The greatest man I ever knew
Lived at 414 Richmond Avenue.
LaGrange Park, IL was the town
Where this man so world renown
In the beautiful ballroom would entertain
When he wasn’t driving the Sante Fe Train.
He would play the guitar and he would sing.
When he tickled the ivories, he made them ring.
Friends and family would gather around
Just so they could hear the sound
Of the piano playing and the songs he sung.
I’d sit right by him, I was so young.
I was amazed and perhaps in awe
Of this great man, Harry Roland, my grandpa.
Sometimes he’d do little magic tricks,
I’d watch real close because he was quick.
Then I’d look at him and say
“Grandpa, how’d you do that anyway?”
And, of course, he wouldn’t tell,
Not wanting to break his magic spell.
He loved entertaining everyone.
He was so cool and so much fun.
I remember we went for ice cream one day,
We stopped at the bank along the way.
The teller said she’d like one too,
So he dropped her ice cream at the drive thru.
I guess, at heart, he was a big kid
Who enjoyed life and all he did.
But grandpa was also very wise.
I could always go to him for advice.
He lived life to the fullest, right up to the end.
He was my hero, confidant, friend.
Then one day my grandpa was gone.
He’d played his last tune, sung his last song.
He was very unique in his own way
And I love and miss him still to this day.
I carry his memory deep in my heart,
So we’ll never be truly apart.
And if I close my eyes I can see
Grandpa at the piano, singing to me.
Written by Taffy OKelly 5-17-1999