Hot Chocolate Made With Milk !!

A few weekends ago an amazing person passed away !!  She influenced more people than she ever knew and she never would have taken credit for any of it.  Did you see her passing in the press/social media?  No, I’m sure you didn’t.

You see, it was my Aunt Elaine.

After 81 phenomenal years, Aunt Elaine moved onto the next stage of life where I’m sure she was welcomed with open arms !!  I was at the SHRM Leadership Conference when her funeral services were held and I was disappointed to not be there for my extended family and the myriad of people who came to show their respects and shine as an example of who she touched.

You see, my brother and I were incredibly blessed when we were very young.  Our Dad, a Vietnam Vet, passed away in 1968 after losing a battle with Hodgkin’s Disease cancer.  We were 4 and 2 at the time.  Living in the mighty metropolis of Luckey, Ohio (yes, it is a town) would have been difficult for my Mom to raise two young boys except for our incredibly tight knit family.  Most days we were with my Grandma and Grandpa as Mom went to work.  However, we were often at Aunt Elaine’s , a mere mile and a half away as well.

I fondly remember spending the night and waking up before dawn with my cousins to go out and work in the barn doing chores to care for the farm animals.  It was hard work for a young boy, but every aspect of it was spectacular !!  The warmth, the smell, the sounds – all of it permeated every inch of you and made you feel connected to the life of being a farmer.

After chores, we would all bounce back into my Aunt and Uncle’s simple farm home to a table overflowing with food !!  Farm fresh eggs which we had just gathered, bacon from the farm, toast from homemade bread and of course – hot chocolate made with milk !!  The chance to have breakfast, or any meal, at my Aunt’s house was an incredible treat.  We thought this was “normal” for when we were at the farm and revelled in it !!

Why does this all matter ??

You see, we all leave a legacy in our lives whether we choose to or not.  My Aunt Elaine touched countless numbers of people with her laughter, her charity, her positive glow and outlook on life and her love for family.

In HR we work around people every day and we have the chance to be a positive imprint on their lives.  We often think that by focusing on the “business” of what we do is more important than caring for others as people.  Just remember – that leaves an imprint as well !!

So, this week, what can you do to be that simple mug of hot chocolate?  Be intentional and value all of those whose lives you touch !!  It will matter eternally !!

14 thoughts on “Hot Chocolate Made With Milk !!”

  1. Thank you Steve! A very fitting tribute to someone that impacted our youth as well as our adulthood. I am sure there will be many remembrances when we all gather for BIG Christmas. Peace!

  2. Thanks for sharing your memories. There is a lesson here to all of us who sometimes take so much for granted. There are special times that need to be embossed in the minds of those around us because it not only defines ourselves it raises our consciousness level. I am sure that Aunt Elaine did not wake every morning and say, “What memories can I make today?” but she did anyway. Your tribute shows the power of her actions. How much more could each of us contribute to our family, friends and colleagues if we DID consciously set out to make memories… good ones.

  3. Such a great message, Steve. Sometimes the people we work with are the next best thing to family, and have a power to positively (or negatively) impact us. A little hot cocoa wouldn’t hurt.

  4. Steve;
    What a great reminder! As one who in a previous life served in ministry, I have done more than my fair share of funerals, both great and hard (many times both.) As a result I have seen the indelible footprints that simple acts of kindness can make in the lives of the people we touch daily. Sadly, it’s often times too late that we’re reminded of this and savor those memories. The truth is that there is a magic in ordinary moments with the people we love and appreciate, and often times though our working relationships are by their very nature different, we need to remember to extend and receive this “ordinary grace’ to and from those we connect with daily. Great insight!

  5. Steve

    What a loving tribute. Tears came to my eyes as I was reading it; I’m sure there were tears in your eyes as you were reminiscing about Aunt Elaine and hot chocolate made with milk.

  6. Thanks for sharing your memories, Steve. Elaine looked for the opportunity to make the life of someone else a little brighter.

  7. Hard to type through the tears brother. I remember the smell, the taste, even the sound of the milk boiling. Happy to be one of the many lives she touched.

  8. I remember that also… I believe the other term that she used what a “hot pick-me-up” and we oftentimes had the choice of Strawberry or Chocolate! That was quite a treat on a cold winters day. Great memories!
    Very nice Steve.

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