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September 2008

The Madrone, month by month

People write me all the time and ask me what I think about all kinds of things, because they need someone to tell them the most basic facts, like where is their elbow.

Here's some things you need to know, if you're gonna live right.


Ok. About September. 99% of my family have birthdays in September. Do the math. It's cold in January, you know what I'm saying. So, the first thing about September is what to do about all the people you have to remember, otherwise your name is mud.

Basic gift giving guide is the same all year round, but it comes in handy when you have to figure out what to get 25 relatives or more.

Under five, the present is not for the child, it's a message for the parents how they stand with you.

Between five-twelve, it's about what you think of the child. If the kid is an egghead and you get him a book, it means you approve. If you buy him a soccer ball it means you don't. Simple.

12-moving out of the house, it doesn't matter what you get, you can't get them what they want, which is the freedom to do stuff that we all did when we were their age, but don't talk about now. And friends, and REALLY GOOD Friends. Bottom line, nothing you can do to make them happy. At best, they'll remember you tried.

After moving out to their own kids moving out- Write a check

Anyone older than that- No one cares that much to be reminded. Exception - Your own mother.

People ask me all the time about the big ones- The Three 0 and the Four 0 all the way to the really old 0's like 8 or 9. If you don't have a big party does it mean you have a bad family? Honestly I don't know where these ideas come from. I don't care what you do or don't do. These big to-dos aren't about the person, not really. They are about the family. It's like hanging out a sign that says, wow, what a great family we are, there's lots of us and we live a long time, and we have the money to spare on this. Good for us. Which may or may not be true. Who knows.

About those parties- Same rules apply as apply to weddings, but only half the bloodshed, since it's about one family, and not putting two together to make a new one.

IF you have any September Questions, let me know, I'll see what I can do

God bless, Donna



Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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