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  • I snapped this photo on July 4, 2011 while taking a walk through the fields at my brother's place, in Columbia County, PA. My nephew, always the leader and tour guide, led the way. My niece followed behind him, holding my hand. At some point we separated as I focused on the red, white and blue decorations that had been place all over for the celebration that day. I took shots of food, family, dogs and fireworks. I must have snapped over 300 color photos, all of them memories of the 4th.

    Today I looked through the photos again. This is the one that spoke to me.

    My nephew and niece...

    Brother and sister. Learning to be the best of friends. Adventurous, loving, spirited, and caring. My brother is a firm believer in passing on the values our father passed on to us. His children are his life and his life's work is being a round-the-clock dad, building memories one by one. My brother's hard work shows. They are both intelligent, curious, polite, healthy and happy kids. Most often they are surprisingly sweet but at the same time they can be fiercely protective of one another. Sometimes they are mischievous partners-in-crime. They both love nature and are absolutely crazy about animals.

    I had the pleasure of helping to teach my niece to ride her bike for the first time that day. I also watched my nephew drive the tractor his Pop-Pop gave to him, for the first time since his grandfather passed on. I'll never forget the look of total joy on my nephew's face as he drove it lap after lap around the field. I could hear his giggles hundreds of yards away.

    Of all of the pictures I snapped that day, this is my favorite photo. Sometimes it's the ordinary things, like taking a walk with your family, that make up the very best slices of life.
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