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‘A time like that is for previous guards like us to get collectively and reel off dying reminiscences of these good previous days – the nice previous days at college, I imply.’ That was grandpa talking while me in addition to father and mom sat listening raptly to his chronicle of experiences.
Now gazing pensively into the space, he continued: ‘Years have passed by, taking with them, good souls. Many of my college buddies whose firm I might have in any other case been having fun with at the moment are secure on this planet past – males like Doctor Oduwole Patson-Thompson, my finest pal, at all times so compassionate and hilarious, however dutiful in relation to work. Oh life! Fades similar to a passing breath.’
Grandpa declines his head and relapses into one other spell of reflections. Raising it up as soon as extra he turned in direction of me, saying, ‘We have accomplished our half. We at the moment are handing over to you, so that you can play your individual half.’ He took a deep have a look at father and turning to me and directing my consideration to him stated, ‘You see your father?” He took one lengthy puff at his pipe and in a second his face is blurred by a thick haze of white smoke, as he continues reminiscing: ‘He has been hardworking and conscientious.
For singleness of function, I could not consider anybody to match him. That is why I believe he has risen up the rung so quick. Senior Engineer, National Electricity Corporation. So younger boy I’ll implore you to observe his footsteps intently so that you’re going to by no means go mistaken.’
My head remained bowed in humility as I maintained rapt consideration to the grey-haired however nonetheless robust man. He returned to his typical pensive reflections for some time after which resuming voicing his ideas, stated: “Our personal days had been very troublesome ones. There had been no automobiles. Barefoot, we walked lengthy distances to highschool, typically by way of stony or untarred roads.’ I opened my eyes in disbelief and in fast response, he emphasised – ‘Barefoot, I am telling you, my boy. You should thank God you might be rising up in a world the place a lot development has been taken place. You do not must undergo the difficulty we went by way of now. You will not recognize what I am saying with out having gone by way of the expertise your self.’
Grandpa at this level took a very lengthy puff at his pipe after which threw up one other cloud of whitening smoke which half coated his furrowed face. Then resuming, he went on to, ‘ I keep in mind as soon as once I needed to stroll from mid-town to Lumley, barefoot beneath the recent burning solar.
And so as to add to all of it, my head was naked having solely the day gone by been shaved proper right down to the pores and skin. I might have worn a cap, however I could not afford one. How I managed by way of that festering warmth was to generally relaxation wherever I noticed a faucet, wash my face and toes earlier than persevering with or generally strolling by way of patches of shade forged on the tarmac by tall buildings.’ Now cleansing his pipe after which refilling it, he stated a lot loudly: “Those textbooks that you just carry in your bag to highschool! Who might afford proudly owning greater than two or three of them then? If you did not hearken to what the trainer stated in school you are completed, previous boy.
Teachers had been then the be-all and end-all of every thing within the classroom. For they spoke with energy and authority while we, the helpless pupils, listened in rapt and reverent consideration each in adoration and worry of dropping the slightest particulars of what was being handed on to us. But regardless of all that, our days had been nonetheless good ones. We did our highest, though competitors was very eager. I keep in mind now eager rivalry was at all times maintained between me, Oduwole Patson-Thompson, Gerald Thompson-Smith and Clifford Mac-Lawson. We had been at all times within the 80’s. Only by fractions did we handle to outwit one another. So the primary place will at all times be rotating between the 4 of us. I keep in mind as soon as after we gave the shape trainer the uncommon alternative of sharing the primary place between me and Patson.’
Then smiling in direction of father, he stated: ‘Football was our favourite recreation. We performed it throughout the lengthy break in addition to after college. We typically performed towards different faculties. Most of the opposite gamers from different faculties had been massive, robust and tough boys. They by no means scrupled in resorting to violence within the area of play. So our workforce composed primarily of barely constructed boys did not at all times come off properly. I keep in mind as soon as when despite all of the fouls, our boys managed to beat the opposite workforce, how a lot jubilation there was.
Father stored smiling encouragingly at Grandpa as he continued his chronicle: ‘I used to be centre ahead. Our goalkeeper then was Amadu Sheriff of blessed reminiscence. He was a famend goalkeeper, with nice skills. No ball in my reminiscence handed by way of these bars. It was as if he tied a appeal to them. He thus turned popularly referred to as ‘Amadu the unwinnable’. Another one, due to the ability he had in his toes, received dubbed ‘the shooter’ He continues to be alive. I’ve forgotten his identify although and surprisingly I do not even know the place he now lives.’
‘That’s actually unlucky!’ My mom lamented, ‘How good it will have been to have had him with us at the moment.’
‘Oh sure, and he’ll make good firm as properly…’ Father butted in to enhance mom’s praise after which sensing a sound, signaled, ‘I heard the door bell ringing.’
‘I heard it myself.’ Grandpa affirmed. Mother then requested me to go and see who. With grandpa’s essential eyes fastened squarely on me, I ran to the door. As I opened it, an enormous and light-skinned man got here in.
‘Oh, good day, Lightfoot,’ father heartily hailed him on recognizing him. ‘God! You appear to be getting youthful and youthful on a regular basis. This girl should have a particular hand for you, eh, fortunate you.”
‘Oh no. Don’t pull my legs. Come on. This is nothing in comparison with yours. Seeing these muscle groups one would suppose you might be nonetheless in your teenagers once you used to wrestle. And in addition to, your ever-smiling face gives the look you have no drawback in any respect.
And how do you have to with such an exquisite spouse at all times by your facet?.’ My mom blushed after which burst into raucous laughter with all of the adults there becoming a member of in as the brand new entrant kissed her on the hand. Father then launched him to us as Dick Lefevre, an old-fashioned pal. ‘We had been all within the graduating class of 1970.’
‘Pleased to fulfill you, previous boy,’ Grandpa greeted him with a hand outstretched to him. ‘You’ve are available at an excellent time to share with us greetings and sentiments for a contented anniversary. Take a seat then and really feel as a lot at house as you could possibly.’
‘It is certainly a uncommon alternative for us to reunite at such a time as this after we are celebrating our faculty’s centenary anniversary. I am certain this could deliver a lot inspiration to our younger pal right here and spur him to go for no different college than ours.’ Whilst saying that Dick stored patting me fondly on the nape of my neck and continued, ‘How might he do in any other case? It’s solely pure for one to go for the perfect which is not any apart from what we take into account so.’
‘Well, as a matter of reality he has already began going there.’
‘What! That’s rattling good of you, my younger boy,’ Dick stated, giving me a a lot hotter pat on the again this time. ‘ So you might be quietly nurturing a brand new inventory of Kingwaleans right here, excluding the girl, in fact.’
‘Oh she? She did sixth kind there, .’
‘Well I simply have now to doff my hat to you individuals. You have certainly accomplished the circle and subsequently you might be by way of and thru of the noble inventory. And certainly you will have all due rights to have the best half within the celebrations.’
‘Don’t you say it , we’re atready properly ready. The home is properly -stocked, to begin with. So let’s not be bothered about another factor. Let’s simply cool down right here and have a rollicking good time. collectively.’
‘Oh how considerate of you individuals. I am greater than happy.’ Dick appeared visibly enthused as Daddy went and introduced out a tray of drinks which mummy proceeded to serve. After everybody had been served father began reminiscing, ‘I keep in mind years in the past after we had been nonetheless at college’, he stole a mischievous have a look at granddad and with a beam-lit face, continued, ‘Indeed, these had been days.
How might they be in any other case with males like Tuboku-Betts and Taylor Davis round? They had been by no means in need of jokes to entertain us in school. I keep in mind the incident between Tuboku and Pa Daba. That was after we had been in Form four in direction of the top of 1968, I believe.’
‘Oh Pa Daba!’ father’s pal exclaimed.’ He was a rattling bloody tyrant. So I felt extraordinarily good the day when Tuboku checked him up. I could not keep in mind what precisely he had accomplished. But what I might recall is Pa Daba heaping strings of invectives at him. Then Pa Daba moved up onto his dad and mom and there it turned an excessive amount of for Tuboku to abdomen. He couldn’t take it mendacity down anymore.
So he rose as much as his full peak and gruffly stated. ‘Look sir, I am not going to take that from you, you perceive?’ Pa Daba was shocked. He stood for some minutes dumbfounded and unable to utter another phrase. Then he summoned his full authority as a trainer and demanded, ‘Who do you suppose you might be speaking to love that? Perhaps that is the best way you have been used to speaking to your father. But I’m going to show you at the moment learn how to discuss to elders in case your dad and mom by no means did.
Before Tuboku might notice it Pa Daba had fallen like a wounded hyena on him flogging him wherever he might attain together with his face. Tuboku fought laborious to repel the strokes. He then seized the cane and ran away with it, swearing and cursing. Pa Daba crestfallen, retired instantly from the now rowdy class. He by no means recovered from that blow to his ego.’
‘By the best way might somebody inform me the place Tuboku and Taylor are? It reallyhas been fairly a very long time since I final noticed them.’
‘Tuboku is working within the mines in Liberia. Taylor, I heard, is lecturing at a University within the U.S.’
‘Oh that is so great to listen to.’
‘Everyone in that class is proudly holding his personal on this extremely aggressive world. Even Abidor who was at all times clowning in school and thus turning into the goal for the trainer’s fixed curse: “You’d never come to any good! You’d never do well! You’d never come out well, you mark well my words.” is now a affluent businessman in Nigeria. He was at all times first from the rear of the category, scoring remarkably low marks like 10% und 15% I can by no means keep in mind any time he ever scored above 20%.
But what would infuriate the lecturers essentially the most was that he was at all times preoccupied in taunting the youthful, smaller and extra good boys who had been those actively collaborating in school.’ He paused for some time, took a gulp at his beer and gulping it down, continued: ‘When final did you go to the varsity Dick? As for me, it has taken years. I am sure to have many difficulties discovering my approach round and in even recognizing it.’
‘No doubt! The college isn’t in the identical form because it was after we had been there. It has gone by way of many modifications. Tomorrow we’re to attend the prize-giving ceremony. So I hope we’ll meet there.’
As the night was being spent away, the boys who had drunk a number of glasses of alcohol had been getting hilarious and had been already pitching various melodies in songs of reward. It was an all-out pleasure which solely ebbed as Grandpa and mom had been retiring to mattress for the evening. Somehow I used to be capable of stay lounging round and having fun with the enjoyable.
As I noticed them gulping increasingly more of it, I felt tempted to steal up and get a gulp myself. How a lot I envied them, I have to confess.
The centenary celebrations of a terrific college like ourss is not at all a small affair and when it occurs to be of 1 to which so many nice males within the land owe a lot of their life and profession, one might then think about how vital it might be. I’m certainly fortunate to have been enrolled at such an auspicious time. So I used to be crammed with a lot eagerness to take part in each single a part of this system.
Although Daddy had purchased me a brand new pair of footwear, I briskly brushed all my footwear effecting from every an excellent shiny shine. Mother had had me sewn a brand new swimsuit. This had been pressed the day gone by and with my shirt and tie trying very straight, held on a hanger within the wardrobe.
As the time drew nearer, my nervousness mounted additional as much as feverish heights. I could not even sleep that evening. Imaginations of how grandiose the beginning of the celebrations could be like stored me awake. The elaborate preparations seen to this point offers me a lot assurance it was going to be a really massive and spectacular present.
What with the President himself slated to attend and open the celebrations. What additionally with the hearth crackers, college bands parade, march previous spherical town and enjoyable fare as facet sights?
So with nice pleasure, the subsequent day, I wore my full ceremonial uniform of ‘cream- cream’ with matching straw boater and black shiny footwear. I then eagerly adopted father, grandpa and mummy to our cream coloured 504 saloon automobile.
Daddy additionally neatly clad in his cream swimsuit went in direction of the automobile, opened the door and sank swiftly into the mushy cushioned seat of the motive force’s compartment. He opened the opposite door on his different facet and referred to as mummy to return in and take her seat beside him. Then mummy promptly seated, opened the again doorways for me and grandpa to get in.
All of us now seated, all of the doorways had been shut. Daddy then turned the ignition key. He pressed the accelerator. A hole and sharp sound got here. He turned the important thing once more and pressed the accelerator as soon as extra. The similar hole sound was once more emitted.
He repeated the method but it surely was the identical response. He determined now to permit the engine to chill down for some time. Death-like silence ensued as daddy stored trying silently on the machine as if praying to it to be of assist. My pleasure was already starting to subside. I used to be on edge, praying to God, to not the machine, that we might not get late and that life could be restored to the cussed engine. Father turned the ignition key as soon as extra while in my coronary heart I stored fervently praying that it will reply positively, this time. But as he utilized the accelerator, the identical sound was once more heard. ‘What an unlucky factor to occur at such a time!’ Daddy exclaimed as he was opening the automobile door.
Moving to the entrance bonnet, he received it opened. He ran his hand by way of a lot of the suspected components and ran again into the car. He turned the important thing and utilized stress on the accelerator pedal. The response was resounding however deafening. A full-throated cry blared out from the beforehand reluctant engine. This restored everybody’s already sagging spirit. He went out once more, this time to shut the bonnet. Then he hastened again in and shortly settling into the seat, breathed a sigh of aid because the automobile moved out of the compound into the heavy visitors out.
It was an extended however refreshing drive passing streams of different automobiles destined for a similar occasion as proven by their assemblage of the blazing cream colours.
After overlaying the lengthy expanse of roads and avenues the automobile slowed down because it was negotiating into the varsity compound which was already jam-packed with individuals, automobiles and policemen. Father was directed to a spot the place he parked the automobile.
We had been all ready for Dad to shut the car when mum raised an alarm. Looking at him wide-eyed, she was asking ‘John, what for goodness sake is that in your swimsuit?’ He immediately stopped his motion and thoroughly examined himself. He was struck on the sight of a big black band stretching from the precise facet of the waistline on his coat overlaying each the coat and his trousers. ‘Gosh! What ‘s this now?’
‘Must be from the engine, once you had been engaged on it, almost definitely,’ mummy urged.
‘Well, looks like a decidedly unfortunate day certainly. What else might one do now?’
Mummy, daddy and grandpa conferred after which determined that we return house . As for me, my coronary heart sank into my physique as we re-entered the automobile and had been negotiating our approach out of the crowded however festive air of the varsity compound.
‘Don’t fear, we’ll see every thing on T.V tonight. The President being in attendance, it’s certainly going to obtain full protection. Just guarantee you do not sleep early’ Grandpa was making an attempt to coax me. But my spirit was now sufficiently killed. As I arrived house, I had perforce to get to mattress and slept instantly.
What for God’s sake is a tv recording in comparison with being there flesh and blood your self trying and delighting within the issues that basically deliver pleasure to your coronary heart.
Arthur Edgar Smith was born, grew up and schooled in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Having taught English since 1977 at Prince of Wales School and, Milton Margai College of Education, he’s now at Fourah Bay College the place he has been lecturing English, Literature, and Creative Writing for the previous seven years rising to the rank of Senior Lecturer.