I know several of my wily friends who dread Christmas and all that comes with it. You see, it is not that they have no sense of enjoyment, but other factors come into play, with nasty results. Pals between the age of 25 and 35 pack a small bag and head home for Christmas (the unmarried ones) with trepidation. The reasons are heavy, and not in their favour!
A buddy of mine went through a harrowing experience at the hands of his very own family and relatives. It turned out that his parents (read his mother) would dole out adulations and praises in direct proportion to whatever largesse you gave during the year.
If your visits home have been few and far in between, like, say twice a year, you got no mention and you were not to be emulated. By contrast, if your visits were numerous and accompanied by generous gifts, you were showered with platitudes that did not escape the ears of the mean ones.
Now, my friend would not have minded this charade, which he took in his large stride. The thing was, this show of thinly-veiled disdain was extended to his spouse and children.
You see, women tend to show high affinity for their grandchildren, almost naturally. If in their brief dalliances, your mother showers your child with praises and notices the polite, nice behaviour, you smile to yourself knowingly. So does your wife.
On the other hand, and woe betide you if this happens, if your mother starts to pull faces, snorting at your children and rebuking them over “mistakes” you can’t see, you know you have not been very nice (read generously) with her.
If she starts talking about how your big children cannot even wipe their noses, or greet visitors, please know you are in her family black book. If, of course, you notice none of this, you need to be sent for psychiatric evaluation. That means seeing a shrink. You know the guys, they ask you if you know where you are, time of day, month or year, that sort of junk. I hear it’s called orientation in time, place and person. But we digress.
Now you know my friend dreads the visits home. He knows it is also a time for an appraisal of sorts. It’s just like scripts are marked and you are graded. It’s a trying time. It’s no wonder that when folks visit the bundus, the women and children are left with the task of serving and eating the copious amounts of food as the men troop to the nearest shopping centre, ostensibly to buy drinks but in real terms to drown themselves in beer, away from the parents’ scrutiny.
That beer session is the time for the men to catch up with villagers who will fill them in on whose daughter is now pregnant, whose son married whose daughter in the last year, which of the local headmaster’s children has joined a high school or college and that sort of thing.
If there was a girl you put in the family way the last time you visited, you got to know what happened to her. This is also the time grandmothers pinch the toddlers, who, used to city ways, cannot comprehend this sudden violence. That pinching business reminds me of my friend Jackson Kibor, that Eldoret tycoon who is now in the evening of his life. You see, he is now 86 and with more than one woman in his stable, he is still alive and kicking. Do you get the drift?
But he divorces his women as fast as he marries them. Last week, an Eldoret court allowed him to divorce his third wife, on grounds of cruelty and denial of conjugal rights.
Getting many children has its downturns. The woman who was divorced, Naomi Jeptoo is a mother of eight. It appears she is so used to pinching her children (which mother doesn’t?) that she thought she should do the same to their father, whatever his transgressions were.
Now, when you pinch the thighs of an 86-year-old, I can only say actions have consequences. It was a major reason she was divorced. Of course, she has denied all this but her ex-hubby said in public that she pinched him “where children are pinched”. Ouch, that hurts!
Who would have thought, in their wildest imagination that there can possibly be a co-relation between pinching (thighs) and divorce? Now we know. Moral? Let salt be the only thing you pinch this coming year and beyond. Merry Christmas, folks and enjoy pinch-free festivities! – The writer is Special Projects editor, People Daily