Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Daddy's birthday. Had he been still alive, he would have been 70 today. He died 9 years ago at the ripe age of 61 in his prime. His heart gave way cos of the 'weight of evidence' against him. People say it was because he ate too much dog meat but that's their business cos I don't think so!!!

My Daddy was a caring, fun loving man, charismatic and enigmatic just like my younger sis (who I have just discovered has a blog also. The first time I read that blog, I suspected the owner of the blog did funny and incorrigible things only she (my sis) could achieve but she refused to admit it was her blog until the cat has finally been let out of the bag. Maybe I'll reveal who she is in my next post this one is not about her) 

Back to my Dad now - He loved to party and relished any excuse to cook loads n loads of food, gather people around him and throw a party. I loved the parties but not the aftermath cos it meant that we kids in the house had to wake up early and see to all the dirty gigantic pots used in cooking, the dirty plates as well as the dirty drinking glasses and cutlery. I remember 1997. That was a year of parties, parties and parties galore - First of all, there was his "swearing in" in january, some of his colleagues came visiting calabar to open "XXX" and he threw a lavish party at his country home to welcome them, then after that was his 60th birthday celebrations - his birthday parties are a must and he has them every year, then after that were the easter celebrations, then after that he celebrated 21 years on the "higher echelon" of his chosen profession, and then he died two weeks after turning 61.

Our mum died in 1995 - 3 years before him and we couldnt imagine life with him as the sole parent. We loved him but he was a disciplinarian and would not spare fools gladly. The rod was used liberally if we did wrong. Thankfully he spared the rod as each and every one of us - his kids entered secondary school. But he had other ways of keeping us in check without using his rod. I remember my younger sis (madam blogger) used to be known and referred to as 'prison woman' in our house. This was cos she wouldnt cry when she was flogged for wrong doing and so dad resorted to locking her up in solitary confinement in the study/library while he had his siesta as her punishment.

I remember once when mom was preparing lunch and all of a sudden, she scooped out some into a different pot and embellished the contents of the pot with more mede medes. We asked her who the food in the smaller pot was for and she replied: "This one is for the General and that one (bigger pot with lesser orishi rishi) is for civilians" and the name stuck. Every other person in the house became a bloody civilian with dad being the General.

I remember the fun rides we used to have on saturdays when he would drive me, my sisters and kid brother around town in his car. Sometimes we would even go to 404 joints, buy some and go straight home to tuck in. I remember when we were kids and his friends used to come over every saturday to partake of lunch which consisted of delicious 404 prepared by our mom. He was so notorious for eating 404 that some of his friends in his later years would bring huge pots of 404 when coming for his parties and everyone would tuck in and banter over it.

I remember the evenings on the balcony with him, chatting and enjoying the evening breeze. His siesta was always straight after lunch at 3 - 3.30pm and we civilians were free to go where we liked (unofficially of course) and sneak back home before the stroke of 6pm when he would be awake and back on his balcony. We werent allowed to go anywhere without his strict permission.

I remember the plethora of friends that used to hang around him and come visiting every evening from 6pm. He loved having people around him.

I remember him being reverred in his chosen field and profession. He always did have an imposing stature - which only clothes from High and Mighty could fill cos he was both 'high' and 'mighty' also, which made him both loved and feared.

I remember the hugs and kisses we used to share. I remember going to hug him and on several occassions he would pull my bra strap on my back and let it go with a loud noise, more like a 'snap' and a 'plonk' and I would squeal: "Daddy!" He was that naughty. I remember aiming to kiss his cheek on several occassions and he would turn his head at the very last minute and the kiss would land on his lips. He was that mischievious.

I remember going on errands for you daddy - it was tiring climbing up and down the staircase several times every evening but I still loved it. Hearing you shout our names, and we would yell - "Yes Daddy" in response, preparing ur breakfast, helping out with ur clothes, putting out your shoes, tying and untying ur shoe laces. Serving your friends when they came around.

I remember all of us at home scampering to the door on your return from work to say hello to you or scampering and tidying the house cos your car was at the gate.

I rememember the christmas, new year and easter celebrations when you took us all around Calabar in ur car to see the various masquerades and parades about town.

I remember you being a strict disciplinarian admonishing us when we went wrong and telling us you were once a help and know what it is like to live in another person's house and on no circumstances were we to treat the help badly or without respect or inhumanely or we would answer to you.

I remember slapping one house help on one occassion and my punishment was that you wouldnt speak to me for over one week and glared at me each time I spoke to you or was in ur prescence. Boy, Was I glad when I finally reentered your good books.

I remember the plethora of ladies that flocked around you when you became eligible once again after mommy's death and you asking me which one you should marry in the presence of one of them and me replying untactfully "They are too many ladies or something like that. " Thinking back now, if looks could kill, I'm sure that lady must have felt bad and fuming inside though she was all smiles in front of you.

I'm glad you told all of them you werent interested in marrying again and that you wanted to concentrate and bring up your kids and not subject us - Thank God to the wicked step mother experience which you had.

I remember you allowing me to drive my mommy's car after she died and telling me it was all mine now. I remember that day in school my heart started beating very fast during lectures but I didnt know it was a sign or why my heart was beating so fast. I remember going to visit a friend after school that day and on the way back home the driver and the PA seeing me in town and picking me up after I flagged down the car and taking me back home. I remember them being unusually quiet in the car on the drive back home and answering my questions in monosyllables until I let them be.

I remember entering the house and sitting in the dinning room to chat with the people I met there. Everyone seemed unusually quiet and unwilling to talk. I remember your friend coming downstairs and taking me upstairs to break the news that your heart had given way and you had died on your bed while waiting for lunch to be prepared after coming back from work that day. I remember breaking down into tears refusing to allow your body to be taken for an embalment believing God for a miracle and you would be revived and all would be well. Life without you was unthinkable as you were the only parent we had left.

I remember the tears and the confusion about us all being made orphans at such tender ages. I remember asking myself how we were ever going to survive in this cruel world without you. I remember the furore after your death, during the burial preparations and after your burial. I remember us kids being left all alone and everyone in town seeing us as 'rich kids' with mighty inheritances but we weren't really cos we were scrimping and struggling to survive and cope in the initial teething period after your death.

We all love you daddy and wish we had told you this over and over again while you were alive but we didn't know you were going to be plucked away so soon. We miss you terribly. You advice, your imposing stature and personality towering over us and protecting us from all ilk. Above all, we miss your loving arms around us.

H A P P Y  B I R T H D A Y  D A D D Y!!!

38 comments:

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your dad in absentia. Love the fact that he enjoyed his life.

    I still remember my pop's bday every year too.

    So who is this blogger that is your sis? abeg spill the beans jare!

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  2. Beautiful! Beautiful!! Beautiful Tribute!!!!

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  3. 3 hearty cheers !! You're celebrating his life which he obviously lived to the full.

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  4. oh my gosh.. CalabarGal this was the most beautiful thing I've read in a while... he's smiling down on you right now... cos you're a beautiful person inside and out.. and i'm sure your sister is too.. God bless you angel and Happy birthday you daddy CalabarGal... thanks for raising such a beautiful daughter... we love her and you for it!

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  5. Calabar girl, you've made me cry. I have cried for you and your loss. This was very nice, I am very sure your Dad is looking down and smiling. Happy birthday to him.
    Take care girl.

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  6. It's nice to see that other people commemorate their departed loved ones. Somebody told me that I would be morbid if I did that all of the time, but I don't care. And I am glad to see that you have posted this for your Dad's day.

    What a nice way to remember him.

    Our angels watch over us each and every day.

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  7. That was a beautiful tribute to your dad. I'm sure that he is proud of all your accomplishments and is smiling down on you right now.

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  8. Happy birthday to your dad posthumously. Today is my birthday too coincidentally.

    Funny enough, I have always loved Calabar and all the funny(to me) street names. Marian circle and co. I will definitely be visiting there when I get home

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  9. How sweet... happy Birthday to your dad... I'm sure he's smiling down at you from where he is.... and he is warm all over!!! God bless you dear...

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  10. I am so sorry for your loss! He was a great Dad and must be so proud of you all! Losing someone you love is devastating but remembering them in this way means they are never forgotten.

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  11. I'm crying! Lovely post. I'm sure he'll have a lovely birthday. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  12. If it is true that relatives look down on us, then your father is the proudest cat in heaven. I can picture him walking around in his High and Mighty robes with a printout of your post boasting about what his daughter did for him. Beautiful, just Beautiful.

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  13. Wonderful post; fond memeories that's what we have left for loved ones dead and gone. Happy 70th to your late dad - he must be grinning from ear to ear somewhere above and beyond. AAAAH!

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  14. your father must have been a great man to have raised a woman like yourself and ur sis.i know his soul is resting in peace so there's no need to say that.do take care babe

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  15. I can see the beautiful smile on your papa's face as you write this peace from your heart...

    Nice one

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  16. Inspiring rendition, straight from da heart.

    Happy Birthday to ya dad, calabar gal

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  17. Hi Calabar girl,
    You've really touched my heart with your memories of your dear dad! Yeah....our parents always hold a special place in our hearts and they mean the world, and I can truly understand the emptiness u feel in their absence! However,always remember that your dad and mom is always with you.Please do find time to visit my site for some great ecards for moms and dads' birthdays.

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  18. I managed to not shed a tear...That was neat! And I'll try to love mine while I still have them...though it can be hard sometimes.

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  19. I could hardly read this post, cus it reminds me so much of loosing my own dad.I am sure he is really proud of you guys. well done! and happy birthday cg's daddy!

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  20. that was sweet!
    hapy birthday to your dad..

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  21. Such a beautiful tribute....

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  22. Happy birthday to your dad! Your dad was such a wonderful man n he raised a wonderful daughter too, great tribute girl!

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  23. Beautiful, sweet and touching. In heaven your parents will be proud to have had a daughter like you. God bless you always…

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  24. Oh, now you gat me crying! I'm so sorry for your loss, Gal. But I'm glad you loved your dad and you're celebrating his life today.

    *sobs, sobs*

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  25. @Babsbeta: Who is my blogger sis huh? To be revealed soon or maybe she'll spill the beans herself...

    @LB, Boso, OWNB, Nyemoni, Omara: Thanks. He was my favourite person.

    @Waffarian & Omosewa: You are both crying? LOL!! I must confess I had some tears falling dowm my cheeks as I composed the post. Couldnt help laughing at myself.

    @Masgblog & Billiepaige: Thanks Ladies.

    @Lala: Happy Birthday in arrears to you!!

    @Snazzy: Walking about with a printout of my post ke? LOL!! Thanks Snazzy but ur imagination is a little bit too far. LOL!!

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  26. @Anonymous: Very fond memories of him indeed.

    @Linda, Unnaked Soul & Ugo, Chioma, Jadedkiss, Uzo, biodun, ababoypart2: Thanks Guys.

    @Linda:Doing serious mouth to mouth abi blog to blog advertising huh? (smile) OK. I dey come.

    @Yosh: Love them while they'll still around. Thats always the best tonic.

    @Vera: You're crying too?!!?!?! LOL!!!

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  27. this post gave me goosebumps. Happy bday to ure dad and may both ure mom and dad continue to rest in peace together.

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  28. Happy birthday to u're dad too girly.He sounds like he was such a fun Man.

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  29. What a thoughtful and well written tribute!! God shall fulfil the number of your days on earth. Amen!

    - omoluwabi

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  30. I am so close to my dad that this post ripped at my heartstrings!!!

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  31. wow brought a tear to my eye, great tribute tho!

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  32. Beautiful tribute to an obviously loved and missed father.Just stumbled on your blog ,quite stunned .Change some dates (mum1990, Dad 2000)minus the 404 you could have been writing about me and my dad.
    Cheers
    Archibong

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  33. I walked down your memory lane with you as you remembered your dad. Thank you for posting your remembrances. I too lost a parent much before her time... My Mom died at 69, 4 years ago this year. Her birthday was April 19. She was everything to me - she gave me so much and blessed so many. I still am lucky to have my father alive - although we are not close like my mother. Cheers - you have some wonderful memories.

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  34. Came across this post and it left tears in my eyes!u must have been thru so much loosing ur parents..but u have definently kept their memories alive..God bless you

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  35. Simply amazing, continue his legacy...u owe him that.

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  36. Hello, I think you should consider submitting this piece to the Nigerian bloggers book, not just because i like it but because its really good

    http://laspapi.blogspot.com/2007/05/naija-bloggers-book-this-is-call-to-all.html

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  37. @anonymous: Will give it some consideration. Thanks.

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Disclaimer: All comments and opinions put down in the comment section of this blog are the opinions and comments of the authors/comment writers alone. For the avoidance of doubt, the comments in the comment section below do not represent the opinion of Calabar Gal.