So, in the spirit of #ThrowbackThursdays, I decided to go back in time to some of my best memories growing up.
I grew up in J-town. That’s a fancy, ‘hip’ name for Jos. I don’t understand why there’s a hip name for every city; Lasgidi for Lagos, Croc City for Kaduna, A-BeeJay for Abuja, Eye-Bee for Ibadan, Pee-Haich or Pitakwa for Port Harcourt…lol. Like your cities are that ‘hip’ in real life. Shior!
(Please don’t come at me, my hair strand is paining me)
Anyway, growing up in Jos was a lot of fun. The cold, the harmattan that whitened your hair and turned your skin to sand paper, the funny names of places, the birthday parties that featured the exact same dance steps, and the cows that occasionally came to your neighbourhood in drones.
In no particular order, here are five of my favorite childhood memories. Note that by ‘favorite’, it doesn’t necessarily mean I enjoyed them at the time. However, in retrospect, I am grateful for them, because they seemed to make this highly regimented life of mine a lot more interesting.
1. The day I was pursued by a ram.
If you have been my Facebook friend for over a year, this account shouldn’t be new to you.
It so happened that my mother traveled for a surgery for a couple of days. At this time, we lived in the staff quarters of a military school, because my mum was a teacher. Upon her return, we were all so happy; journey was safe, surgery was successful. She had left her luggage at the school gate, which was quite a distance. My sister and her friend had immediately set out to get the luggage, but because I was too excited, I wanted to go with them. I ran in, grabbed on my favorite red skirt and began to run after them.
There was a short cut through the school field they had passed. I didn’t realise this, so I followed the main road.
You know how the bible says wide is the road that leads to hell abi? It wasn’t lying.
I was past the central bore hole and close to the field when I saw them, about to burst into the field too through the narrow short cut. They had stopped; a local dude was ‘walking’ his huge Sallah ram, and they were being terrorized by it, so they paused for the dude and his ram to carry their wahala and go. But as an Ife Snow that I was, I knew nothing. I called out to them in the distance, even waved and jumped, and it was then the ram saw me.
There is a myth about rams and red, how they are parallel lines and live at extreme ends of the city. Maybe it was the red skirt that summoned the ram, maybe it was the audacity to scream and disturb its ‘Ram-a-dan’ meditation that irritated it, or maybe dear ol’ Ram knew he was going down for Sallah and wanted to take me down with it, I am not so sure. Next thing I knew, Ram had disentangled from the grip of the Hausa dude and was hot on my heels. My brain didn’t quickly boot. What the hell was going on?
By the time I realised, it was close. I ran for my life, but you know how short your legs can be when you are six. It almost had me. I ran round the commandant’s house like three times, screaming, wailing, begging the angels of heaven to descend and take me away. I caught a glimpse of the lean crowd at the borehole, laughing hard as they watched the show. After circling the house with no rescue coming, I began running back to the field, and then I fell.
This was it. This was the face of death. Hello, there, gates of heaven! Be ye open, that your pikin may run into thee!
I was so lucky, really, because it was right there and then, as the ram charged at my fallen frame, that the Hausa dude caught the ram by the horns with all his power and might, and dragged it away forcefully.
And you know the painful part? My folks at the other end of the field were laughing. Ha! It has taken a while, but I have finally let it go. I am a forgiving person.
Sometimes, when I absolutely hate my life, this incident quickly reminds me that it must have been worth something for God to have saved it. I’ll never forget.
2. The day I fried custard.
So we had this older cousin who lived with us growing up, who always always had a complaint about every one of my chores. She compared my mates to me all the time.
“See, Biodun is two years your junior, but she can already wash her cloths.”
“Ngozi cooks well now. You don’t even know what a spoon looks like.”
Of course, I became insecure. I began to wish I was Ngozi and Biodun, and I just wanted to impress everyone, show them I wasn’t as bad as they thought. So when, in Js3, my mother asked that I make custard for breakfast, I yaayed and said Okay. Fam, I had absolutely no idea how to make custard.
She was in the bathroom, so that gave me enough time to do whatever rubbish I would go on to do.
I placed a frying pan on the cooker and heated it. There was no YouTube to guide me, phones were hardly in circulation at the time, let alone phones that could browse (call me Aunty already), so it was just me and my chef chi in that kitchen, ready to cook up a storm.
It turned out to be a storm indeed. I poured some oil in the pan, stirred it with a fork, poured custard powder into it and watched my disast-ard stick to the base of the pan. I poured water, brought out a ladle and stirred, panicked, poured more water, okay, more oil, some milk, oh, sugar. It was beginning to look like the sinking Titanic, so I looked around, carried the pan, tiptoed out through the back door and went and scraped its content into a nearby bush. I returned just in time to find my mother waiting, wondering where her child had gone.
I couldn’t lie.It would not have paid me one bit. So I told the truth and expected her to either laugh or scream. She did neither. She brought out a pot, and taught me.
Believe me when I say, I have a goddess for a mother.
Okay, this post is getting too long. We’d either continue it as a #FlashbackFriday post, or a #TBT post for next week.
If you enjoyed this, drop a comment and share your own memorable childhood experiences. Also subscribe to this blog, like our page and share.