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Another Road

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The old man stands in almost reverent awe before the statue, bare-headed in the cold, his brown jacket and slacks as old-fashioned as the rest of him. His hair is pure white, not grey, and his skin is wrinkled and spotted with age. But his back is straight and his blue eyes clear as he looks up at the statue of Earth's greatest hero. He's not from a generation of talkers, so he stands quietly as he listens to the noise of the park and studies the hundred-foot-tall statue of the Centurion. Mark Leeds is forever young, just as he was in life, and somehow that seems appropiate now that everything is said and done.

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The old man stands in almost reverent awe before the statue, bare-headed in the cold, his brown jacket and slacks as old-fashioned as the rest of him. His hair is pure white, not grey, and his skin is wrinkled and spotted with age. But his back is straight and his blue eyes clear as he looks up at the statue of Earth's greatest hero. He's not from a generation of talkers, so he stands quietly as he listens to the noise of the park and studies the hundred-foot-tall statue of the Centurion. Mark Leeds is forever young, just as he was in life, and somehow that seems appropiate now that everything is said and done.

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The old man stands in almost reverent awe before the statue, bare-headed in the cold, his brown jacket and slacks as old-fashioned as the rest of him. His hair is pure white, not grey, and his skin is wrinkled and spotted with age. But his back is straight and his blue eyes clear as he looks up at the statue of Earth's greatest hero. He's not from a generation of talkers, so he stands quietly as he listens to the noise of the park and studies the hundred-foot-tall statue of the Centurion. Mark Leeds is forever young, just as he was in life, and somehow that seems appropiate now that everything is said and done.

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Frederick took in the sights present in Riverside park before sitting down on a nearby bench. A couple walking hand in hand past the area, each happy to be there with the other. A mother pushing along a stroller, cooing happily at the child inside. Over near the grassy area across from his own spot, a family was at picnic. The small boy of the family, who was being chased around by his older sister ducked behind Mark's own bench, seemingly trying to play his own game of improvised hide and seek.

The boy panted a bit after his jog over here, and looked through Frederick's legs at his sister, who'd lost track of him. He smiled in triumph, then finally noticed that Frederick was there, looking down at him. He quickly raised a finger to his lips, telling him to keep his secret. "Shh. I'm hiding." He said simply, then went back to watching his sister intently as she went in the other direction.

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Frederick took in the sights present in Riverside park before sitting down on a nearby bench. A couple walking hand in hand past the area, each happy to be there with the other. A mother pushing along a stroller, cooing happily at the child inside. Over near the grassy area across from his own spot, a family was at picnic. The small boy of the family, who was being chased around by his older sister ducked behind Mark's own bench, seemingly trying to play his own game of improvised hide and seek.

The boy panted a bit after his jog over here, and looked through Frederick's legs at his sister, who'd lost track of him. He smiled in triumph, then finally noticed that Frederick was there, looking down at him. He quickly raised a finger to his lips, telling him to keep his secret. "Shh. I'm hiding." He said simply, then went back to watching his sister intently as she went in the other direction.

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Frederick took in the sights present in Riverside park before sitting down on a nearby bench. A couple walking hand in hand past the area, each happy to be there with the other. A mother pushing along a stroller, cooing happily at the child inside. Over near the grassy area across from his own spot, a family was at picnic. The small boy of the family, who was being chased around by his older sister ducked behind Mark's own bench, seemingly trying to play his own game of improvised hide and seek.

The boy panted a bit after his jog over here, and looked through Frederick's legs at his sister, who'd lost track of him. He smiled in triumph, then finally noticed that Frederick was there, looking down at him. He quickly raised a finger to his lips, telling him to keep his secret. "Shh. I'm hiding." He said simply, then went back to watching his sister intently as she went in the other direction.

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Frederick took in the sights present in Riverside park before sitting down on a nearby bench. A couple walking hand in hand past the area, each happy to be there with the other. A mother pushing along a stroller, cooing happily at the child inside. Over near the grassy area across from his own spot, a family was at picnic. The small boy of the family, who was being chased around by his older sister ducked behind Mark's own bench, seemingly trying to play his own game of improvised hide and seek.

The boy panted a bit after his jog over here, and looked through Frederick's legs at his sister, who'd lost track of him. He smiled in triumph, then finally noticed that Frederick was there, looking down at him. He quickly raised a finger to his lips, telling him to keep his secret. "Shh. I'm hiding." He said simply, then went back to watching his sister intently as she went in the other direction.

Frederick smiles at the little boy, but does his best to be stealthy. He has no problem with boyhood antics, even if his own are very far behind him. They're a very healthy thing for little boys. "I had a sister, too," he whispers back, his voice raspy with age. "Does she chase you a lot?"

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Frederick took in the sights present in Riverside park before sitting down on a nearby bench. A couple walking hand in hand past the area, each happy to be there with the other. A mother pushing along a stroller, cooing happily at the child inside. Over near the grassy area across from his own spot, a family was at picnic. The small boy of the family, who was being chased around by his older sister ducked behind Mark's own bench, seemingly trying to play his own game of improvised hide and seek.

The boy panted a bit after his jog over here, and looked through Frederick's legs at his sister, who'd lost track of him. He smiled in triumph, then finally noticed that Frederick was there, looking down at him. He quickly raised a finger to his lips, telling him to keep his secret. "Shh. I'm hiding." He said simply, then went back to watching his sister intently as she went in the other direction.

Frederick smiles at the little boy, but does his best to be stealthy. He has no problem with boyhood antics, even if his own are very far behind him. They're a very healthy thing for little boys. "I had a sister, too," he whispers back, his voice raspy with age. "Does she chase you a lot?"

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Frederick took in the sights present in Riverside park before sitting down on a nearby bench. A couple walking hand in hand past the area, each happy to be there with the other. A mother pushing along a stroller, cooing happily at the child inside. Over near the grassy area across from his own spot, a family was at picnic. The small boy of the family, who was being chased around by his older sister ducked behind Mark's own bench, seemingly trying to play his own game of improvised hide and seek.

The boy panted a bit after his jog over here, and looked through Frederick's legs at his sister, who'd lost track of him. He smiled in triumph, then finally noticed that Frederick was there, looking down at him. He quickly raised a finger to his lips, telling him to keep his secret. "Shh. I'm hiding." He said simply, then went back to watching his sister intently as she went in the other direction.

Frederick smiles at the little boy, but does his best to be stealthy. He has no problem with boyhood antics, even if his own are very far behind him. They're a very healthy thing for little boys. "I had a sister, too," he whispers back, his voice raspy with age. "Does she chase you a lot?"

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"Yeah, but she doesn't catch me an'more," the boy replied in that cute childish accent all kids under five had. He became a bit bolder as his sister walked out of sight, and scooted himself over from under the bench to get a better look around. "She's always tryin' na push me around, but I'm faster now, an' I can get in things she can't."

He paraded around triumphantly for a few moments, seemingly happy that he'd outwitted his sister, then plunked himself down next to Fredrick. "So what do you do? My daddy works in the city, an' he's got a big car an' ever'thing. It's really big. But I like walking places too. Do you have a car?" He looked up at Fredrick, his small eyes sparkling as he spoke.

Out of the corner of his eye, Fred could see the boy's mother approaching.

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"Yeah, but she doesn't catch me an'more," the boy replied in that cute childish accent all kids under five had. He became a bit bolder as his sister walked out of sight, and scooted himself over from under the bench to get a better look around. "She's always tryin' na push me around, but I'm faster now, an' I can get in things she can't."

He paraded around triumphantly for a few moments, seemingly happy that he'd outwitted his sister, then plunked himself down next to Fredrick. "So what do you do? My daddy works in the city, an' he's got a big car an' ever'thing. It's really big. But I like walking places too. Do you have a car?" He looked up at Fredrick, his small eyes sparkling as he spoke.

Out of the corner of his eye, Fred could see the boy's mother approaching.

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"Yeah, but she doesn't catch me an'more," the boy replied in that cute childish accent all kids under five had. He became a bit bolder as his sister walked out of sight, and scooted himself over from under the bench to get a better look around. "She's always tryin' na push me around, but I'm faster now, an' I can get in things she can't."

He paraded around triumphantly for a few moments, seemingly happy that he'd outwitted his sister, then plunked himself down next to Fredrick. "So what do you do? My daddy works in the city, an' he's got a big car an' ever'thing. It's really big. But I like walking places too. Do you have a car?" He looked up at Fredrick, his small eyes sparkling as he spoke.

Out of the corner of his eye, Fred could see the boy's mother approaching.

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"Yeah, but she doesn't catch me an'more," the boy replied in that cute childish accent all kids under five had. He became a bit bolder as his sister walked out of sight, and scooted himself over from under the bench to get a better look around. "She's always tryin' na push me around, but I'm faster now, an' I can get in things she can't."

He paraded around triumphantly for a few moments, seemingly happy that he'd outwitted his sister, then plunked himself down next to Fredrick. "So what do you do? My daddy works in the city, an' he's got a big car an' ever'thing. It's really big. But I like walking places too. Do you have a car?" He looked up at Fredrick, his small eyes sparkling as he spoke.

Out of the corner of his eye, Fred could see the boy's mother approaching.

Fred glances after the little girl, a flash of reflexes he's had even before he was a parent and grandparent himself. But it's not his kid, after all, and there's a perfectly interesting little boy right there.

"I'm..." As quickly as he can, he does his best to translate both his job (architect) and his status (semi-retired) into a little boy's perspective. "I make buildings," he tells him with a smile, "big tall ones! And then big machines come, and build them for me! I helped build the Pyramid Plaza, those big tall towers over there." He turns and points, finding the tallest buildings in the city with an architect's sharp eye.

He tries not to think about Alexander Rhodes as he speaks, his old friend the Scarab dead and gone nearly thirty years now. There are more memories than he expected out here. Fred doesn't worry about the approaching mother, though he does give her a little wave if she seems to be worried about her missing boy. At nearly eighty, he is decidedly unthreatening, even in these hyper-paranoid times.

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"Yeah, but she doesn't catch me an'more," the boy replied in that cute childish accent all kids under five had. He became a bit bolder as his sister walked out of sight, and scooted himself over from under the bench to get a better look around. "She's always tryin' na push me around, but I'm faster now, an' I can get in things she can't."

He paraded around triumphantly for a few moments, seemingly happy that he'd outwitted his sister, then plunked himself down next to Fredrick. "So what do you do? My daddy works in the city, an' he's got a big car an' ever'thing. It's really big. But I like walking places too. Do you have a car?" He looked up at Fredrick, his small eyes sparkling as he spoke.

Out of the corner of his eye, Fred could see the boy's mother approaching.

Fred glances after the little girl, a flash of reflexes he's had even before he was a parent and grandparent himself. But it's not his kid, after all, and there's a perfectly interesting little boy right there.

"I'm..." As quickly as he can, he does his best to translate both his job (architect) and his status (semi-retired) into a little boy's perspective. "I make buildings," he tells him with a smile, "big tall ones! And then big machines come, and build them for me! I helped build the Pyramid Plaza, those big tall towers over there." He turns and points, finding the tallest buildings in the city with an architect's sharp eye.

He tries not to think about Alexander Rhodes as he speaks, his old friend the Scarab dead and gone nearly thirty years now. There are more memories than he expected out here. Fred doesn't worry about the approaching mother, though he does give her a little wave if she seems to be worried about her missing boy. At nearly eighty, he is decidedly unthreatening, even in these hyper-paranoid times.

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"Yeah, but she doesn't catch me an'more," the boy replied in that cute childish accent all kids under five had. He became a bit bolder as his sister walked out of sight, and scooted himself over from under the bench to get a better look around. "She's always tryin' na push me around, but I'm faster now, an' I can get in things she can't."

He paraded around triumphantly for a few moments, seemingly happy that he'd outwitted his sister, then plunked himself down next to Fredrick. "So what do you do? My daddy works in the city, an' he's got a big car an' ever'thing. It's really big. But I like walking places too. Do you have a car?" He looked up at Fredrick, his small eyes sparkling as he spoke.

Out of the corner of his eye, Fred could see the boy's mother approaching.

Fred glances after the little girl, a flash of reflexes he's had even before he was a parent and grandparent himself. But it's not his kid, after all, and there's a perfectly interesting little boy right there.

"I'm..." As quickly as he can, he does his best to translate both his job (architect) and his status (semi-retired) into a little boy's perspective. "I make buildings," he tells him with a smile, "big tall ones! And then big machines come, and build them for me! I helped build the Pyramid Plaza, those big tall towers over there." He turns and points, finding the tallest buildings in the city with an architect's sharp eye.

He tries not to think about Alexander Rhodes as he speaks, his old friend the Scarab dead and gone nearly thirty years now. There are more memories than he expected out here. Fred doesn't worry about the approaching mother, though he does give her a little wave if she seems to be worried about her missing boy. At nearly eighty, he is decidedly unthreatening, even in these hyper-paranoid times.

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"That's so cool!" the boy exclaimed in awe. "You built the Pyr'mid? I went there just last week!"

"Matty!" the woman called out as she came up to the two. The boy - Matty, it seemed - jumped at the call of his name, then brightened as his mother stood by his side. "What have I told you about running off, young man?"

Matty's former ethusiasim dimmed slightly. "Sorry mama." But it could not be extinguished, as he smiled brillantly a second later and pulled on the woman's sundress. "Mama! This man built the Pry'mid! He's a builder!"

"Oh, is he?" the woman chuckled, then nodded politely to Fred while smiling. "Sorry about Matty. I can barely keep up with him any more, and if my husband wasn't around, I'd have no chance of looking after him and his sister." She held out her hand for Fred to shake. "I'm Katrina."

The woman, Fred noticed, was rather beutiful. One of those "if I was a several decades younger" types. It was tougher to tell with today's women, but Fred estimated her to be late twenties, maybe early thrities. Auburn hair that fell about her shoulders framed her face perfectly.

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"That's so cool!" the boy exclaimed in awe. "You built the Pyr'mid? I went there just last week!"

"Matty!" the woman called out as she came up to the two. The boy - Matty, it seemed - jumped at the call of his name, then brightened as his mother stood by his side. "What have I told you about running off, young man?"

Matty's former ethusiasim dimmed slightly. "Sorry mama." But it could not be extinguished, as he smiled brillantly a second later and pulled on the woman's sundress. "Mama! This man built the Pry'mid! He's a builder!"

"Oh, is he?" the woman chuckled, then nodded politely to Fred while smiling. "Sorry about Matty. I can barely keep up with him any more, and if my husband wasn't around, I'd have no chance of looking after him and his sister." She held out her hand for Fred to shake. "I'm Katrina."

The woman, Fred noticed, was rather beutiful. One of those "if I was a several decades younger" types. It was tougher to tell with today's women, but Fred estimated her to be late twenties, maybe early thrities. Auburn hair that fell about her shoulders framed her face perfectly.

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"That's so cool!" the boy exclaimed in awe. "You built the Pyr'mid? I went there just last week!"

"Matty!" the woman called out as she came up to the two. The boy - Matty, it seemed - jumped at the call of his name, then brightened as his mother stood by his side. "What have I told you about running off, young man?"

Matty's former ethusiasim dimmed slightly. "Sorry mama." But it could not be extinguished, as he smiled brillantly a second later and pulled on the woman's sundress. "Mama! This man built the Pry'mid! He's a builder!"

"Oh, is he?" the woman chuckled, then nodded politely to Fred while smiling. "Sorry about Matty. I can barely keep up with him any more, and if my husband wasn't around, I'd have no chance of looking after him and his sister." She held out her hand for Fred to shake. "I'm Katrina."

The woman, Fred noticed, was rather beutiful. One of those "if I was a several decades younger" types. It was tougher to tell with today's women, but Fred estimated her to be late twenties, maybe early thrities. Auburn hair that fell about her shoulders framed her face perfectly.

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"That's so cool!" the boy exclaimed in awe. "You built the Pyr'mid? I went there just last week!"

"Matty!" the woman called out as she came up to the two. The boy - Matty, it seemed - jumped at the call of his name, then brightened as his mother stood by his side. "What have I told you about running off, young man?"

Matty's former ethusiasim dimmed slightly. "Sorry mama." But it could not be extinguished, as he smiled brillantly a second later and pulled on the woman's sundress. "Mama! This man built the Pry'mid! He's a builder!"

"Oh, is he?" the woman chuckled, then nodded politely to Fred while smiling. "Sorry about Matty. I can barely keep up with him any more, and if my husband wasn't around, I'd have no chance of looking after him and his sister." She held out her hand for Fred to shake. "I'm Katrina."

The woman, Fred noticed, was rather beutiful. One of those "if I was a several decades younger" types. It was tougher to tell with today's women, but Fred estimated her to be late twenties, maybe early thrities. Auburn hair that fell about her shoulders framed her face perfectly.

Ah, the ladies. Fred remembers them all so well; the way Donna Mason filled out her patriotic uniform, that sparkling green number Lynn Sidon preferred to wear into battle, and the other lovely ladies of his own era. Weren't they surprised when they found out his age!

And of course the three fine women who wore his ring at one time or another; Soon Yi, Missy, and Diane; all women of exceptional charms, even if the relationships themselves hadn't been long for this world for whatever reason. Time was that Fred Fawcett was quite the lady-killer, especially when he...it dawns on him that Katrina was looking at him with polite tolerance. Rats That sort of thing had been happening more and more lately.

"Fred Fawcett," Fred says with a smile, shaking the lady's hand. "The boy and I were just talkin' about buildin' skyscrapers, heh-heh," he adds with an old man's wheezy chuckle, his slight accent thickening a little. "I think the little girl got off that way," he adds, stretching his neck as much as his touch of the "room-a-tis" will allow, peering in that direction.

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"That's so cool!" the boy exclaimed in awe. "You built the Pyr'mid? I went there just last week!"

"Matty!" the woman called out as she came up to the two. The boy - Matty, it seemed - jumped at the call of his name, then brightened as his mother stood by his side. "What have I told you about running off, young man?"

Matty's former ethusiasim dimmed slightly. "Sorry mama." But it could not be extinguished, as he smiled brillantly a second later and pulled on the woman's sundress. "Mama! This man built the Pry'mid! He's a builder!"

"Oh, is he?" the woman chuckled, then nodded politely to Fred while smiling. "Sorry about Matty. I can barely keep up with him any more, and if my husband wasn't around, I'd have no chance of looking after him and his sister." She held out her hand for Fred to shake. "I'm Katrina."

The woman, Fred noticed, was rather beutiful. One of those "if I was a several decades younger" types. It was tougher to tell with today's women, but Fred estimated her to be late twenties, maybe early thrities. Auburn hair that fell about her shoulders framed her face perfectly.

Ah, the ladies. Fred remembers them all so well; the way Donna Mason filled out her patriotic uniform, that sparkling green number Lynn Sidon preferred to wear into battle, and the other lovely ladies of his own era. Weren't they surprised when they found out his age!

And of course the three fine women who wore his ring at one time or another; Soon Yi, Missy, and Diane; all women of exceptional charms, even if the relationships themselves hadn't been long for this world for whatever reason. Time was that Fred Fawcett was quite the lady-killer, especially when he...it dawns on him that Katrina was looking at him with polite tolerance. Rats That sort of thing had been happening more and more lately.

"Fred Fawcett," Fred says with a smile, shaking the lady's hand. "The boy and I were just talkin' about buildin' skyscrapers, heh-heh," he adds with an old man's wheezy chuckle, his slight accent thickening a little. "I think the little girl got off that way," he adds, stretching his neck as much as his touch of the "room-a-tis" will allow, peering in that direction.

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"That's so cool!" the boy exclaimed in awe. "You built the Pyr'mid? I went there just last week!"

"Matty!" the woman called out as she came up to the two. The boy - Matty, it seemed - jumped at the call of his name, then brightened as his mother stood by his side. "What have I told you about running off, young man?"

Matty's former ethusiasim dimmed slightly. "Sorry mama." But it could not be extinguished, as he smiled brillantly a second later and pulled on the woman's sundress. "Mama! This man built the Pry'mid! He's a builder!"

"Oh, is he?" the woman chuckled, then nodded politely to Fred while smiling. "Sorry about Matty. I can barely keep up with him any more, and if my husband wasn't around, I'd have no chance of looking after him and his sister." She held out her hand for Fred to shake. "I'm Katrina."

The woman, Fred noticed, was rather beutiful. One of those "if I was a several decades younger" types. It was tougher to tell with today's women, but Fred estimated her to be late twenties, maybe early thrities. Auburn hair that fell about her shoulders framed her face perfectly.

Ah, the ladies. Fred remembers them all so well; the way Donna Mason filled out her patriotic uniform, that sparkling green number Lynn Sidon preferred to wear into battle, and the other lovely ladies of his own era. Weren't they surprised when they found out his age!

And of course the three fine women who wore his ring at one time or another; Soon Yi, Missy, and Diane; all women of exceptional charms, even if the relationships themselves hadn't been long for this world for whatever reason. Time was that Fred Fawcett was quite the lady-killer, especially when he...it dawns on him that Katrina was looking at him with polite tolerance. Rats That sort of thing had been happening more and more lately.

"Fred Fawcett," Fred says with a smile, shaking the lady's hand. "The boy and I were just talkin' about buildin' skyscrapers, heh-heh," he adds with an old man's wheezy chuckle, his slight accent thickening a little. "I think the little girl got off that way," he adds, stretching his neck as much as his touch of the "room-a-tis" will allow, peering in that direction.

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Matty scampered off again, making a bee line for the trees where he'd seen his sister last. Apparently, his may-fly like attention span had been reached when the adults started talking. "Matty!" Katrina called out to him. "Don't you harass your sister! And stay with your father!"

She shook her head in mock exasperation. "I hope their father already scooped up Joice. So, what are you here for today? Just out enjoying the weather?" She glanced up at the overarching Centurion statue. "It takes my breath away every time I see it."

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Matty scampered off again, making a bee line for the trees where he'd seen his sister last. Apparently, his may-fly like attention span had been reached when the adults started talking. "Matty!" Katrina called out to him. "Don't you harass your sister! And stay with your father!"

She shook her head in mock exasperation. "I hope their father already scooped up Joice. So, what are you here for today? Just out enjoying the weather?" She glanced up at the overarching Centurion statue. "It takes my breath away every time I see it."

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Matty scampered off again, making a bee line for the trees where he'd seen his sister last. Apparently, his may-fly like attention span had been reached when the adults started talking. "Matty!" Katrina called out to him. "Don't you harass your sister! And stay with your father!"

She shook her head in mock exasperation. "I hope their father already scooped up Joice. So, what are you here for today? Just out enjoying the weather?" She glanced up at the overarching Centurion statue. "It takes my breath away every time I see it."

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Matty scampered off again, making a bee line for the trees where he'd seen his sister last. Apparently, his may-fly like attention span had been reached when the adults started talking. "Matty!" Katrina called out to him. "Don't you harass your sister! And stay with your father!"

She shook her head in mock exasperation. "I hope their father already scooped up Joice. So, what are you here for today? Just out enjoying the weather?" She glanced up at the overarching Centurion statue. "It takes my breath away every time I see it."

"Me too," says Fred, looking up at the statue reverently. "I was nine years old first time I heard of him, and I was watching on TV that day in '93..." He shakes his head, feeling that familiar swell in his gut. "I moved up to the city to be with mah grandkids this year, and I had to come out to pay my respects soon as I could. They don't make men like that anymore." He lets out a sigh, the closest he's going to come to strong emotions in front of a stranger. The Centurion always did move him that way.

"Good to see the boy running around like that. Kids today, they need places to run and play like this. This is a nice park; it's a good place for kids in the city. They need a touch of green, now and again."

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