Diary Of A Pastor’s Son (I) The Devil’s Box and Daddy’s Radio Set
Being born in a Deeper Life pastor’s family came with pleasant restrictions and annoying norms.
Back in the days, because ‘the devil’s box’ was not allowed in a Christian home, our definition of entertainment was the radio set.
It’s 7pm, time for Deeper Life ‘Freedom Hour’ on Vision Africa FM, dad orders the family to grab their Bibles, report to the sitting room, girls and mum wrap their heads with oversize scarves, take several seats and listen to Kumuyi draw every single syllable like thick okra soup
“In Jeeeeesuuuus naaaaaaaaaame we praaaaaay!”
Dad would wear this pious straight face and nod through the ‘sigh mourn’ until 7.30, taking notes and flipping bible pages.
Did I mention you dare not doze off? Not even by mistake.
Mum sleeps though. You don’t wake the queen mother.
Nigeria plays against Argentina
We, dad and siblings, sit before the big noisy radio set to watch[scratch that] listen to football.
It’s a goooaaaal!
We’d visualize Okocha’s dribbles, Kanu’s numerous falls, Aghaghowa’s whatever, Enyema’s flop and the opponent’s scores in our minds and then leap in victory, singing ‘when Nigeria win Brazil.
But it was the opponent that scored.
Dad have a thing for Radio Nigeria. A strong thing.
A very strong thing.
He knows every radio presenter in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Enugu regional stations by name.
He had favourites presenters, female, male.
That rare glint on his face when they pronounce native names so accurately. Then he’ll proceed to badmouth new generation OAPs.
‘All what they are good at is speak spri spri and speak from the nose’
He’ll mock with gusto.
Ah daddy! Joyless retro.
Had favorite programmes, political, religious, entertainment.
So we got used to it.
Morning. 7’oclock news.
Dad tunes in.
Volume raised to cloud nine. Everybody must listen to the AM news.
I will not write about the pile of newspapers we read back then.
Dad made us avid readers and radio listeners
[Now you know why I know so much about Nigeria and her faux unity in diversity]
Siblings and I got used to it. We acclimatized.
I will not tell you how we’d sneak into our neighbour’s to see Papa Ajasco and other popular TV series, back then.
Memorized every jingle, tagline, advert, intro, you name it.
We’d coin versions of em.
BCA radio tagline comes up next. Local drums and croaky voices pour out of the speakers.
BCA radio, ogele Abia state [the gong of Abia state]
What siblings and I hear: ‘BCA radio, oke n’Abia skirt’ [rats in Abia’s skirt]
Truth is, there were rats everywhere.
Radio Nigeria: ‘uplifting the people and uniting the nation’
What we hear: ‘afflicting the people and scattering the nation’
I will not write how we intentionally rendered the radio useless, because ‘boring’.
Because ‘crave for visuals’.
How this radio survived, I do not know.
It’s still here, antiqued.
Forgive us, father.
Fast forward to the present, the devil’s box sits like king of kings, in my sitting room, yet not one of us pays obeisance to the god of motion pictures.
It’s just there, for decor, maybe, watching itself.
While we go about our chores, listening only to the colourful allure of its sound waves.
And oh, I love my daddy, from here to the moon and [don’t even think it, I won’t come back]
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Jaachi Anyatonwu is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachi is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.
Reflecting on the birth of Christ, the reason he came and what doom awaits whoever treats his love like a piece of rag, I prayed to not be found among them who refused the dawn he brought with him – salvation. May I be not among those who was opposed the glowing grace of the son of God.