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  • My grandfather had recently passed, and I'd flown back from Argentina to attend his funeral.

    His name was Jack. His parents had had a millinery somewhere in Manhattan, and he'd gone on to find considerable success in the women's clothing business. He'd opened a department store called Jay's, and there were a dozen or so before he sold.

    He and I rarely got along. I wrote him a confrontational letter in high school once, addressing his temper and a coldness that made him hard to be around. He and my grandmother had a strange relationship, frequently bickering, telling each other to shut up. But they'd been together for more than 50 years, and even though it was hard to see, there was something that worked.

    My memories of him weren't all bad. He used to take my brother and I to the airfield, where we'd watch him fly model planes. He'd give me tastes of his scotch now and then, and whenever we'd visit, he'd have freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice waiting for us in the morning.

    At the funeral, I read a poem about those memories, the good ones.

    My grandfather never told many stories, but my grandmother did. After I came back from Argentina, I told myself, I'd drive down to Florida to record them before they were gone. So I'd picked up a portable mp3 recorder for that reason.

    A few months later, the day before I was to leave for a week long hike along the Inca Trail, my mother told me that my grandmother had passed. I made the hard decision to skip her funeral and go on the hike anyway. My grandmother and I had always gotten along wonderfully. If I was to chose between the two, it was my grandfather's funeral that I needed to attend.

    I never got a chance to capture her stories. But I captured a piece of her that day. They didn't know I was recording.
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