It just dawned on me, we really grew up fast. I usually don’t make a lot of sense out of it when someone else says it. But giving it some thought, I realized that a whole lot of stuff have happened, and really fast too. I thank Jesus for the my life. The journey’s been great! Twenty two years seems like a lot of time, but nothing really, if Methuselah was your good friend. In any case, there are loads of things I wish I could relive. It’s probably the only reason why I would love to fund the building of a time machine.
I miss primary school for starters. Well, not so much of the classroom work and homework but the break times. I couldn’t wait to hear the bell boy to his job. It is interesting how there were no bell girls. Anyway not at Crown Prince Academy. The boys always ate as quickly as possible so we could have ample time for “Police and thief”- a game so legendary, it still gives goose bumps just mentioning it. My word! We were so hooked. We knew thieves are a menace to society but this game for some odd reason I still can’t figure out, gave us a great thrill whenever we got to be the bad guys and not the cops. Whenever you got busted you were locked in an imaginary jail cell and the only way you got bailed out was when a fellow thief freed you simply by passing underneath the space you had created between you and a stationary object (usually a wall) with a stretched arm. There was no impending trial, our game didn’t have room for that. Once you got freed, you were back on the run with oozing adrenaline.
There was “counters ball” too. I could never get enough of that one. I actually wondered what would ever stop us from enjoying such a wonderful game. I guess age did. From manhole to manhole we dirtied ourselves and flicked our players around. The prize for winning games was mostly the respect earned from peers. What a great feeling it was to be the only kid who didn’t get beaten by the reigning champion in the neighborhood.
An updated version of the game arrived when it was realized that sleek looking players could be made out of our exercise books. Then you’d get colour pencils and get on to designing your own kit. Names and jersey numbers sealed the deal. When teams, balls and goalposts all made out of paper were ready, it was time to get rocking. To spice things up, ‘after kpor’ (‘winner stays’ for the DB’s) was thrown into the mix if more boys were interested.
I’m not alone on this one. I know most of us miss it., “Journey To The West”!!! I honestly didn’t know that was the real title till years later. “Shifu” was the ish. I couldn’t wait for Sundays. Right after Sunday school, every gbushia-gbushia loving kid was off to watch GTV. It wasn’t even in English but who cared? Keeping up with subtitles was not an easy task for me but I still enjoyed it. At least I got the message that a bunch of weird looking guys were on a journey to somewhere really far. Trust me when I say Mari Cruz and La Gata ain’t nothing on our Shifu. Cantata was good competition for the Sunday buster but guess what? Abena Julijuu and Sagaribiwi couldn’t fly so they didn’t just cut it for me.
Whoever came up with “names of talkatives” is a genius. It was and I believe still is the best way to keep a noisy class silent. No one wanted their name to be on that list. Woe betides you (…soo primary school-ish) if your name got on that list, and with the dreaded D.P too. Teachers loved that abbreviation but we shrieked at it whether you were the Odenshie or cry-baby type. Isn’t it funny how you’d get punished for talking in class and still have the nerve to be angry at whoever wrote your name? It would be payback time whenever you got to be in the driver’s seat. Whether they talked or not, their name was either way getting on your list of noise makers. If your best friend was tasked to do the job, then hurray, you could use a megaphone and still be confident that your name wasn’t going to end up on that list. After all what are friends for?
Saving the best for last, I would love to express my sincere love for Our Day. Our Days were surely the best days of the whole academic year. The euphoria surrounding the day came around three times a year but it never got old. It was always renewed and I always had high expectations. There were so many things to look out for on every Our Day and the tall list included; the shada for the day (whether the camboo had disco lights or not), the kind of food mum was going to prepare, and the size of the basket that would house food and drinks. The basket was mostly accompanied with a degree of shyness; exhibiting it to the whole neighbourhood if you had to walk to school always got people staring and I would think; “why are y’all looking at me like that? Children too gotta chill”!!!
Anyway once I got to school I snubbed all that and looked forward to a marvelous day. Getting off the streets of kokonsa neighbours into my paper decorated classroom kicked started the day. My school always made it a point to have loud music on the day so there was never a dull moment. The routine was to shake your body for a while then eat a little, then repeat the cycle. Who’d want to finish their food first so they could start begging their friends for food with a sad face? No one! Getting carried away and eating more than I planned was normal, but I was always sure to leave the chicken for later.
Sharing of report cards crowned the day. Wedi wode awie, aka wo nsohwer was the cherished slogan for that moment. The least every parent expects after making Our Day a success for their kid was a good terminal report in return. If the terminal exam was like a walk in the park for you then kudos! On the other hand, if you weren’t sure of your performance then you’d have a dilemma; do I find out the results now or do I wait to find out at home? A lot of courage is needed for the first but who’d want to do the latter. I need to know my stand! For some awkward reason I figured if the white envelope you gave to your class teacher as a present was heavy enough, you definitely wouldn’t have to go home walking on stilts. That was the motivation for bringing a little something for the class teacher every time until I found out report cards were prepared before Our Day. Silly me!
A few paragraphs on the things I miss will never be enough but trust me when I say man has got to take a break. Besides too much reminiscing makes me miss all these things the more. I wonder if the idea for a time machine is feasible. Anyways scientists get cracking, this should be pretty easy. Newton’s got a formula for everything right?