Dee Cally my uncle usually called Dad by 7:15am everyday, they exchange pleasantries, converse about events happening in the village and also the current affairs rocking the boat of our country. I still have the imagery of the scene in my mind, 1999,Nitel land-line with a cord so long you could walk a kilometer while you spoke,Dad walking around in the living room as they spoke. I hated Dee Cally because his calls was a signal that we would be driven to school late because of their palm kernel and squirrels chasing after whatever it was stories and as a result of that be flogged for late coming.
In January 2005 Dad had lost his job and there was no long conversation over his mobile phone,no uncle called in to know how their brother was because they felt he was now a liability and would whine for help at the slightest opportunity. Dad with the help of his gratuity started a little business that was sustaining us and everything still made sense to us the children.Our house was no longer filled with uncles,aunties and extended relatives,mother’s respond when asked why was ‘ihem bu ihem mana ihe anyi bu ihe anyi’ so we were dealing with that which was our immediate family’s challenge.
14th November 2013 Dad was involved in an accident that cost him his dear life .It seemed it was the end of the journey for us. Our phone lines began to buzz like we worked in a telecommunication outfit, uncles who never gave a hoot began to call in to commensurate with us some brought monetary gifts, some spoke of how Dad had been supportive and caring to them, one uncle volunteered to pay for a flight that would take father’s Corps home,people Who never cared came in their numbers with praise songs of how Dad was a caring,kind,gentle,industrious
and easy going person. I was bitter because all these things were useless and it wouldn’t bring my father back to life, I questioned God and even stopped going to church for 2 years, for existing didn’t make sense to me.
* * *
I wish my father was celebrated, I wish he flew on aeroplanes,went on vacations to his dream destinations,i wish he was here to see his little son grow beards, i wish I told him how important he was and how much I loved him but wishes are not horses so I can’t ride with my father for death has thrown us world apart.
The living tribute is an ideal concept that sets out to celebrate you while you’re still alive, to tell you all you mean to the world rather than writing an emotional tribute on burial magazines,social media handles and all. The living tribute has risen and has come to stay so let’s celebrate you while you here.
My Name is Emmanuel Odinaka and this is me telling you to Live before you leave.