L'il Ralf brings joy to our family

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L'il Ralf is a Vermont Teddy Bear that travels with my family everywhere. He is kind of like our family's "Flat Stanley" project.

The golden brown bear wears a white T-shirt that has #1 Brother In Law printed on the back, and I Love Ralf on the front. My great-aunt Paula gave my grandfather Morfar the bear to cheer him up when he was very sick.

This past summer, my grandfather lost his short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Morfar was a very special part of our whole family. To all his grandchildren, he was full of silliness and fun. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He always played with us, snuggled with us and joked with us; any moment he could, he would insert his chubby, red-cheeked, smiling face in pictures.

Therefore, my mom decided we should honor Morfar's memory by taking L'il Ralf on family adventures big and small, and inserting him in our pictures. At the end of every year, my mom will collect all the pictures of L'il Ralf and create a scrapbook of his adventures for everyone to share.

So far, L'il Ralf has traveled to North Carolina to visit friends and the neighborhood where Morfar spent his retired years; Northport Village to trick-or-treat with my friends and me; Orlando, where he visited all the Disney World parks, enjoying shows, rides and character meet-and-greets; Ohio, to see some of Morfar's grandchildren's sporting events; Vermont to check out the ski slopes; and Toronto for Thanksgiving. While in Canada, L'il Ralf visited the Hockey Hall of Fame and St. Lawrence Market.

I miss Morfar very much, but with the help of L'il Ralf, I can keep Morfar close to my heart and even share some hugs and snuggles. I look forward to the many adventures that lie ahead.

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