When I was in senior high, there wasn’t enough flesh on me to make a fowl with. Now though, I think I could wrap around two cows fairly easily. Of course I’m kidding, just one cow will do. I still am!! but you get my drift? The hollow in my shoulder is long gone and the stomach that curved inwards is now slightly inverted (note the emphasis on slightly).
My friend Yaw has this theory; pot bellies are the preserves of men with poor childhoods. It’s highly contentious, but just you wait.
You see, some of us grew up in zongos where giant gutters were game reserves, not sewage outlets, heck we cooked good food with sand and hibiscus flowers. Egg (whether boiled or fried) was shared among at least four children. There were times you’d go for your plate of rice and stew and see the shiny white bulge of an egg perching right there in the center. You’d flip it over and see that you’d been tricked! It was just half of the thing! If a stubborn ah-don-care auntie or uncle happened to be around and your plan was to save that protein for the last bite, you’ll learn very quickly that earlier is always better.
Powdered milk was dished out in tiny teaspoons and the evaporated milk was served in droplets. Coke -and his brothers- was too concentrated to be drunk like that so it had to be diluted and shared among (at least) two kids. Cerelac? CERELAC? Cere-what??!! Go and drink Ma koko and Tombrown wor hor wor hor. If Arlecchino Ice Cream depended on my childhood to succeed, they would have folded up in week one; we were all into Poki!
To hell with what you feel or didn’t feel like eating. If you didn’t want what Mama got, you didn’t get nu’n. There was this one time I was flexing palmnut soup with fufu. If I wasn’t getting lightsoup, I didn’t want to eat, period! Much later that night when hunger clawed at my stomach like a cat with a drown-scare, I crawled to the kitchen, stealthily opened the bowl that had been covered since afternoon and munched down that palmnut soup with fufu like it was the last step of an initiation rite.
The sound of the family giggling in the hall as they watched TV was so off-putting! The worst part was when I had to endure the taunts after mum found my bowl washed clean. She started this term “ti ti tiiiri” a musical way of saying “Oyee po ne” which in literal translation means “You wont eat po this”
Those were the days! They seem so distant now. God’s grace does that. It’s not just our sins he removes so far from us. He takes away hardships too. But that’s not even why I write this. I digress (I just love that phrase)
At work today, they served tuna pasta salad with chicken. I thought it sucked so I ordered a full portion of grilled pork from Tasty jerk and had a tiny kenkey ball with it. Hihihihihihi See me o. It’s been like this for a few years. I remember when I first went to Presec boarding house and saw a full tin of powdered milk for me alone. Talk about divine stuff!
Then I started working and could afford so much more. Whaaatttt! My Milo was so creamy it could have been served with porridge for a whole prison. I ate as if to make up for everything I wanted and never had. Then along the line I caught myself, got used to it, and saw the need to sign up to a gym. Now I run eight laps around the athletic oval every other day(some weeks). I enjoy it, but sometimes I get so worn out I wonder if the previous night’s Schezuan jollof was worth it. Oh well.
The best thing about growing into any good thing (wealth especially) is that your sense of gratitude heightens. You have a less sense of entitlement and see need to thank God for the little things. When we lose that (the gratitude et al) it’s as if all the humbling experiences were pointless. We should never forget the distance between where we are and where we started, and between where we are and where we want to get to. We should never fail to see the magnificence of God in the most seemingly small things. We should never allow a sweet turn of fate to inflict any kind of amnesia on us.
We’ve all been poor before, all of us, because even those born with gold spoons in their mouths probably had straw for brains or a stone for a heart. So whatever ‘poverty’ God’s grace has rescued us from is our perpetual excuse for gratitude and reminder of whose we are.
So as I celebrate the millimeter reduction in my slowly-approaching flat abs with the 6 pack, cockline and the whole shebang, I (with you?) say thank you God for rocking like that! He’s amazing!
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