The Girls
The Boys

I just got back from walking four of our grandchildren to a store that’s a reasonable walking distance away.   The two older children (8 and almost 7) were very helpful with the two younger ones (16 months and 6 months).

I’m concerned that our walking might cause an accident.  Many drivers look our way while continuing to drive at excessive speed (vision is impaired when speeding!).  I think they are shocked to see an “old man” with four young children, all behaving well and all enjoying time together.  People comment on how they never see that.  Some ask if I’m crazy, others think I must be very brave!

Even in the store, a few people stopped me.  These were complete strangers.  Some were senior citizens lamenting the fact that they either have no grandchildren or that their grandkids live a great distance away.

When I tell them we have four more in Indianapolis and that we go down there as often as possible, they look at me as if we must be crazy — “so you take a break from four grandchildren to go visit four more?!!!!  Are you nuts or what?”

Actually, we just returned from a visit to the other four (and parents makes six), seeing the twins for the first time in almost two months.  They are now nine months old and are growing beautifully in every way – size, weight, personality, mobility, things they can do for themselves.  Although born only a minute apart, they are developing their own unique individual characteristics.  One was crawling, the other wasn’t.  One is kind of grouchy in the morning whereas the other isn’t (they take after different parents!).  One doesn’t hesitate at being embraced by a stranger – the other is always more cautious.

It helps you to realize that every child is different and must be worked with accordingly.

On Father’s Day I was given a t-shirt with a picture of all eight grandchildren on the front.  It’s already a prized possession I can take with me anywhere.  I’ve joked about how there’s no room for any more grandchildren – but, of course, there always is.

If we eventually have sixteen, I will just have to eat more donuts and get a bigger t-shirt!

Talking of donuts, the girls asked me for one each this morning while we were at the store.  To be totally honest, I stopped eating them some time ago, so I did not buy myself one.  But I bought one for each of the girls, who then took the opportunity to introduce their cousin Aubren to the unhealthy food item.  He loved it and ended up with a face full of chocolate.  I thought it best to take him to the bathroom and clean him up before returning home, thereby destroying the evidence, so to speak.

However, it didn’t work.  Mom knew as soon as we got home as his t-shirt had changed color!  Busted.

Now, having confessed to a donut incident, I should add that everything else we bought was fruit; good healthy fruit.  We also bought some plantain bananas, which were reduced to half price.  I cleaned out the store as this is one of our favorite items.

As soon as the plantains start turning black, stores in the US reduce the sale price to get rid of them as soon as possible.  This is crazy!  In Ghana they wait until they are black before frying them as part of one of their favorite national dishes – Red Red, fried plantain bananas with beans and fish.  My mouth is watering just thinking of it.

The girls were helpful as always and the walk enabled us to talk and share, drawing us closer together as a family.  One of them asked if I could take all eight of them out for a walk with their Indy cousins visit.  Then I really would be crazy!

I do love these walks with them!


    1. From the wife: Wait until they are black and even fuzzy. Peel and slice diagonally (not just the kind of slices you do for a banana on your cereal). Some pieces might be mushy but soldier on. Put pieces to soak in salt water (just enough to cover them). Drain them, then fry them in any oil but the best oils are coconut (the kind that tastes like coconut) or palm oil. But in a pinch, they are still good fried in any oil. But DEEP fry them, like don’t be afraid to use oil. They are yummy!

      1. Ah, never been able to duplicate it to any satisfaction over here. It’s basically tomatoes, sardines, palm oil, and beans akin to aduki beans but a tad bigger. -Di

  1. When people see children behaving – or four children behaving, people admire the parents or grandparents. Your story made me think about my behaviour and how I want it be such that people admire my Father.
    As always Melvin, I do appreciate your blog.

  2. Fried plantain and red red! I will forever be indebted to you Melvin for introducing me to such exquisite food on our trip to Ghana. I tried to replicate it a few times when I got home, the first time I used ingredients Henry’s wife gave me before leaving Ghana. Like you and Di I never could completely hit the nail on the head with it but nevertheless I did bring the taste of Ghana to my home! I also loved groundnut soup. Goat soup I wasn’t so keen on but always worth experiencing new foods! It was great to eat red red when we visited you 2 summers ago (yes TWO)!

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