My mother and I were discussing my secondary school in Sierra Leone, which was located near some forests.
"Didn't you used to have lots of snakes there?" she said.
"Yes, there were. I even saw a few on the trees."
"Weren't you scared?"
"I didn't give them much thought. After all, the snakes were going about their business and we were going about ours."
Mum shuddered and shook her head. "You sound just like my father."
"In what way?"
"I remember once someone saw a ghost and we were all screaming and shouting about it and went to papa and told him we were afraid of the ghost. Papa said, 'Did the ghost speak to you?' and we said, 'no sir.' Papa said, 'Did the ghost harm you in any way?' and we said, 'no sir.' Then papa said, 'Why are you making so much fuss then? The ghost is going about his business, why don't you just go about yours?'"
"I love it!" I laughed. "Your dad sounds like my kind of guy."
"Another time," mum continued, "a bat came into the house and was flying around. The windows were closed and it couldn't get out. We were scared and running about in the house. Papa came out of his bedroom and he was really angry. He said, 'What's the meaning of this commotion?' We said 'It's a bat, sir.' Papa said, 'What about it? Do you want to fly like the bat?' and we said, 'no, sir.' 'Then why don't you just sit still and leave the bat alone? The bat will fly through the door when it's good and ready.'"
"I reckon your dad was right, you know," I said. "You lot were going looking for trouble and making a huge fuss over nothing."
"If we ever wanted sympathy from papa, we never got it as he wasn't scared of anything," mum said. "Even after he went blind, he used to walk about late at night and would come home around 2 am. How he managed to walk around unaided was a mystery to us."
"Did you go to your mum then for sympathy?" I said.
"Yes," mum smiled, "mama gave us lots of sympathy."
"That's alright then."
From what I've heard about my maternal grandfather, I'm a chip off the old block. My grandfather used Truth to cut the crap, so do I. Both of us have great faith in God. Where there is only God, there is no room for anything else. I can see now why people used to go to him for prayers.
It's a shame I never got to meet my grandfather in person. At least I know we are one in spirit.
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