Men ought to know
Men ought to know many things before they decide to marry. What men need to know before marriage is not taught in schools neither is how to treat women or the woman they marry. So, who teaches men about relationships or marital responsibilities – Dads, Moms, uncles, mentors, government, neighbors, etc.? Should this be a shared responsibility or self-responsibility? I propose that it should be a shared responsibility. Parents ought to take the primary lead of teaching and setting marital expectations for the man. The man, in turn, should explore other learning avenues such as reading books on marriage, counseling with religious leaders, and asking men (or women because each perspective is different) who have had successful marriages. What do men do when there is no parental role model, or such role models are dysfunctional?
The Patriarch had no role model in any areas of his life. Remember, his dad died when he was six years old. He does not even own a picture of his dad. He was an only child at the time and had an uncle who wanted to act as a father but was both very controlling and envious of The Patriarch’s popularity, even as a child.
Uncle BK (UBK), as he was known by all, did his best to belittle The Patriarch, but could not succeed. He then resorted to using witchcraft and juju (fetish) on him. The Patriarch once had a dream of Uncle BK coming into his bedroom to physically attack him. He woke up angry and shaking with rage narrating the attack and how he had to use everything in his bedroom (armchair, bathroom scale, telephone) to disarm the man. He wanted to call Uncle BK, but his mom prevented him from doing so. It will only worsen the already bad situation. The situation however worsened as other things happened in the natural that were considered spiritually evil.
What did he do to deserve these attacks?
One day, Patriarch’s driver arrived early to take his children to school. The school was one of the prestigious elementary schools about 35 miles away from home. With traffic, the drive to school could take one to one-and-a-half hours. The Patriarch ensured that his children were never late to school and never received any tardy note. As such, they always had to leave home much earlier. Often, the children slept on their way to school.
On this day, as the driver was cleaning the car, he noticed some weird looking nails about 3-4” long, two each facing upwards in the front and back of each tire. He put on a pair of gloves and carefully removed the nails. If he hadn’t found those nails, all tires would have busted and probably caused extreme damages to not only the car but probably The Patriarch’s children.
Another car incident happened in The Patriarch’s hometown with his other driver. On this day, about two days to his annual party, the driver found an enormous white egg in the trunk of The Patriarch’s Mercedes Benz. What was the egg doing still right in the center of the trunk? Again, the driver took the egg and threw it in a nearby bush. The explosion far exceeded what an egg sound could make. Then there was smoke.
Another incident was when a long-legged bird with eyes as flaming red as fire visited the house and was pecking viciously at everything in its way. The bird flew around the cars and house looking for an entry into The Patriarch’s home. It took four men and about six hours to capture the bird. Decisions as to what to do with the “evil” bird went back and forth. One said to burn it, another said no, kill it. Then another said, just keep it till The Patriarch wakes up. Yet another said, no, The Patriarch must not see it. Whatever! The children yelled at the driver to take them to school. Before he left, the driver placed a huge wooden mortar over the bird and a huge rock over the mortar to prevent it from moving. Eyewitnesses said the bird was still alive almost twelve hours after wrestling to escape from under the wooden mortar and rock!
Uncle BK made it known to everyone in the family that he was responsible for the many fetishes and that he wanted to know how “strong” The Patriarch was. His mom begged him to be careful of Uncle BK.
The last straw
On yet another incident, while awaiting the arrival of the then State Governor with his entourage, The Patriarch was merry with his friends who had gathered to welcome the Governor. Uncle BK also came to join them. The Patriarch beckoned the maid to bring a clean glass for UBK. UBK rejected the clean glass and insisted that he wants to use The Patriarch’s glass. His friends were puzzled and one of the friends asked UBK why. But The Patriarch asked his friends to chill and handed his drinking glass to UBK. UBK took the glass to his mouth oblivious of the stirs directed at him. He sipped a pill into the drink and handed it back to The Patriarch. As The Patriarch reached to take the glass, a couple of his friends jumped to snatch and probably knock it out of his hands because they all saw the pill when it was dropped and watch as it fizzled. Patriarch saw it too but kept his posture. He again called the maid and handed the glass to him. As the maid walked towards the kitchen, the glass cracked into his hands!
Everyone present was appalled that a family member could do such a thing to his nephew. The Patriarch was unperturbed. He stated that it was a distraction that will be dealt with later. He would not allow his focus to shift.
. . .
The Governor and his entourage did arrive. The Patriarch and his friends played host. But another commotion ensued afterward.
Your confidence can sometimes mislabel you
One’s confidence, looks, or personality can sometimes cause one to be unnecessarily mislabeled. Patriarch was a confident and hardworking man. His personality betrays his meekness, humility, and loyalty such that he was a target of envy and jealousy. Some think that he is arrogant and proud. Others would say that he was cocky. But secretly they all wished that they possessed his charisma and confidence.
He was appreciated more by distant friends and relatives than by his close friends and family. Though hard to trust anyone, The Patriarch still led, helped, and provided not only for his family but also for his extended family. He appeared to know what he wanted in life and would not allow anyone to distract him from getting those things.
. . .
He converted his home from a single-story four-room house to a two-story duplex. The home at the back was dedicated to his mom, sister, and cousin.
Did I just say, his sister? Yes, The Patriarch had a sister born because of his mom being betrothed to his uncle! What a culture?! I hope that tradition is dead!
The Patriarch also remodeled the family home in his hometown. Several years later he would buy himself land and build his custom home.
This custom home was controversial because the then government of the State would not allow him to add an overpass and, as such, the completion was unnecessarily delayed. In his country, homes are built cash, not financed, and within a short time.
While building, The Patriarch received an unusual visitor as he was leaving the site. According to The Patriarch, his salutations to the visitor endeared them to each other such that the visitor had to confess his mission. His mission was to visit the site to bury some more fetishes that would make it impossible for The Patriarch to ever complete the building. After the exchange of pleasantries, the visitor then gave The Patriarch some advice as to how to proceed uninterrupted with the building. The Patriarch’s new residence was finally completed with a house-warming party of well-wishers and naysayers. His new residence is his pride and home of comfort.
The Patriarch grew up looking for love albeit in all the wrong directions. He loved the good things of life; fashion – both his native and western wears were always a statement, wristwatches (Rolex, Cartier, etc.), jewelry in all the carats, and shoes that shone you could see your teeth in them. He also indulged in cars – like a collection.
The Patriarch always threw an annual party. It was galore of food – cows, goats, chicken, fish dishes of every imaginable kind; drinks – beer, champagne, brandy, whiskey, liqueur; fashion, and the who-is-who in society. The streets are blocked and, staged leading musicians, with their bands, on opposite ends of the streets, dishing out renditions of their latest songs. Sometimes there is a third musician. Even the musicians rally to be the lead for his parties. Those parties were always a one-to-remember and talked about till the following year.
He was not a politician, but he was a friend to both the ruling-party politicians and their opposition, as well as the government. At times, it felt that the politicians reserved their best showdowns to be displayed at his party.
On one such party, his friend who was from the opposing political party, with his entourage, called to inform The Patriarch that he was on his way to his party. He had RSVP’d stating that he was unsure whether he would be able to attend. The phone call was received while UBK was performing his ugly deed. What would he do? He had no idea how nearby his friend and his entourage were as he forgot to ask amid the pandemonium. It is not uncommon for political figures, governors, as well as prominent people in his country to move about with entourages whether or not they were on official duties.
His friend arrived before the Governor. They took up the whole living room and stayed longer than necessary that The Patriarch had to call the Governor’s office to request that he come later. But the Governor’s Secretary announced that they were already on the way. The Patriarch could not ask his friend to leave; that would be rude and will affect their friendship.
The Governor and his entourage arrived and a message was sent to The Patriarch. As the message was given to him, his friend said, “Oh we’re ready to leave anyways.” It was a relief. But as he escorted them out, they had to walk by the Governor and his entourage. So, they did while his friends helped make them comfortable till The Patriarch’s return. It is customary for the Governor to show up and stay only for about 30 minutes to an hour. On this day, the Governor chose to stay only a few minutes. He was infuriated. He stated that the “clash of the titans” was planned to insult him and his entourage. The Patriarch, with his friends, profusely apologized to the Governor while letting him know that it was all impromptu. The lead musician for the night, who was privy to the happenings, started playing a calming apologetic song. As the song began, the Governor calmed and relaxed to enjoy the night.
He stopped by the bandstand to start the night party and left.
What a night. The party continued until the wee morning hours.
The Patriarch was up early the next day. After all the commotion, one would be surprised that he slept at all. He and his friends visited the Governor to once again apologize and appease him.