[dropcap]A[/dropcap]lways look out for three,” my grandfather would say in an almost cryptic way. “You hear me, son? You’ll find threes are everywhere in life, look for them.” Then he’d laugh, relight his pipe, and refuse to explain himself. I’d tried to decipher what in the world such a phrase meant, but I had no earthly idea.

Still, I did what he said. I paid attention to the number three wherever I looked. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but if you keep your good eye out, you’ll see threes everywhere. In football, basketball, and baseball. In pastrami sandwiches, electrical outlets, or on your TV remote.

The number three is in stories: beginnings, middles, and ends. Smeared all over religion: God, Jesus, and Billy Graham. In the Bible. Or in Baptist picnics: Bud, Miller, and Ultra.

But my grandfather wasn’t talking about those things. And I learned that on the day of his funeral.

An eldery gentleman came up to me with his hat in his hands. “Your grandfather was a good man,” he said. “We were friends. We used to have long conversations, late into the night, back during the war. He was my captain at the time, a lot older than me. Took me under his wing, saved a young dope like me from sudden death on two separate occasions.”

The man wiped something from his eye. “Your grandaddy was not the kind of fella who just looked out for number one.” Then, the man shook my hand.

His name was Ronald.

But most folks call him, Three.