-Grace DiPipiIt was my father’s 84th birthday on February 12th, 1976 and the family got together to celebrate with cake and coffee. I baked a birthday cake and went to his home with my husband and my two children, who were 5 and 7 years old. He was very happy to celebrate his birthday with us. He always taught us that love and respect is everything in life. After having our cake and coffee, my children presented him with a birthday card with monetary gift in it, because at 84 years old he always told us he didn’t need anything.
Well, when he opened the card and he saw the money in it he said “I thank you will all my heart for the beautiful card and the money, but I have to give the money back to you. You have 2 children and you need it more than I do.” We all felt bad because we wanted to give him something for his birthday. So I promised him that I would make biscotti, his favorite Italian cookies for him.
As time went by, I got busy with taking care of my husband and my 2 children; I never got to make the biscotti. One day in April, 2 months later, I was home doing my chores and my door bell rang. I answered it and it was my father. I was very happy and surprised to see him. He didn’t drive and lived about 6 miles away from me. That day he took the bus. I immediately kissed him and told him how happy I was to see him. “Come in!” I said to him. Before he came in he asked me “Did you forget what you promised me?” At the moment I did forget and he then he said “For my birthday you promised me biscotti. He then explained “In life you promise two people in this world. You promise saints and I am no saint, and you promise little babies. I got old and I got to be like a baby. Remember when you make a promise you have to keep it!”
God only knew how bad I felt but I learned the best lesson in my life that day. After apologizing and giving him a big hug, we went into my kitchen; I put Italian music on the stereo, and started making the biscotti that I promised him. This birthday gift was belated but I thank him every day for the lesson he taught me. I’m 76 years old now, and I’ve told this story to my children and grandchildren. I hope they will pass this on for many generations. My father passed away on May 5th, only one month later. Baking biscotti with him that day was really a gift he left for me and a time I will forever treasure.