Casey Ann Iles, a 7th-grader from Farmington Hills, was the overall winner in this year's AARP Michigan "Why I Love My Grandparents" Essay Contest, which drew more than 200 entries. She read her essay at the Grandparents Day celebration at Charles Wright Museum in Detroit earlier this month.
Following is Casey's essay, which is titled "Rainbows":
Why do I love my grandparents so much? Well, I love my grandparents because they are the people who built a rainbow in my heart. Now you're probably asking, "How can grandparents build a rainbow, let alone in my heart?" My grandparents make me feel extra special because of how they act around me and show me by the things they make for me.
My grandpa is magical in many ways. Not only can he build a rainbow, but he can also pull a quarter out of my ear! My grandma is talented in many ways, for instance, she makes me feel special with her smile and hugs. She makes the best pies in the whole world, too. I can only hope to be as special and talented as my grandparents when I am a grandma.
Grandpa is a craftsman, making things out of wood. He made me a wagon, lemonade stand and a house. The house isn't just a regular house, it is a Victorian haunted doll house that we set up at Halloween. What makes these things special is that he put many hours, talent, imagination and hard work into the projects. He made them just for me! I will treasure these gifts he made with his hands because they are great works of art. As I get older, these items mean more to me.
Grandma is a great baker and she makes very tasty pies. She makes cherry, apple, blueberry... you name it! She always comes to the house with a pie or dessert to share with my family. Grandma likes to draw and scrapbook photographs of the family.
My grandparents are special and talented and that is why I love them so very much. They share with me their smiles, hugs, stories, talks, answers and talents. They are perfect grandparents! And perfect for me!
My grandparents are not only extremely talented, but together they have the ability to build a rainbow, a great big bright rainbow. At the beginning, when the colors shine brightly, that means they are in my presence and their eyes and smiles meet mine. When the rainbow starts to peek high into the sky, they reach out to their loved ones and comfort everyone around them. And when the rainbow slopes downward, I know there is the greatest gift a granddaughter could receive at the bottom.
The gift at the end of the rainbow is not a pot a gold, but beautiful memories of them dancing in my heart and mind. Those memories are good, warm feelings that will be there for me to cherish and pass onto my kids and grandkids. I would like to share with the world, and in my grandparents' memory, to always look for that bright colorful rainbow in everyone you meet. Find each person's rainbow inside of them and treasure the bright colors that make everyone special in their own way. Today, my rainbow is growing, getting taller, wider, bigger and brighter every single day.
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