J: This weekend our parents are receiving an award from our dad's high school. It's the most prestigious award given by the school and as the day approaches we are talking a lot about it. We call it "the Major Awahd" , like the leg lamp in the Christmas Story, and each time we mention it, it is news to our parents.
Initially we were all surprised to hear that they were chosen for the award. Our parents generosity to their favorite charities has always been behind the scenes. None of us had (or have) any idea how much support my dad has given to his alma mater. That's the way he wanted it. He wasn't looking for kudos. If he was still "him" he wouldn't have accepted the award.
Whether it was the humble upbringings that they both had or just their prudent nature, our parents lived very simply. We joke about how our mom always had to make the dollars stretch. She would come home from the grocery store and announce how much she had spent and then fix her stern glare on all of us and tell us that "this was it for the week - $100 worth of food- and we will make it last". We always assumed it was because we had to. But in truth they were trying to teach us the value of a dollar and the value in not wasting anything.
So now we have the Major Awahd to remind us of how hard our parents worked to earn, and save, and donate. Congratulations, mom and dad - it is truly a major award.