These gifts are many from many people but I’ll highlight the most memorable.
My Headmistress in Elementary School Sister Helena, a British Catholic Sister announced that her cat had delivered of kittens … and those that wanted should come to the convent in the evening.
I heard. I went. I didn’t get the offer. All the kittens had been taken before I arrived.
Sister Helena saw frustration and disappointment in my eyes but she was helpless given the circumstance but later came back and asked if I wanted the mother cat and I nodded in the affirmative.
Bliss returned to my eyes and my face lit-up like bulb saying Up NEPA. She went inside and put the cat in a carrier more like a shopping basket and brought to me. With trembling hands (no thanks to singing heart) I grabbed!
I took home but one of my parents detested cats and rejected same. I was dejected and later dropped at my neighbour’s but when I left home for school the following day one of my brothers and friend wanted to feed the cat and as they opened, it jumped out and said, You boys don’t have respect at all. Prison warders I’m an adult, you children let’s see if I’m lying. They pursued. But can Gareth Bale catch Usain Bolt?
Later in the day (same day) I went to register my gratitude to Sister Helena and she mentioned seeing the cat but I only heard I didn’t listen and later left.
Oh, I never knew my cries were being postponed until I got home … but thank God I didn’t comprehend this fact in school perhaps I’d have turned to a clown and became the butt of the joke, banter from friends, teachers … and possibly bagged a nickname I’ll probably be grappling with till date ….
The cat escaped and returned to the convent about 1 km away.
Months (maybe over a year later) can’t recollect vividly now but by then I’d forgotten about cats, kittens and meow but lo and behold Sister Helena sent for me and when I got to her office she told me her cat had put to bed again and that I should come in the evening to get my kitten. I was beside myself with joy!
I’d forgotten about everything but Sister Helena never did and she made sure she I got another kitten. I can’t forget the gesture: above the gift itself!
Another memorable gift and event:
One of my big mummies gave me a toy car with siren and once you kick and drop it begins to move, blaring its siren.
When I left Lagos for my ‘village’ this car made me a star in my whole neighbourhood for a long time. Kids would come around to say ‘hi’ but the motivation was they want to play with my toy car.
Many years later when this big mummy travelled to the States she sent me a portable and fanciful radio through another relative coming to Nigeria and this gift became source of information and entertainment to me for a long time.
And anytime there was power failure at night, regardless of ‘Operation Sweep’ at the time, I’ll be outside the gate listening to the radio – unknowingly heeding the advice of American Country music act Don Williams … Listen to the radio. Rest in Peace Don Williams.
Now people who know me know that I listen to radio a lot.
Yet another gift:
My cousin (who’s more like my uncle) used to take me out when I was in Lagos during the holidays and I enjoyed those trips. He drove around town, showing me many places, telling me stories … he’s got charisma, a ladies’ man, blessed with sugar-coated mouth, very smart and his girlfriends must bribe me with gifts, 7-star meals … but one day he tried to play a fast one on one of his female friends when he told her I was his son … but he was caught in the end.
And my big daddy was the first to take me to the beach!
Many more also believed in me long before I discovered and knew my brand.
Kids hardly forget those wonderful gifts you blessed them with!
(image credit: social media)