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Holidays always remind me of family. It doesn't matter if it's July 4th, Christmas or the upcoming Memorial Day, I always seem to reflect on my family during these special times of the year. I have immediate and extended family members in states all across America. I have family members located in every region of the USA. From my dad's brothers and sisters in Georgia, Colorado, Vermont and North Carolina to cousins in Oregon, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Oklahoma, I always have a place to stay anytime I go traveling. In fact, since I have so many relatives living in different locations, I more or less never am able to see each relative in the same place at the same time. My grandparents usually end up scheduling family reunions about every two years, and they do a fantastic job of guilt tripping everyone into making the journey to their home in North Carolina. I like to attend these reunions, as I enjoy catching up with everyone and learning about the new things that are happening in each person's life.

My dad is a funny guy. Family reunions in North Carolina are always so much fun. Usually my grandmother prepares a fantastic meal, my Uncle Bill plays the bartender and serves everyone drinks and my grandfather, after he has eaten, begins telling stories about my father and his brothers and sisters. These stories go on for hours, as everyone likes to chime in with his or her own account of what happened. This is always my favorite part of the reunion because I always get to hear a new story about something embarassing that my dad did when he was a teenager. The best story about my father concerns the time he was supposed wear a tuxedo and drive the limousine to pick up his Aunt Sally from the church on her wedding day. The way my uncle recalls the story is that Aunt Sally and her new hubby John were walking out of the church to get in the car having been married for all of ten minutes, and instead of the driver (my dad) wearing the nice white tuxedo that Aunt Sally had picked out, he was instead wearing a full body reptile costume complete with a tail and snout. Aunt Sally did not think this stunt was funny. However, according to my uncle, the rest of the people at the wedding, though somewhat baffled, could hardly contain their laughter. My dad is now a doctor and all of his years practicing medicine have humbled him, so I find it hilarious that the guy who I have always known to be a pretty serious person is capable of such shenanigans.

My grandmother always brings up a story about me at every reunion. My grandmother is the sweetest little lady on the planet. She is an amazing cook and loves it when she gets to take care of everyone. She also always brings up a story about the day that I was born. I have heard this story so many times now that I feel like I can give a first person account of every detail about the day I was born. She always begins by describing every detail about the weather that day. It was a steamy, hot Saturday and the clouds looked like they were going to open up at any second throughout the day, though it never rained. My grandmother's reason for always telling the story is that my birthday is the same as that of my cousin Martha. My mother and father were at Martha's tenth birthday party when my mom said it was time to go to the hospital. Martha was really excited to get a new cousin for her birthday that year. In fact, Martha still lights up every time she hears my grandmother tell the story about our shared birthday. 

I share my passion for reading using a metal business sign. I've been in business for myself for almost ten years. I own a bookstore in Manhatten and I love hanging out with and talking to my customers about books. When I got the idea to open a bookstore, I had no idea how I should spread the word in order to build a customer base with whom I could share my passion, as this was my first experience owning a business. I talked to my friend Jake and he recommended that I create my own metal sign. He told me that when he was in business for himself he always advertised with custom metal signs because they afforded him the freedom to say what he wanted. I took his advice and designed a sandwich board style metal sign to display on the sidewalk in front of my store. This metal sign was my first attempt at advertising my store, and I still use the metal sign today, ten years later. 

I think of my custom metal sign when I'm at family reunions. I guess the reason I told you about my family reunions is because I compare my grandmother's ability to recount the day I was born with my ability to recount the day I first started using metal signage to promote my store. It was the first beautiful day in an April that had been unusually rainy and cold. I had Pad Thai for dinner that night because there was a Thai restaurant located next door to where I bought my business signage. I could keep going with my description of the day, but I'll spare you the details that probably only I find interesting. My custom metal sign has been with me through all of the trials and tribulations of owning my own business, and I'm happy to say that the sign is still with me today.

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