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  • It is a warm summer night. I am four years old, and I walk downstairs, and my grandfather and parents are in the living room, chatting over coffee.

    “Grampa Al, read me the parade book!” I say to him.

    My grandfather is here at our house. We ate dinner about an hour ago, and it is dark out now.

    “OK, you have to go to bed after though. Alright?” he replies with a grin.

    I’m already in my pajamas and ready for bed. I curl up next to him on the couch in agreement.

    The book is one he reads to me nearly every time he comes over. It’s about a parade of animals that play music and march up and down the streets of the town. It’s my favorite, and I only like it when he reads it to me.

    He does different voices for the different characters. I love that most of all.

    Unfortunately, my grampa is no longer with us. I don’t remember the book’s title, author, characters or any of that stuff. What I do remember is his voice, his smile and his laugh while he read me the story.

    My grandfather passed away in October of 2004, at the age of 84.

    I don’t have a lot of memories with him, but they are all fond ones. We were incredibly close, and he loved coming over to play with me.

    Sometimes, I would be playing with my train set, and he’d come over, get on his hands and knees and play. Imagine that! An old man with aching bones playing trains with a little boy.

    That’s love. That was my grandpa.
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