There you stand, hands in pockets fumbling, clutching the seeds we brought from the machines.

Hey Little Man,

We love this place, don’t we? It is a serene and gentile place. Somewhere that we can share for these moments every once and a while. We sit in thought and smile, pondering life’s questions. I never had all the answers, but you always treated me as if I did. And I thank you for that, John-John. And I love you, Grandson.

There you stand, hands in pockets fumbling, clutching the seeds we brought from the machines.

“Ducky gumballs, Gramps?” you always asked.

I suppose it would appear that way to you my young friend. The equipment looks the same as the contraption that dispenses the brightly colored spheres on which you’d chew for hours.
Your grandfather will always hold these moments dear to my heart.

Watching from this bench, I am amazed at the amount of trust those ducks have in you, Johnny-boy! You appear so calm and generous with your morsels; you share their demeanor. Oh, Grampa’s little man, we indulge in so many things together, I can’t believe how you’ve grown. A little boy for now, soon to be a young man in an ever-changing world. A world that will hold the promise of many great things all because you are in it. You can make a difference, J.J. I believe in you.

I laugh now. Your pockets are empty, but the ducks…they follow you wanting more. You run and they hurry behind you. I love how you’ve turned out your pockets as if the mallards will understadn that feeding time is over. Hands raised now in exasperration; the duck mimic your gesture, flapping their wings back at you.

And you laugh. That joyful noise that I’ve taken pleasure in since you were born. We had an immediate bond, you and I, a connection that brings us to this park every thursday for the past three years. I’m sorry Gramps doesn’t run with you much anymore. These old legs just can’t keep up with your unbridled enthusiasm. The heart is willing…

It’s almost time to leave this place John-John. We’ve had another good visit, haven’t we? We laughed together. We fed the ducks and skipped stones on the lake. You and I had discussed important things, like what it’s like to be older. Will girls always be yucky? Will I still love you when you’re nine? Just remember… older is okay as long as you learn from it as much as you can. You’ll grow to find that girls are as disgusted with you as you are with them. And they’ll always love you for it. I’ll love you when you’re nine, as I’ve loved every step until now.

There’s just one thing we didn’t discuss. But, because we had so much fun, I don’t think we need to worry about my cancer today. I love you, Grandson.


“Papa” John


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