Trip with Papa This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 10, 2012
Many people have influenced me during my seventeen years of life, but no one has had a greater affect than (drum roll, please) my grandfather, Papa, or William Joseph Scanlon. Since my grandparents cared for me while my mother taught school and my dad did his computer work, I've spent a lot of time with my Papa. My earliest childhood memories center around my grandfather's sense of humor and how he always brightens everyone's day.

One of our favorite outings was to the local grocery store. My grandmother would get me all dressed up, perky bow included in the outfit.

As the little queen, I'd ride in the carriage, surveying my subjects. Papa would always stop to talk to the managers and tell them jokes. Soon they knew his name and mine did many of the cashiers. People were always glad to see us, their eyes would light up as they waited to hear Papa's newest story. My older sister and I were frequently the stars of his tales and he made everyone feel as though they had observed what he described, he was so vivid with his details.

Other times the bank was our destination. After making his deposits he would inquire about a job for his granddaughter. Now, I would be hiding under the desk, listening to the adults talk. They would say, "Well, how old is she?" Then he'd fish me out from under the desk and plunk me down on the counter. He'd say, "What do you think? Will she do? She's really good with money, you know." The bank tellers would always roar with laughter and they'd give me a lollipop. I'd be so embarrassed and I'd say, "No Papa, Nana won't let me work, I have to take my nap!" He'd laugh and make his little smirk and out the door we'd go as the tellers waived and told us to come back soon. This little drama was enacted twice a month, at least, but everyone involved loved to play that game. Off we went, Papa and I, to do more errands and spread more happiness.

Probably the ladies who enjoyed our visits the most were the secretaries of my pediatrician. My doctor is great with kids but stern and demanding of his staff. If the doctor kept us waiting Papa would say, "Larry, we're on the clock here, let's get a move on." The secretaries loved that Papa bossed around the doctor. When my mom would call for us they'd say, "We'd prefer that Papa brought the girls in for their appointments." They really loved to hear his banter.

Therefore, Papa has shown me one of the most important facets of his world - making others happy by brightening their days with laughter. I feel this need in me to make others have a spark in their eyes because I am there. I love to joke with family, friends and to be honest, even strangers. Laughter can reduce tension and make any meeting an opportunity to make a friend. I am grateful to have had such a wonderful role model. Our times together were and are the best times of my life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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