Staci Troilo

Suspense, Passion... Fiction That Flutters The Heart

Tag: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Gratitude

thanksgivingSometimes we forget to appreciate our blessings—big or little. At least until November rolls around. Then it’s not just about that Thursday at the end of the month, but rather every day is spent in gratitude for something.

thanksgivingThanksgiving used to be a one-day commemoration of Native Americans and Pilgrims sharing the fruits of the harvest season. Now, though, for many of us, it’s grown into a month-long celebration of the things we’re grateful for.

I count my blessings every day, but I don’t often share them aloud. Particularly with respect to my vocation. So right now, I’m going to tell you some of the things I’m most grateful for professionally.

  • Mystery Heir AudibleOne of my publishers surprised me. They took my novel and had it converted to an audio book. Mystery Heir is now available on, and I’m full of gratitude that they had such faith in the story to convert it.
  • CrimsonDirt-FinalA talented group of authors invited me to join them in writing anthologies. Crimson Dirt was a collection of chilling shorts that released in time for the Halloween season. It included my prequel to the Whispers series, “Malevolent Whispers,” and it made the top-sellers list on Amazon. This group has asked me back to participate in a Christmas anthology (details of which are forthcoming). I’m so appreciative of all of them, and so glad to be a part of their group.
  • Another of my publishers is set to release the second installment of the Cathedral Lake series. Out and About is Jensen’s story, and it will be available soon. I’m grateful to Oghma Creative Media’s CEO and staff for making this possible.

So yes, things are going well for me. And I’m truly grateful. Most especially, though, I’m grateful to my fans who have supported me and encouraged me, who have reviewed my work and requested more. For you, I’m eternally thankful.

IMG_2244All that said, it is time for another installment of fiction. (All installments can be found on the Freebies page.) This First Friday Fiction Feature (#FFFF) is all about Thanksgiving, and I could think of no better way to pay homage to the holiday than by writing something in the spirit of the iconic “Over the River” by Lydia Maria Child. So, without further ado, my tribute, with a Western Pennsylvanian flair…

Over the Bridge and Through the ‘Burgh

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
To our parents’ house we go
A breathtaking view for a moment or two
Of the city sprawled out below

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
For turkey and pumpkin pie
There’s way too much food even for this large brood
Even after the cousins drop by

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
The football games have begun
Dessert by the TV, many cups of coffee
We’re all laughing and having fun

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
Now it’s our time to play
The food’s set aside, we all go outside
For the family football game

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
The weather’s growing cold
Our cheeks are flushed, the adults’ team got crushed
We go inside feeling sore and old

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
It’s no longer time to play
By the fire we rest, this was by far the best
Celebration of Thanksgiving Day

So, this November, keep in mind the things you’re grateful for, and remember to share your appreciation—not just this month, but all year long.

Do you have someone you’d like to single out? Tell us who and why you appreciate them.

Do You Focus on the Negative?

couchWe broke down and bought new furniture for our family room. We’ve needed it for a while, but with two dogs that jump on it and two kids who eat in there, we didn’t see the point.

Until the dogs ate the stuffing out of the cushions.

We went to several stores and were never really satisfied with anything. So we settled on a sofa and loveseat that would match our existing chair. However, it doesn’t match our walls, so now we have to paint.

My living room hasn’t been painted since we moved in. But now we have another room on the list.

We intended to keep this set pristine. But the dogs are already using it as a bed, and my kids are eating on it again. It’s probably only a matter of time before I’m picking up stuffing off the floor.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not complaining. I’m actually grateful.

See, this month was difficult for many of my family and friends. My uncle is sick and deteriorating rapidly. My mother had two surgeries. A high school friend is marking the one year anniversary of her mother’s death. An online friend’s father is in the hospital. And the list goes on…

How can I complain about furniture when so many people have much bigger worries to contend with?

This month we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s less than a week away, actually. Are you going to be grateful for the blessings you have or complaining about your have-nots?

There are many disappointments and tragedies I could focus on this year, but I’m choosing to be thankful. I hope you manage to do the same.

For Writers:
An easy personality trait to give a character is negativity. What about gratitude? Do you have a character that needs to be fleshed out, better developed? Try making him or her altruistic, especially if he or she has little to be grateful for. This is a great way to add dimension to a flat character.

For Everyone:
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. I wish you all nothing but health and happiness this year. Hopefully you find contentment and peace.

Laci and Del: Giving Thanks Was Never So Difficult

It’s the first Friday of the month. Time for another installment of short fiction. You can, at any time, find this work or any of the First Friday Fiction Features (#FFFF), by going to the My Work tab, clicking on Freebies, and selecting the story you wish to read.

Remember that 2014 is the year I’m trying serial work. This is part 11 of 12.

Laci and Del: Giving Thanks Was Never So Difficult

pilgrims and pumpkinsLaci loved autumn—crisp air, cozy clothes, football and hockey season, hearty and spicy foods—and Thanksgiving was one of her favorite holidays. She pulled her sweet potato casserole out of the oven and breathed in deeply. Ah, nothing could smell better. Except her mother’s turkey and stuffing. She pulled on her favorite sweater, loaded her casserole and pumpkin cheesecake into the car, and left for her parents’ house.

Yes, this was one of her favorite times of the year. But this year she couldn’t enjoy it.

Try as she might, she couldn’t get past her breakup with Del. The past few weeks had been torturous. She vacillated between knowing it was for the best, to staring at her phone praying he’d call, to almost dialing his number.

In the end, though, none of those were true. She didn’t think it was in either of their best interests to separate, but she couldn’t follow him, he shouldn’t stay, and he didn’t seem to be in a hurry to try to repair their relationship. He hadn’t contacted her once. Not one call. Not a text. Not a single email.

She sighed and bore left, her car automatically heading toward his apartment instead of her parents’ house. If she could maybe just get a glimpse of him before being inundated with family for the day, she might feel a bit better.

Or it might just make things worse.

She stopped at the corner of his street and stared, dumbfounded, at the sight in front of his building. A cab sat near the curb, trunk open, and the driver had exited and was helping Del load luggage into the back.

Definitely made things worse. She suffered the worst case of déjà vu ever. She struggled to breathe while the tears streamed silently down her cheeks. Of course he hadn’t tried to contact her. She’d told him to move on, and he was. Literally.

It was too awful to watch the cab driver pull away, taking her love and her future with him. Instead, she made an illegal U-turn and drove back the way she came. She didn’t get two blocks before the flashing lights in her rearview mirror indicated a problem. No one else was on the street. It had to be her. When the siren blared, she signaled and pulled to the curb. The police officer followed and, after parking behind her, approached her window.

“Miss, do you know why I pulled you over?”

Tears continued to fall, but now accompanied by wracking sobs. She nodded her head.

The officer sighed. “License, registration, and insurance, please.”

She fumbled in the glove compartment and produced the papers he needed. Then she got her license from her purse. Her sobs came like hiccups as she handed the information out the window.

“Miss, are you all right?”

She just shook her head. He produced a handkerchief from his pocket and passed it to her. “I’ll be right back.” He went back to his patrol car and did whatever took cops so long to do back there.

Laci tried to settle herself before he came back, mopping at her face and taking deep breaths. All she managed to do was smear her makeup.

He came back to her car and handed her information back to her. “You have a clean record, and I wouldn’t want to mess that up on Thanksgiving. Let’s consider this a warning. But be careful. And no driving until you’ve calmed down. Okay?”

“Okay.” It sounded more like “ah… ka,” but it was all she could manage to utter.

“Are you sure you’re all right?”

She nodded and offered a watery smile.

“Drive safely, Miss Marks.”

She offered him his hanky back, but he smiled and waved her off, then returned to his vehicle.

To Laci’s dismay, he didn’t pull out. She figured he was waiting for her, so she composed herself as best she could and left for her mother’s. He followed her to the bridge, then turned away.

The rest of her ride was uneventful. Because of her side trip and the subsequent stop, she arrived at her parents’ home late—right when the food was being placed on the table. No picking at turkey and stuffing right out of the oven this year. No matter, she wasn’t hungry anyway.

The house bustled with activity. The littlest children colored hand-outline turkeys while the older ones sang “Over the River” and danced around. The men walked sideways into the dining room, trying not to miss the last football play they’d get to see before dinner was over. Her mother and aunt hovered over the table, fussing over details while her cousin Clara snoodled up to her boyfriend Kyle on the couch. Everyone else must be in the kitchen, but she couldn’t see past the commotion in the dining room. Soon people filed to their seats from all corners of the house.

Far too many people, far too little room. Packed elbow-to-elbow and hip-to-hip, everyone—almost everyone—she loved clustered around the table. It was the kind of family event she adored.

And she didn’t know how she’d get through it.

Her dad looked at her and frowned, but he didn’t say anything. He just enveloped her in a hug and took the casserole dish out of her hand. Her mother reached for the cheesecake but stopped in her tracks. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” Lying was just easier. “I got stopped by a cop on my way here, and I had to cry to get out of the ticket. Thank God it’s Thanksgiving. He was in a holiday mood and took pity on me. I got off with a warning.”

Thanksgiving mealHer mother frowned and took the dessert from her, weaving her way between the kid table and the adult table to put it in the refrigerator. Her Aunt Rose smiled and kissed her cheek. “Well, we’re just glad you’re here now. And what about your young fella? Where’s he?”

Her mother, reentering the dining room, cleared her throat and glared at her sister. “Help me pour, Rose.” She thrust a bottle into Rose’s hand, saving Laci from answering.

Laci swallowed her tears past the lump in her throat and wondered if she’d be able to eat anything. She knew it all smelled wonderful, but she was sick to her stomach and the aroma of the food just made it worse. Taking her seat, she grabbed her goblet of water and downed it in two gulps.

Her aunt got the children ginger ale while her mother walked around pouring Taittinger for everyone. Her father, at the head of the table, stood and tapped his fork against his champagne flute. Everyone grew quiet while he said the blessing, then he raised his glass.

“Another year, another wonderful spread. Another houseful of loved ones.” He turned toward Laci, but she couldn’t meet his gaze. She reached for her champagne flute and stared at the table. “I’m so grateful for all our blessings, and for each one of you. If you’d all raise your glasses…” When everyone had complied, he said, “For the bounty of Thanksgivings past, the blessings of Thanksgiving present, and the promises of Thanksgiving futures. Sláinte!

Laci mouthed the words as he spoke them. He ended every Thanksgiving toast the same way. This year, though, when everyone else drank, she put her glass down. She didn’t feel like celebrating. She didn’t feel blessed this year. And she certainly didn’t think her future was very promising.

Clara and her boyfriend managed to get to their feet without knocking over any chairs or crushing any toes. Clara clinked her fork against her glass, the crystal sounding shrill to Laci’s ears. When everyone looked at the couple, Clara said, “We have an announcement.”

Laci sighed. Clara always had something to share. Why it needed to be an announcement, she had no idea, but she refrained from rolling her eyes and waited.

Clara and Kyle wrapped their arms around each other, then Clara thrust her left hand into the air. “We’re getting married!”

The reaction was thunderous and immediate. Everyone did their best to extricate themselves from their seats and rush over to the young couple to offer congratulations. Everyone, that is, but Laci and her parents. Laci headed for the door, and they followed.

“Laci,” her mother said.

“I can’t, Mom. I’m sorry, but I just can’t.” She rooted through the pile of coats strewn on the stairs and found hers, second from the top. “Make my apologies, say whatever you have to. But I have to get out of here.”

“But it’s Thanksgiving,” her dad said.

She pecked him on the cheek and hugged her mom. “I know.” And she walked out the door.

Laci was really starting to get the hang of driving through a flood of tears. It had become the norm. She’d also grown accustomed to letting the car decide where to go, as she didn’t have the will or desire to direct it. For some reason, she was driving through the city again instead of heading home. The parade was long over, but in her mind she heard the echo of the marching bands, saw the horses and the floats, listened to the delighted squeals of the children as Santa made his way down the street. She liked to attend the parade every year, but this year she hadn’t been up to it. Now, the streets still littered with candy wrappers, soda cans, and confetti, it seemed so profound to her. Life was just like that parade. It was beautiful and exciting. And fleeting. And once the magic was over, all that was left was the tattered remnants. Until someone cleaned them up and disposed of them.

When she got to the bridge, she saw a street cleaning crew heading the way she had come. Too bad she couldn’t hire them to clean up her mess.

Point Park FountainShe drove across the bridge, not bothering to look at the fountain at The Point, the paddle boats on the river, the incline on the hill. Those were things she never missed; the city was gorgeous and the sights always lifted her spirits. But that day, she didn’t care. She just went where her car took her.

And cried when she ended up on the Coal Mountain overlook. The place Del had taken her on Valentine’s Day.

She put the car in drive and headed home, her heart broken and her mind reeling. Would she ever be thankful for anything again?

Giving Thanks for the Spiritual

thankfulIt’s time to wrap up the giving thanks posts. For new readers, I’ll recap quickly.

Drawing inspiration from a friend of mine, I’m writing posts all month about things I’m thankful for. She does daily Facebook posts. I’m doing weekly blog posts. I’ve divided mine into categories: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This is week four.

**DISCLAIMER** Things covered this month are in no particular order.

This week covers spiritual things. I’m grateful for:

  • God and the Holy Trinity
  • My faith
  • My parents who raised me as a Catholic
  • My godparents who reinforced those beliefs
  • My family who prays for me (as I do them)
  • The several Bibles in my home
  • The rosary that I pray every day
  • Mary, and her intercession
  • The saints, and their intercession

The Catholic faith is an often maligned and misunderstood faith. It has had its problems, but I pray for its fortitude and longevity, just as I know the first Apostles did, and still do.

I gain peace and strength from my spiritual life, and I wish that for all of you, regardless of your particular beliefs.

I’d love to know what spiritual things in your life you are grateful for. Why don’t you add to the list below? This, as always, is a safe space to share.

And if I’m not back before Thursday, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Giving Thanks for the Emotional

thankfulIt’s week three. If you’ve been following along, you know I’m emulating an idea a friend of mine gave me, and instead of doing daily brief posts on Facebook, I’m doing weekly posts here on my blog, discussing things I’m thankful for. (A regular reader got me hooked on the daily #ThankfulNovember tweets, as well.) Of course, the little part in my brain that insists on organizing things demanded I create categories for my posts, so I decided to take the four Mondays that I’ve devoted to regular posting and divide them into the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual things in my life that I’m grateful for.

**DISCLAIMER** Things covered this month are in no particular order.

Week three covers emotional things. It’s silly to list emotions. We’re all grateful for emotions (I would think). Instead, I’m going to list the things the evoke emotions in me:

  • My family
  • Crisp, sunny fall days
  • A baby’s laugh
  • The first blooms of spring
  • Rainbows
  • The smell after a rain shower
  • My kids’ faces when they’ve succeeded at something
  • Going home
  • Decorating for the holidays
  • The smell of cookies in the oven

I know many of these seem like physical things, but they all stir up feelings of hope and pride and… and… and that quintessential something that means all is right with the world. I could just name a bunch of emotions (love, happiness, joy, elation), but I’d rather you know what inspires them. And there are so many more emotional things that I’m thankful for but they aren’t springing to mind because I’m trying to think of them. Why don’t you help add to the list? What things inspire these feelings in you?

Giving Thanks for the Physical

thankfulOne of my dearest friends from college does something that I’ve always admired (but never managed to emulate) in November. In honor of Thanksgiving, she does a post on Facebook every single day of the month and lists something she’s grateful for. She doesn’t go into detail, and it’s not always something earth-shattering, but for thirty days, she tells the world what she is thankful for that day.

I always enjoy those posts.

In that spirit, I thought I’d take the next four weeks and try to do something along the same lines. Being that she has thirty days and I only have four, I figured I’d better break mine down into categories. So I decided the best way to handle it was to do the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual things in my life that I’m grateful for.

**DISCLAIMER** Things covered this month are in no particular order. That said, I’ll begin week one with the physical things.

  • My life
  • My family
  • My dogs
  • My friends
  • My house and the things that make it a home
  • My cars that get me to the places I need and want to go
  • The food that feeds us
  • The plants that give us air to breathe
  • The military, police, and firefighters who protects us

I know there are so many more physical things that I’m thankful for but they aren’t springing to mind because I’m trying to think of them. Why don’t you help add to the list?

Holiday or Heritage? Will You Fight for Cultural Cognizance?

US FlagI just read an article called “Columbus Day To Native American Day? CA Assemblyman Roger Hernandez Introduces Bill AB 55” by Anna Almendrala. In it, she discusses the possibility that Columbus Day will be replaced by a holiday called Native American Day in California. With us celebrating Martin Luther King Day today, and with Black History Month approaching in February, people definitely have minority rights and awareness on their minds. That brings up an interesting point.

Do you know what minority group fell victim to the largest lynching in US history? I’ll give you three hints.

1. It occurred in 1891.italian flag

2. It took place in Louisiana.

3. It was not African Americans.

It was Italian Americans.

I learned this dark part of my heritage in a fascinating piece called “When Italian Immigrants Were ‘The Other’” by Ed Falco.

New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessy had been murdered, and nine Italians had been tried and found not guilty. Enraged, a mob stormed the jail. The nine innocent men, along with two Italians in jail on other charges, were taken and lynched. The police began arresting Italian immigrants throughout New Orleans. Throughout the country, Italian Americans were being assaulted.

The New York Times ran editorials supporting the attacks, calling Sicilans “sneaking and cowardly” and “a band of assassins” and supported New Orleans’ lynching approach as their only recourse.

Teddy Roosevelt, who wasn’t yet in office, said the lynchings were a “rather good thing,” and John Parker, lynch mob organizer who went on to become Louisiana’s governor, said Italians were “just a little worse than the Negro, being if anything filthier in their habits, lawless, and treacherous.”

I have no interest in taking away anyone’s right to celebrate their heritage. Ask my children, I’m the first one to complain every Thanksgiving that it’s a hypocritical holiday. Atheists celebrate it as a secular holiday, so obviously they don’t believe the pilgrims were thanking God for a bountiful harvest. Christians who do see the Grace of God in the holiday often forget the role the Native Americans played in the first Thanksgiving meal. And even when their role is remembered, no one acknowledges that the settlers simply turned around and stole their land from them after they saved their lives. So really, isn’t Thanksgiving more of a Native American Remembrance Day than Columbus Day?

Yes, Native Americans were here before us. I don’t know how they got here. Maybe they were here since Pangaea. Maybe they crossed the Bering Strait over a now melted glacial bridge. There is no denying though, they were here first and have first claim. That’s undisputed. There’s also evidence that the Vikings came and went before Columbus did. The Italians didn’t live here first. The Italians didn’t even find this land first. But it was Columbus who paved the way for mass exploration, resulting in the country that we’re all benefitting from today. Why not acknowledge that?

I’m saddened at the horrors that befell the native cultures who lived here. The explorers hundreds of years ago were conquerors, and they were hostile and brutal. The spread of disease and the treatment of women especially turns my stomach. We can’t change the past; we can only learn from it. So let’s not put cultures on pedestals. Let’s not forget that when the Europeans tried to buy the land, albeit for a ridiculously low sum, the natives accepted the offerings believing that in their culture, land couldn’t be purchased because it couldn’t be owned. It wasn’t just the Europeans who were duplicitous in their dealings.

I’m proud to be an American, just as I’m proud to be of Italian descent. I think it’s important to celebrate where we came from, but not to the point that we divide ourselves from the rest of our countrymen. There is no reason to take away a celebration from one culture and give it to another when we can set aside days for both cultures to celebrate their own histories, particularly when the cultures include a beautiful and strong one like the Italian culture that has been oppressed time and again, and an often forgotten and proud one like the Native American culture. Both cultures deserve a right to be acknowledged. I would happily celebrate a day that honors and remembers the Native American culture. I would also hope the people of this great nation can see the contributions of my culture, and can see a reason to honor it.

I see no reason why state legislators feel the need to waste time on divisive bills when there are obviously more important matters facing our nation. Let’s not let them get away with eroding our traditions or wasting our time and tax dollars. Instead, let’s uphold them to the principles that all our ancestors lived by—concern for the welfare of the people who inhabit this great nation.

Why I’m Thankful for the White Tornado

It’s a few days early for Thanksgiving, but I always post on Mondays, so I’m posting today about what I’m thankful for. God has been good to me. I’m truly blessed. I have a loving husband and a wonderful son and daughter. I have two adorable dogs that bring us joy every day. We have a beautiful home and, given all the areas of the world that have been hit with disasters in recent years, it would be wrong of me to complain that it’s too far from my extended family… but that’s really the only thing that bothers me about my house. It just isn’t in my hometown.

Mary NaccaratoAnd that brings me to the topic of this post. I could write about so many different things this year, but what (or I guess I should say who) this blog post is focusing on is in my hometown. I’m going to tell you about one of my favorite people in the world: my grandmother, Mary Naccarato. I know almost everyone thinks they have the best grandma, but I have to tell you, this lady is one in seven billion.

Gramma, or Nana (as the great-grandkids call her), is a ninety-four year old dynamo. Because of her bright white hair and her unlimited supply of energy, she’s earned the nickname “The White Tornado.” This is a woman who still climbs ladders to polish the crystal on her chandelier, sweeps and scrubs her porches, and adheres to the same weekly housework schedule she created when she first got married… probably the same one she learned from her mother, because it’s the one my mother uses and it’s the one I (kind of) follow.

Her parents came from Italy when she had just one sibling. She was born in Colorado and spent her early childhood there, where she developed a love for horses and the wilderness. At a young age her family (which eventually became seven children) moved to New Kensington, Pennsylvania, where she eventually met my grandfather. She had other suitors, but it was my grandfather who won her heart. He used to walk the fifteen to twenty miles from Vandergrift to her house just to see her. When they married, she knew he had to take care of his mother and younger siblings (his father had died at a young age and he was the man of the family since he was fourteen), so she acquiesced her position as woman of the house, letting my grandfather continue to support his family.

His siblings were eventually able to care for themselves, and my grandmother got her own home. She lost her only son in a difficult stillbirth, but she went on to have two wonderful daughters: my mother and my aunt. The way I hear it, their house was the town hangout. She would make cookies or pizza roll or any number or wonderful treats and the kids would congregate there. There were times my dad and his friends dropped by when my mom and aunt weren’t there, just to visit and grab a snack. Why wouldn’t they? She’s the world’s best cook and she tells the best stories. She’s a great listener, too.

Things didn’t change when Gramma’s children were out of the house and her grandchildren were roaming the town. My friends and I used to drop in all the time for a snack and a visit. So did my brother, my sister, and my cousins. Sometimes our friends would drop by without us. It turns out, no one can go past my grandmother’s house without saying hello. And hello leads to a visit. And a visit leads to food, so…

When I got my license, I had a built-in shopping buddy. She was my good luck charm. If I needed something, really needed something, I’d take her with me. I always found what I was looking for if she was with me. Even if it took a while. Once I told her I needed to take a quick run to Staples for some things for my writing portfolio. We were there for two hours. To this day when she sees a Staples commercial she thinks of me. But I did manage to get everything I needed. She’s my good luck charm.

The week before my wedding, when my husband had his bachelor party, all of my bridesmaids had something else going on. One was underage, two were out of town, one was at the hospital with her fiancé, and two were moms with young kids at home… I wasn’t having a bachelorette party. I could have gone out with other friends or hung out with my parents for the last time. But I chose to spend the time with my grandmother. We went to my new apartment, papered my kitchen shelves, reminisced about my grandfather and other family moments, and then we went out. We had a blast. We talk about it to this day. It was one of the best nights of my life. I wouldn’t trade that memory for anything in the world.

Once all the grandkids were married, the great-grandkids came. We have traditions to carry on. Sure, we are learning them from our mothers, but Gramma is still there helping us, reminding us what is truly important. She came to my house and helped make homemade ravioli for the last Easter I hosted before I moved out of state. She still shares recipes and tells stories. She shows us pictures and gives us heirlooms. She is a living tradition.

I don’t get home very often. I miss seeing her, hugging her, baking with her, sharing these things with her. But then I remember, when her family left Italy, that was it. They never went back. They never even called home—the cost was too much. Because of technological advances, I can talk to her whenever I want. I have the luxury of hearing her voice. No, it’s not the same. I can’t sit at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a few pizzelles, but I haven’t lost touch with her.

And as long as I have her, I will give thanks for that.

I hope this Thanksgiving you all have someone in your lives for whom you can be as grateful as I am for my grandmother.

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