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Long ago in a big city, there lived an elderly gentleman. He was tall and well groomed with a few streaks of silver hair. In the summer, he wore a straw hat. In the winter, he wore a gray derby hat and a silk scarf with blue and orange polka dots.
He lived with his family in a three-floor walk-up apartment. His family included a curly topped girl of three. She was the apple of his eye. Every morning, on his way to run an errand or take the little girl to the playground, he would give her a piggyback ride down the stairs. It was fun, even for Grandma, who watched from the top of the stairs. Sometimes, he would even go back upstairs to repeat the ride if the little girl asked.
Riding the elevated train was fun too. They took the train to all sorts of different places. When the train would stop, they would go down the stairs to the stores below. Grandpa always bought something for her. He would tell her to pick something out.
The little girl would even pick out something for her baby sister, with Grandpa's approval. One day, she picked out a green dress with tiny fruit designs for the baby and a set of watercolors for herself. It was fun to shop with Grandpa. There were always interesting things to see and do downtown.
As a treat, Grandpa took the little girl to the diner where she met his friends Mr. Red and Mr. Green. She got to sit on the high padded stool at the counter while Grandpa stood by so she would not fall.
One day on one of their walks, she became cold. Grandpa took off his overcoat and let her wear it. People smiled at the little girl wearing a big coat trailing behind her and Grandpa walking alongside.
Sometimes, they would go to the playground where there were swings and sliding pines.
Grandpa taught her how to push herself on the swings. She would try to go high to reach the birds. Whenever they were at the playground, the sun would be shining, there would be a gentle breeze, and all was right with the world.
One day, the little girl and her family moved away. Grandpa and Grandma always came to visit.
Sometimes, the little girl would visit them. It was fun having two homes to live in.
When Grandpa and Grandma came to visit, they would arrive in a limousine after their train ride.
This was proof to the little girl that Grandpa was special. According to her, only important people rode in limousines.
Excerpted from The BEST GRANDPA in the WHOLE WORLD by MARIA C. CIANCIO, Earlene Gayle Escalona. Copyright © 2013 Maria C. Ciancio. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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