I had my holiday letter written in my head over a week ago. I planned to tell the Thanksgiving story of my 1980s curly orange perm that was so hideous that my then 3 year old niece Laura didn’t speak to me for a year. The theme of that story was decisiveness and knowing your mind, qualities that Laura had at 3. I planned to relate the story and these qualities Laura exhibited to real estate. Decisiveness and self-knowledge are qualities necessary for success in the real estate business for sure, and that theme would have made a good Holiday letter.

But, the “curly orange hair” story took the back burner after my dad’s joyous 85th birthday party last Saturday. I’ve included a picture of my dad and me beaming as we watch the surprise bagpiper at his birthday celebration last weekend. Back in the 1960s when my grandmother turned 70 our family hired a bagpiper to surprise her on that day. I was a little kid at the time, but this past Saturday as I listened and smiled, I remembered the excitement we felt, and the tears my grandmother shed, when we heard the bagpipe on her birthday long ago. My dad was the first member of his family born in the United States, so my childhood memories of family gatherings are filled with the Scottish brogues of my grandmother, aunts and uncles. When my dad first heard the bagpipe at his party, he made a bee line for the door. He moved at a pace we had not seen for a while. My cousin Bill (who took the photo) said as we followed behind “your dad is dancing – you better get out there to see that”. What could be more joyous than seeing my 85 year old dad dance? I imagine that for my dad, the piper brought back a flood of memories.

In arranging for the special surprise, my mother elevated the day to an extraordinary celebration. In our lives we have opportunities to make special memories, and to honor the people we love. My parents have taught me the importance of celebrating life’s special events, and doing a little extra to make those celebrations extraordinary.

The real estate business provides me opportunities every day to help my clients make memories, and make their dreams come true. I am gratified to be in the dream and memory business. And, like Laura, I bring my own generous dose of decisiveness and determination. I wish you all the best for a wonderful holiday season and 2013. As always, please don’t hesitate to call on me and my team for all of your real estate questions and needs.

Happy Holidays,

Susan Manners