When I was a kid, traveling from Lagos to the Northern part of the country to visit my grandparents during the summer holidays were always an adventure. The fact that we spent about twelve hours on the road because we couldn’t afford plane tickets for every one simply seemed like a really long and fun road trip with various food stops. And I loved food. But, there was one particular holiday, where I left most of my common sense and brain behind in Lagos.
Now before I go into this story, I would like to put a disclaimer- I was a kid; and as all kids do, there is point in our childhood when we forget most of our senses. Granted, I had more than a few episodes, but hey, I am a saved person now. That being said, I was always fascinated by the way my aunt stored her money, particularly her coins. This was back in the day, when coins were actually in circulation and were worth something.
There was the usual putting of cash notes in the breast or under trays, but my favorite, was seeing my aunt loosen her wrapper, bundle up her coins at the edge of the wrapper and then tie the wrapper back around her waist. You literally had to go through her to get her coins. My mama never did that so It was fascinating to see.
I spent most of my time in my aunt’s place and there were always coins lying around the house. Well, I remember wearing my orange lace, going to my aunt’s house as usual and seeing her coins lying around. Making sure no one was seeing me, I picked a few coins at a time and stashed them at the edge of my wrapper, the same way she did, except this time, no one knew, and the coins weren’t mine. But of course, I didn’t think I was stealing, even though I made sure no one saw me picking up the coins. I told you I left my brain behind that holiday.
You know what they say, many days for the thief and one day for the owner (get it, thief? I was taking coins? Oh heck.. I’ll keep working on my jokes and puns).
So I got back home with my little hidden stash of coins and then, to my utmost shock, my mum decided redo my wrapper for me. The same wrapper that had coins which weren’t mine in them. I couldn’t protest, that would be suspicious, I couldn’t run either, so I simply stood there like mannequin, a guilty mannequin. She untied the wrapper and just like the Adele’s song, the coins sang “Hello from the other side”. I was screwed and I knew it.
I just stood there, mortified, but I think my mum was even more mortified than I was. And the worse part was, if you asked if I was stealing, I would probably say no because I didn’t think I was. But then again, “did my aunt give me the money”… “No”
“did she or anyone know I had taken the money”… “No”.
It didn’t look good for me at all. I had heard of stories where children were beaten, in the Nigerian term “black and blue”, that day was going to be my day to experience it.
My mum sent my siblings and cousin out to return the coins; I was left with her. Our house had a big compound and there weren’t many neighbors in the area. I could scream till my lungs deflated, no one would hear me. Basically, I was dead meat. And that was the day my mum showed me that she was more than meets the eyes.
She didn’t beat me, she didn’t even scold me. I think she was probably more shocked than I was at both my stupidity and naivety. Either that or, I had received a couple already that holiday and she was trying out a new discipline tactic.
Now that I think about it though, it’s also possible my two older siblings took the brute of it, because they were in charge of me when we were out the house. I can envision my mum scolding them for not seeing me when I was (stealing) picking up the coins and preventing it from happening.
Either way, I escaped that particular incident unscathed, not that I dared to ever do it again. I can honestly say, my wrapper has been free of coins ever since.
And Just for the record, the little girl in this story (Amina Garba) did somethings back then, but Ameena k.g (me) is a different person.
Thats it for today… wishing you loads of love, laughter and coffee.