I USED TO GET UP EARLY ON SATURDAYS AND RIDE MY BIKE so I could get home early to play with my little kids.

Today I got up early and rode my bike so I could get out to Palm Springs for my aunt’s memorial service.  All week I was looking forward to seeing my cousins and celebrating the life of very special lady.

She had earned many accolades and distinctions throughout her life, like California Young Mother of The Year.  But, for me, it was the way she treated everybody.  When Nora looked at you, when she said your name, you knew… she loved you, and you knew she could see all the potential in you.

This seeing the potential in people lead to a remarkable event she put on every Spring.

Starting in 1980, she and my uncle invited all the cousins in high school to their home.  There were first-cousins and second-cousins and friends of cousins.  Some years over 50 kids would descend upon Palm Springs, from all over the country.  They camped in the back yard, sleeping bags all over the place.

She called it Cousins Conference.

She wanted the next generation to enjoy the bonds of family by getting to know their cousins.  Plus, it was important to her to help the kids understand their divine potential.  Mixed in with pool time and hikes were special workshops and speakers delivering uplifting messages.

That was my aunt, always seeing the best in others…

… and that’s what I’ll always remember.

My dad, white shirt, with siblings and his cousins.
After, we rode the tram up to the top of San Jacinto and hiked and had dinner.