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Posts Tagged ‘grandparents’

Fried Italian eggplant from my garden with no pesticides, no refrigeration, no shelf time went right on my plate last night.  It was the first fruit of my minimal labor. All I did was plant a few veggies among the flowers and water. I have never had such lucious eggplant in my life. There was no bitter taste, just fresh, fresh, fresh and perfect. Next year I will definitely buy more of these.

P1050922A second eggplant is ripening  and that one is special. It is for myeight-year-old  granddaughter Hannah, a PKU kid. Kids with PKU can eat few of the things the rest of us do, and get most of their nutrition from a formula. One particular amino acid, phenylalanine,  is responsible for the restrictions.  So all proteins are avoided. Hannah can eat eggplant and it is her favorite veggie, so this next one is for her. She likes to make her own recipe of eggplant parmesan.  I know it will be her best one yet.

I never imagined myself giving grandchildren gifts from my garden as my father did, but here I am, and it’s pretty darn wonderful. Especially for a reward like Hannah’s smile (below).P1050851

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I hope Jerry and I are good grandparents. It surely didn’t start out that way. stjohns3-2-8-032-1.jpgThe first time her parents trusted us alone with our year-old granddaughter we took her to Birds of Prey. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Audubon Birds of Prey in Maitland, FL rescues injured birds and releases them back into the wild when possible.

Haley smiled at the white-faced, barn owl as we entered. That may have been her last smile. We pushed the stroller to the bald eagle cage. There poor, injured, no-longer-majestic eagles loped around an enclosure, some dragging a wing. Haley’s face began to screw into a tortured mask. We quickly turned the stroller toward the cage behind her. On every crooked limb sat an injured vulture. Their bald, blood-red heads popped from fluffy white feathers above their scruffy black bodies. Wings drooped on some, claws or feet were missing on others. The scene we had always looked on with pity we now saw with a toddler’s eyes. Before Haley lay a Tim Burton horror scene of deformed, hissing, grunting vultures. She screamed to the top of her lungs. We calmed her down and cut our trip short, feeling like failures as grandparents. We thought we would be better at it.

Haley is ten years old now and thankfully doesn’t remember our first little foray. Perhaps it had no lasting impact on her little psyche. When we are out in nature now my camera cannot rest in my lap. She shouts incessantly “Ahmaw, take a picture! An anhinga! A gator! An eagle! An osprey!” Is it just possible that we didn’t scar her permanently?

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