I recall a home, my home, near yet so far and every time I perceive like am moving further from it, I end up getting closer emotionally just by a simple phone call. The memories, both good and bad visit me in my dreams, take my hand and elope with me to the past, to a life that made me what and who I am, a place I fondly call home.
I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me,
The radio reminds me of my home far away….John Denver
Home as in the people, my people, not home as in my rock of solace where I mapped my dreams and scribbled them in invisible ink across the bright blue sky…….
Home in Getrude’s Hospital where Waithera my mother was a nurse and owned the only canteen. Nelly and I used to visit during school holidays, when we could hang out with the Group 4 security guys at the hospitals’ main gate, play ball till the midnight with kids who lived down the servant quarters…Chege, Shiku and a bunch of other kids. I recall a guy who had a barber shop. He did our hair on a particular day mum gave us permission to go watch American Ninja 4 at cameo cinema.
And I fell in love with that Shiku, a young, bald headed girl who lost her hair as a result of ringworms and other ugly wounds; she used to cry a lot and some kids just chose to pick on her every time. Love is blind you know, though I guess my attraction to her bordered more on sympathetic appreciation than intimacy; I just recall her in a checkered school uniform with two straps on the back; never in her Sunday best or pyjamas or birthday suit….nah, just a checkered uniform with 2 straps!
Then started our romance with Country Music played smoothly over Auntie Lucy’s Sanyo cassette player. The women, namely mum, Auntie Lucy and the entire nursing fraternity had a huge carton filled with Don Williams, Dolly Parton, Crystal Gal and ABBA cassettes, mostly played late in the evening before bedtime…….
And they would chase us away saying the music was grown up stuff and that we should go to bed.
Some songs from back then have stuck with me like an indelible birth mark till eish does us apart…..
John Denver doing Country roads….
“Life is old here, older than the trees,
Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze….
Don Williams belting out Amanda and Good Ole boys like whoever…..
…….Kenny Rogers with Coward of the county, and since way back then there was only one black and white Tv with a malnourished selection of entertainment, we contented ourselves with imagining how one could hear a pin drop as Old Yellow turned back to do a number on the cowboys who had abused his Becky……
Our romance with country music matured with us and we got hooked to KBC’s daily Sundowner show. Mum loved it a lot, Uncle Joe too; he actually had a very good taste of cool oldies. Uncle Kenny on the other hand was into Roots reggae, he gave me a Bob Marley poster to hang in my cubicle after I faced the knife. These and a sack load of reggae cassettes which we had a field day dubbing hip hop into, Nelly and i.
My home……the place where we grew up as one big happy family, everyone a master of his and her own line of interest; grandpa with his White Cap and Tuskers and Radio BBC, granny with her women’s Guild and Chamas, mum busy with career away in the city, Auntie Lucy with her secretarial gig which was a huge thing back in the stone age type writer era, Uncle Peter aka Jungle with his unequalled expertise of deforestation and rapid cuts at the slaughter house.
Oh, lest I forget, Jungle owned a black dog called Bosco that used to bark at shadows in the night. Don’t ask me why, am as surprised as you, and grandpa hated Bosco with a passion!
Uncle Kenny was the charmer in the family; ladies loved his disarming smiles, sense of humor, brown skin and ever exuberant disposition. Actually the entire extended family adored him and he was our favorite uncle. He always bought us those sweet California cookies baked at another famous bakery at the centre of Kimathi and Moi Avenue in Nairobi.
So while he was all hunky charmy attracting village honeys like moths to a fire that would ultimately spell their doom, his younger brother Jungle was, well, not so good on the looks but all brawn and no good boy charm……like he could break a cow’s skull with his left punch just to impress a lady.
Or get a lady a roll of barbed wire to fence their crib as a Valentine Day gift!
Jungle has a great heart baethewei, he forgives easy and never takes things personally.
And I miss home dearly, been almost 3 years since I visited. I’ve taken to calling home every now and then and It really gives me a serene sense of satisfaction to do so.
Gladdens my heart to hear Don Williams’ Amanda somewhere and remember Uncle Joe and mum and Nelly……and brings me forth to tears to know how much I wanna hug them all and tell them I miss them and I love them……and all my lovely cousins…..
It may be unmanly to tell another male that you love them but hey, this is family, anything goes. Outside of family, a good pal once called me ‘my dear’ and I had to pull him aside and caution him not to call me dear coz there was nothing exceptionally dear about being pals, men are just friends, not dears!
So I miss home, I wanna be there surrounded by family laughter and affection and jokes and everything. I want to hear my aunt tell me about the latest harvest, my cousins tell me about life in campus. I want my tiny nephews and nieces to be all over me staring at me with those innocent eyes which have not been corrupted by the world.
We would have some tea with my aunties and uncles as we watch the starry sky as the kids lie on the ground, tired and sleepy, and think of how fast the years have gone by as we appreciate the everlasting bond which is into its fourth generation now; each gracefully stepping into the footprints of the former.