I went visiting a friend today. He had been insisting i came over to “say hello” for such a long time so i thought today would be better. I had run out of excuses. The minute i stepped in the house i knew exactly why he wanted me over. He just got a 32-inch flat screen tv. It was hanging on the wall and my friend was already beside it as if to say taadaa! though he wasn’t looking my way. He kept welcoming me in and went on and on about how it’s been a while I have been there and how alot has happened since I was away.
And trust me, I had coded from the door what was up so I wore my game face. To him i was yet to notice the tv. I spun around to survey the rest of the room when my eye caught this.
A beautiful picture of Thanksgiving hanging on the wall. Everyone seated and excited round the table. Uncle Bill, Susanna and little Victoria amongst the other anxious diners. Don’t ask me how I know their names.
I moved over to take a good look, amazing attention to detail. It was almost like a photograph. The lines on their faces, their hair, eyes, all perfectly drawn. But then I noticed something. No one helped mother set the turkey on the table, ah! not even father who stood right beside her. So with all the big big agbaya (big for nothing) people seated round the table no one had respect enough to help mother out with this task? I made this observation known to my host and after he had laughed to his satisfaction–which puzzled me–he said, “its the tradition, mother is the one to carry the turkey onto the table.” which kain tradition?! Try it in Nigeria and your mother will describe the ordeal she went through from conception through the nine months, on to few hours to delivery, the delivery, and the few years after. She would describe this for everybody seated on that table that she birthed. And after that she would make sure that no one would eat of the turkey asides herself and the older people around her. Punishment for disrespect.
“Where did you hear its a tradition?” I asked. “i see it on tv,” he said. “Come sit let me serve you drink”, malt, right?”. But i knew where this was going, in order for me to see the tv i had to face it, and if i sit i would be facing it. So i stared at the picture some more.
It definitely pissed of my friend that this picture caught my attention more than the tv but an old woman carrying such a huge load of meat will attract attention any day, right?