen. If all you can find is a tape recorder from decades long past, go ahead and use it. You can put them onto the computer fairly easily - the gizmo we got cost about $30.