Everyone needs an Aunt Jo in their life when they’re a kid. An Aunt Jo person may be a coach, a teacher, a neighbor or a real relative like my Aunt Jo. These are like bonus people who are different from our parents because at the end of the day they go home and get a break from us.

Aunt Jo was the third of five girls, Mom was the oldest. She didn’t marry until she was 40 and never had kids of her own. That left plenty of time for me and my brother. She would do the most wonderful things like let us have candy bars no matter what time it was and read Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to us in July. And we laughed a lot.

Every year in December on a Thursday, when the stores stayed open past 5 o’clock, Aunt Jo would take me Christmas shopping after work. That was before malls and the 24 hour Walmart took over the world. We would shop for a while, stop for dinner, then shop a little more. She patiently helped me pick out bottles of Evening In Paris cologne for teachers and yet another tie for my granddaddy. She made me feel like I could be a personal shopper because I chose such wonderful gifts.

We always finished the night walking up the long row of steps of the state capitol to see the nativity. That, of course, was when it was OK for baby Jesus to hang out with the state’s leaders.

I hope you have an Aunt Jo person in your life who did special things for you, especially this time of year. The other day I was Christmas shopping and wondered if Evening in Paris was even still sold.

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