Time has a way of turning even the wildest dog into a lovable poodle

Masembe Tambwe

REETINGS people, hope you all had a Merry Christ- mas and looking forward God willingly to seeing the New Year and for the parents out there who have their children in school, not so looking for- ward to paying school fees.

A lot of times I sit and wonder how people do it, I mean, I have a daughter now in kindergarten but her fees make me sweat buckets, I get panic attacks when I think about the upper levels.

Today, I am going to talk about everyday life (whatever that is). The other day I saw an interesting event at my parent’s place that made me ask myself many questions. My daughter was perched on the sofa pretending to be read- ing some form of literature very intensively.

When my dad saw what she was reading, he ordered her to return the book where she took it from but the near thunderous orders fell on deaf ears. It was only after I intervened that she obliged.

It turned out she was fiddling with a copy of the Quran. What grabbed my atten- tion wasn’t so much what she was trying to read but the fact that in spite of the ‘barking’ of my dad, she hardly flinched. Now back in my days, this certainly was never the case and it would be close to com- mitting suicide not to obey what your elders tell you to do.

My dad from as long back as I can remember has always been a person of few words and at times difficult to say if he was strict or simply too quiet. He also had some tenden- cies that made you fear him even without being spoken to, like the beef he had with doors.

I have never known the history behind this beef but for the good part of 20 years that I was under his roof, whenever he entered or left the house, he would slam the doors so hard, at times I feared the hinges would fall off.

Though the banging of the doors helped us know when he is coming and going, it was at times a little intimi- dating. I think it was for this reason that for a bigger part of our upbringing, we played hide and seek with our dad. When he came upstairs in the TV room, somehow our feet got fidgety and we would climb downstairs to the sit- ting room. When he followed us there, our desire to want to go back to the TV room re- turned.

One day when I was a little older, my dad asked me why we regard him as a wild animal who everyone feared and I played the dumb card. He explained that we, his children, didn’t like sitting down with him in the same room and would always look for the nearest exit. I tried to be defensive but it was no good and so I ended up telling him that we would change.

Looking back, I re- ally can’t say that I had a bor- ing upbringing because I was scared of my dad or he was too quiet to get used to. On the contrary, when both my parents were young- er, they were very fun to be around (don’t quote me wrong, now that they are old- er, their idea of fun has just changed).

I remember on week- ends we often went swim- ming, went on picnics, they had friends over and played scrabble and occasionally we went on fishing expeditions to a certain island in Rwanda. They say that even the hottest chilly over time sim- mers down and that is the same for ‘strict’ people.

I re- member I had an uncle who was renowned for being strict, he was feared by the old and the young alike but after getting grandchildren, somehow they found ways of mellowing him out. I think the same is hap- pening with my dad, just like fine wine, age was a way of getting the best out of people. Wishing all a prosperous New Year. Cheerio!

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