I have never been so close to my old man. A few years back it was even worse because he was a lion, and I was an antelope, something that made our relationship full of tension. I was paranoid about men at that age, and whenever I watched American movies I got myself wondering why me, like why the same couldn’t be the case over here. I mean those dudes love their kids, they even crack jokes, have fun, chat, play together, hug and even declare openly how they love their kids, a thing that never happened between me and my dad.
If anything was to happen, the least could be sitting across the table and having a manly chat with my pap. And this could only happen as from my sophomore year in high school when I had grown some manly balls to face him. Before that, I was still in the antelope phase. I call our relationship complicated, because he used to flog me every week.
I know you must think I must have been so notorious to deserve the beating so often. Well, I used to be a thief. I could steal everything that my eyes set on. I had those genes… sticky fingers. I was obsessed with stealing everything, except people and livestock.
I remember once I was declared an enemy of the village. My dad could not trust me with even a key to my own room. Not even his radio because I could knock down the bolts and open it to look for the Dombolo singers.
Sunday happened to be father’s day, one which we should show appreciation to our dads for the good things they have done or they keep doing for us. It is a day to tell your dad that you actually are proud of him, and that you really love him. No faking it.
As for me it was a different case. Mzae ni mkoloni. Those men who do not believe in petty things, because they do not even know such days exist. Calling to wish him a happy father’s day might as well turn out to be an ugly scene. He will think you are mad. And that will disturb him for the rest of his life- did I bring my boy up to be such a madman? What is this that he is telling me, honestly? He will even call you home; bring some pastors and church elders with him to exorcise the demons in you.
In his life, he knows just a few public holidays. He knows of Christmas, happy New Year and a few other local national holidays. Apart from that, all days are normal. He doesn’t like things that can unsettle his life. At 68 all this man needs is to tend to his business with little surprises because that might rid him heart attacks.
My old man is a legend. He is legendary to me. To others he might still be the vicious lion he used to be because he used to beat the hell out of my cousins when they were young. He whipped us as if we were his ugly neighbours’ kids who could upset his fancy life. I personally resented him. I have indelible marks that developed from the beating.
Well, he is in his late 60s. Nothing much can come from such a folk, many will say. But I am glad he is still on his feet, looking like he just turned 45. He is a farmer now, carrying out his activities back in the countryside, minding his business. One thing that has refused to leave him is his rich sense of humor and laughter. He is a complete chatterbox, something I think some of my siblings inherited. He is got a new wife to be by his side. He looks happy with how things are going. He dresses better now, he smiles better and the mess around him is a bit sorted. Thanks to the gods and ancestors that sent the woman. Everything is having a king Midas touch.
Today, I am a grown up ass man. When I look back, I picture my old man in the equation. He might not have the best but he gave out himself to transform me from a young thief to a respectable young man in society. I recall of his scolding whenever I failed in my end year exams- obokima bwoka moranyare kwembora– you can only manage to eat my food, nothing else.
I mean it was like a stab on my chest,
I cannot call myself a complete man today; that will be an insult to my old man. I am a shadow who cannot fit into his big man’s boots. I am proud of him. He is so many things to me. If he looks up to me and sees something different from him, then it’s an additional virtue. He raised a man. I draw my strength from his affinity for things going right, truthfulness and honesty.
As I have told you before, he originates from a long pedigree of men who used to work hard for their fortune. I can gaily admit that that spirit is inculcated in my blood. I have learnt to strive for excellence using all the right methodology. No shortcuts.
Today I want to say I am appreciating my old man for being a great hero for me. He is the greatest of all men. I wish you more happy years dad!
-Photo Credit: desiretree