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1 1 y father was one of those old chaps who lived fast, although he didn’t die young. He was a jovial, happy fellow, always fun to be with and quite easy going. My wife Mawumi appreciated him immensely and visited him as often as she could. My mother always declared that God had given her a pearl in that old man, and they both made a couple that anyone would admire. The couple was known as Mr. and Mrs. Ngongnuwi. Mr. Ngongnuwi for his part loved me very much, but I suspected that he loved his daughter in-law even more. He would flatter Mawumi like a French lover wooing a very soft and pretty lady, and would shower her with gifts and praises whenever possible. Dad made regular visits to my home or office, and these visits made my day worth living. Yes, we had lots of fun together. Our best times were when we were having a drink together. In their home, my mother often frowned at his attempts to drink alcohol, although he generally pleaded and had his way. But then, drinking alone was not quite enjoyable. In the presence of Mawumi, my old man’s drinking was also kind of controlled. If he wanted to drink freely and enjoy his booze completely, he normally showed up at my office and both of us would sneak off to some jolly corner where he could imbibe the stuff undisturbed by uncompromising females. At times, if we decided on cognac or some hard stuff, we simply hit the bottle in my office. Being a man of the bottle, too, I was convinced that the women were exaggerating a bit about the effect of alcohol on dad’s health. He was still very M 2 athletic and fit, and quite robust when it came to the booze. He did not look at all like some of those frail, ancients. Again, I had never seen my father roaring drunk and staggering. We knew our limits One day in the afternoon as dad came visiting as usual, I told him about a new place I had discovered. Apart from booze, there was wonderful roasted beef and pork. Unlike most of his peers, my dad did not suffer from gout, high blood pressure or diabetes. When we were together just two of us, he could eat anything that was forbidden to old men. Medically, he was not barred from any food or spice and was free to take sugar, salt, and any cooking fat or oil. His only limitations in the consumption of certain delicacies came from my mother and Mawumi, who were both of the opinion that indulging in too much beef and cholesterol-jammed food could eventually provoke some of those ailments that inflicted most old men. I rather thought that if at his age he was still free from those ailments and quite fit, then he should be allowed to enjoy his alcohol and excess protein. My father loved beef and pork even better than chicken, which the women often imposed on him. As soon as dad heard about the new joint, he urged me to take him there. “It is not far from here,” I said, “so we can simply stroll over.” “I hope you don’t want to punish an old man with too much exercise,” Dad said. “I want you to get really thirsty so that the beer will flow right through your veins,” I said. “And what happens to the grilled meat?” the old man asked, laughing. “Anyway, I’d like to stroll a bit.” 3 About twenty five meters away from my office, we came to an undertaker’s shop and my father stopped to admire some coffins. “Now let’s look at these.” he said, moving closer to thoroughly examine the coffins. “This is quite beautiful,” he said, pointing at one of them. “It is wonderful.” I gave no response. Coffins scared me and it felt eerie standing there admiring containers for dead bodies. “You are not saying anything?” Dad asked “Only a dumb fellow would stand in front of such a beauty and remain mute. This is a masterpiece.” “I wonder whether I will ever be able to admire or appreciate coffins,” I said. “In that case,” Dad said, “you will never be able to choose a good one for me when I die, and I should rather make my choice now. I would like to be buried in this very...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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