In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Life’s a Candy Store.”
What a delightful day this would be! I am six years old again and I get to spend it as I please and with whom I choose.
Well! Well! Whoever says that life doesn’t have it’s pleasant sweet spots and that the lines don’t fall in the right places is a big, fat lying Pinocchio! Just watch me 🙂
It’s a beautiful Saturday morning. Of course, I am still young enough to get excused from doing serious chores, apart from brushing my teeth properly, taking my shower and eating sumptuous helpings of mummy’s homemade pancakes with dripping drizzles of maple syrup, nicely done omelets (no vegetables please), sausages, baked beans and a nice warm cup of cocoa.
We all pile into my daddy’s lovely blue Renault Saloon car. It has seen a lot of good mileage and made lots of beautiful memories.
Off we go to Leventis super stores in Enugu; a forty-five minutes drive from our abode in Nsukka, through the old road and past the Milken hill.
Milken hill is a verdant wilderness and as I peer through the wound up windows of our beloved Renault with plate number ”ECH 480” winding, its way through the snaky, precarious, hilly road with its scary drop, my child eyes imagine the trumpeting Elephants, the roaring Lions and the curious monkeys that inhabit that wilderness.
The scary drop seems like a bottom less pit and one must negotiate it with care. Many cars have been known to meet a fatal stop on this part of the road.
We make it safely to Leventis. It is a store of a child’s dream and every book and toy that my mind can conjure is stocked here.
”Chinny, you and your siblings can go and select three items each for yourselves.” ”Two books and one toy each.” ”We have two hours to spend before we go to visit your cousins, daddy says to me.”
Daddy is such a wonderful man. He knows I love books and he stokes it rather nicely by buying lots of them for me 🙂
I make a beeline for the huge outlay of more books than I have ever seen.
Rows and rows of beautiful, vibrantly coloured story books fill my eyes. A browse and a selection of the two books that I want to go home with are made. I then settle down at the children’s corner where I quickly digest another one whilst waiting for mummy to finish making her purchases.
I debate in my mind whether to exchange my toy option for a third book. I know that on a good day when we are not squabbling, my sister will allow me to play with her new doll and I want all the books in the book store to belong to me.
I negotiate very nicely with daddy and I end up with four books instead of two. I have diligently checked the prices on all the girly toys and they far outweigh the price of two extra books; somehow, I feel sensible and smart. I think daddy appreciates my consideration.
Don’t be mistaken, I love toys like all children, but my love for books far outweighs my love for toys. Besides, I already saw my parents looking at Raleigh bicycles. I know that they would be purchasing one for each of us.
Our shopping is done! We make a quick stop at No 1. Chief Alex Ekwueme street, the home of my favorite cousins. They don’t need too much coaxing to join us for a picnic party at Polo park.
At the expansive Polo park grounds, we take turns on the rides, on the swings and slides. We play ”Swe” and ‘‘Uga” until hunger pangs kick in and it is time to tuck into the goodies that mummy has dutifully packed.
The picnic basket bulges with all sorts of goodies – enough to feed an army. Fizzy pops, cake, cookies, sandwiches, jollof rice with chicken, etc are generously marshaled out on paper plates by mum.
Daddy has a sweet tooth (I think the sweet tooth thing is genetic) and never fails to get those lovely ice lollies on cones for us for dessert.
Our palates are sated and our tummies nicely rounded from food.
Evening is fast approaching. A quick decision on whether to drive back home through the Milken hill or to spend the night at the cousins is made. Auntie Christie always graciously opens the door to her home.
She would always say “Jay-Jay, Alberta (shortened for my dad’s name: James Joseph and my mum’s name Alberta-Bianca), it is too late to go driving back to Nsukka o, you guys must stay over till tomorrow o.”
With delight we turn the house upside down with our horse-play until we were tuckered out.
They had a very big house, with lots of room.
P.S. This article is based on ”my real life story” as recalled from my minds eye as a child.
Milken Hill: These hills are found at Ngwo in Enugu North LGA, they are 100 meter above sea level, offering beautiful standpoint for a panoramic view of Enugu metropolis, especially at dawn and dusk. The hill was named after one of the earliest colonial administrator in Enugu. The first road into Enugu city winds through the foot of the hill bounded by a deep gully. Underneath the hills are relics of coal mines and its beautiful tunnels. Beneath the Milken hills is the Iva valley. The hills are good for mountaineering. However, drivers are advised to drive slowly with caution through the meandering roads.
Enugu – One of the State’s in the Eastern part of Nigeria.
Nsukka – A town and Local Government Area in South-East Nigeria in Enugu State
Chief Alex Ekwueme: Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme is one of Nigeria’s most respected statesmen alive today.
Swe – I think this is what is called hopscotch.
Uga – synchronized clapping rhythm of hands followed with feet competition to outwit the other.
Jollof Rice – A popular meal eaten in most West African homes, a one-pot meal made with fried tomato and pepper stew, rice, meat and spices