THE BIRTH OF THE SKETCHES -Fireside stories (PePa)

The cows mow,the goats bleat,sheep are all but in a baa frenzy as the rain pours heavily outside,neighbours children are out playing in the relentless showers of rain.

Outside are trades of puddles upon same of water above rocks and stones,a slip upon which would send a basket atop head toppling over and skirts flaring out.Remember those long beautiful,crisp pleated marindas?those that came in codes of mixed colours,a combination that rivalled even the rainbow?

Oh that magnificent bow up above and beyond the mountains,or is it hill-tops?back then they was mountains in my head…when teacher asked to name the mountains in Kenya,I would be first to say,”Mt. Legetet!” Am sure you never even heard of such a name but that was the hill in my village.

We are all wet alongside my cousins,parents from which I never knew but non of that origin ever mattered in those days,did it now?So here sits Robert wetter than a duck right out a pool of water.Did I mention out in the chicken coop grandma had a fleet of ducks?Fleet,conglomerate,group,school or even herd,does any of that even matter?

All I know is she had a bunch of those fat-bellied ass-swinging,mud-eating birds(they don’t eat mud though,they sort worms in mud) called ducks.And swing their behinds they did and still do,they would give our millennial twerkers a run for their money.But this ain’t a duck story now,is it?

So Robert stands dripping wet,refused to go to school today so grandma punished him by sending him out into the fields to herd the cattle.Little did she know,he loves the outdoors and hillsides more than being enclosed in a four-walled room full of neat-clad children,a desk and teacher with pen and paper with an additional chalk to quip….cane in hand.

Forgive my tirade of memories for sometimes,even pen and paper wonders where we are headed with this task I so bestow upon her,but I love trailing and she,she loves my company so together we must walk,like that slogan that says,”You’ll never walk alone” It is like the founder of this Liverpool slogan had me in mind,a prophet he was.

So before Pepa gets wary of my unending ruminations,we are at the fireplace,a haven if not heaven itself in my heart.Robert is wet wet and his now torn sweater drips from huddling together of cattle and sheep in the rain…the tear must be from a tango with the bushes and branches…a scene that must have been,haha.We laugh at how he can’t sit next to us as he smells of cattle and cattle dung.

He squeezes himself to the far end of this smoky room centred by a beautiful goldish fire hosted by three dark sooty stones.An escalation of warmth and life.”Whoever sits far away from me better make sure they ain’t having tea from the cow I milk,” Robert laughs and threatens.

Seeing our own folly we all become his royal hillariousness’ best friend and huddle even closer to him.

In our midst,the three-stone fireplace fills the room with smoke as we stuff into it stick after stick of firewood,such a source of delight it is to us as grandma cuts off our actions with a threat of no supper in case that fire quenchs off.Our eyes are smoking red yet non of us will move away from this smoky little heaven of our’s.

On the three stones seats a beautiful round black pot and from the size of it,we could always tell that whatever was brothing inside was a full filling recipe.

Grandma was always watchful,making sure the right amount and type of wood was being stuffed into the fire,makes us a menace in actuality.We would wait for grandma’s gaze to stray and then would we stuff under the hot ashes,maize that Robert had picked from the fields during his herding escapades,woe unto him if the owner of the farm ever caught him picking the maize-cob.On this other end of the ashes meanwhile did we stuff mushroom stalks one of us harvested,hahahaha harvested??I meant plucked from under a baobab tree along the school path this morning.

Non of us edges any close to granny as we have gotten the better part of rain on us,this called for a good stroke of the cane which we would not enjoy at this point,like it was meant for enjoyment…we however take advantage of the fact that she is pre-occupied with supper preparation because otherwise we would have been punished to wash up in the rain.

We chit and chat,giggle and play around as sweet aroma oozes from gandma’s black pot of beauty.She clears her throat and we all get attentive jerking from our tirades.She smiles and gives us that amazing grin that we all loved…she brightens up and starts to narrate a story…stories by the fireside.

But this are memories from my past or so I mentioned,huh?So pen and paper has to take leave as we listen to what grandma has to narrate this evening..



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