We’re sure many of our readers in Nigeria will be able to relate with Francisca’s entry; throwing banger, earnestly waiting for the live chicken to be killed and having a picnic at the beach. Thank you Francisca for taking us down memory lane.
“Christmas means fireworks, fried rice and loads of dreamy carols.”
Many years back as the last child of my family I came to love and enjoy Christmas for the excitement of the season and the occasional stares I would give the live cock my mother would have bought from any of the central markets.
The white robust two legged creature with ruffled feathers would be tied beneath my mother’s pastry worktable as it stood on one leg in the first week of its arrival at our home before Christmas. I would stare at it with pity that soonest it would be nothing other than a decorative consumptive element on my plate of rice. I reminisce vividly that the pity I felt for it was never sympathy as that which was likened to one who had lost a loved one. It was the empathy that it would go the same route like the rest of its siblings who had in other years gone through the same rite of passage of being a guest of honour on our plates every Christmas.
The sounds of kpo, kpa, kpo,or the heavy shrill breaking sounds of the twelve in one fireworks which sounded like bazooka’s left my heart merry. The fireworks which sent beautiful streaks of lightning into the sky was my childhood fantasy which I knew was never to drown in the challenges of growing into an adult. Oh! I would never forget the joy’s of moving from house to house with my fellow block rosary members as we sang many carol songs we had memorized like our lives depended on it. Even when I could no longer attend the block rosary any more I recollect I would run straight to the balcony in the yuletide season once I heard the sound of drum beats by children at night who were on their routine Christmas carol visits.
The highpoint of Christmas for me was Mr. Biggs and Bar- beach. How dare you exclude that from a Nigerian Child’s Christmas package? These places then were the hallmark of Christmas themed outings. The yearning to seat on those red painted seats or rest against those marble counters while the waitress attended to me as the eatery’s photographer or even my elder sister would take a very decent picture of myself and my cousins. The feel of white sand against my feet as i strolled down the beach. The hurried pictures taken on stationery horses or the fun games of turning our back to the ocean as it came with sleek waves.
This picture I would later sneak to school with me when the new year began as I showed my classmates how my holidays had been spent. The whole essence was to create the pretty picture that Christmas had been very nice for me.
I am Francisca Ogechi Okwulehie a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Lagos. I am the Author of Tari’s Golden fFeece, an African literary fiction. I currently write for Drive magazine.