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Ma testifies, that while growing up, the surfacing of the year’s embers were often like soothing stones that douse the pressure of Dad's quarrying across cities and busy offices in his un-'readymade' attires.

Even the deadbeats somewhat get reinvigorated in sync with the times like their yearly resolutions have suddenly been resolved –like their long-awaited ‘big break’ was finally in view.  This notwithstanding doesn’t mean that one wouldn’t find an unorthodox shirtless driver in one of those overcrowded Jeepneys (molue) that once ploughed Oshodi area; the type that’d consider this bizarre –but happy– atmosphere rather unbearable, if not suspicious.

CAPTION: Molue and Danfo buses at Bolade Oshodi prior to 2009 when BRT and LAG buses were introduced (

She once felt that the time of the year, with its glitz and glam was what it was, not because of the sudden epiphany that the sky could be painted in different colours. I also doubted if there wasn’t more –beyond the night-lights– to the fact that muggers steer clear of certain alleyways. Maybe it all gets glittery ‘cos of the flowers that bloom in people's hearts. Or, maybe Ma just attributes everything to people being innately good.

While the birth of Christ was a big deal to that body of foreign-attired and ‘strange in the head’ families on the outskirt of town –claiming to be following in his ‘words’, she had often been more curious about where those erring fowls. Those ones who’d naturally gallivant close to the dinner table with their three or four chickens startling you by picking between your toes. Where do they go? Do they all of a sudden just manifest owners? That, however, is definitely not as surprising as finding the Imam's daughter with her flowery Hijab haggling at rice, puree and frozen chicken stalls.

CAPTION: Everyone’s craving at Christmas (  )

If Ma had followed the Stormlight Archive, she’d have told this story differently. It’d have something similar to: “If I were born in Roshar, I could bet the season –from back then– would be filled with a bevy of anticipationspren swarming Shadesmar, and sweating in what’d be frenzy in the harmattan breeze.”  Of course, those would have just too many –she included– who only care for the Jollof and ‘who gets the laps’ to feed on.

She once showed my siblings and I a print-like scald on her right thumb and  reminisces on how she had been real good at salvaging half-spent ‘bangers’ for the boys. While I may go sober thinking of how painful the fresh burn must have been for her, telling this story always shows me a glimpse of the happy and mischievous girl she must have been. I can bet she was what you'd call a tomboy today —until she learned the hard way to be what you really are according to societal standards.

CAPTION: This becomes half-spent when one supposed to make 5-6 bangs produces just 2. Only those who know how can prevent this waste. I say no more.

When I think about the many Christmas stories I heard growing up –a bulk from books and much more of Ma’s version– I remember my disappointment at the fact that the school bully also gets a gift regardless of not ‘being a good boy’. I could have had a fun-fair for my childhood if I had not wasted all of my mischief by being a typical good boy.  The promise of gifts based on how good one had been throughout the year is just too fancy, and well… it is a trap. A play on the child’s ignorance.

I do not want to be a typical spoiler –as I have been tagged by some wonderful readers of my poem, Santa Stories ( ) but... Santa turned out to be a sturdy figure in red and white for me, as prescribed —and it's the excitement of meeting the real thing that makes kids oblivious to their father's absence or how that stranger on whose lap they sit to take pictures —while doing the peace sign pose— happens to sound a lot like him or one of their neighbours.

CAPTION: An alternative to the ‘peace sign’ is freaking the hell out!
( )

These days, #2000, when I think of the year grabbing its wrapper after its rounds of unsolicited sex with all of humanity— the jingle bell in the market stalls no longer seems fancy. The stall owner, with his firm A-stance and blank face somewhat makes me think that the bells are reminders –telling his wife in the next stall, to keep an eye on her bone-straight hairs and warning me, to not go haggling away his time.

I will be on my way, thank you.

In fact, Ma says the smell of desperation is becoming too much of a rocking boat in our world of eggshells. I cannot deny that she is right since... well, the boys need something with which to 'live life' and 'ball', and the girls need something that would augment the fault in their vertebrae.

Is it too late to place the quote out there?

"The year rounding up is no deadline to one’s achievement nor is it a time-sheet for which to put oneself under undue pressure.” 

-J. Olayinka Olarinoye, 2020.

In my hood, whether in an uncompleted building in Oniru, or in a room and parlour self-contain in Sango Ota, Ogun state, it would still be another Detty December. Here, while the bangs of knockouts keep me up, it is not that I am not used to the noise... I am more concerned about my neighbour’s new generator and the invitation card –not to a wedding– attached to it. Pending that drama, I shall continue my brooding on 'how growing up is treating me.'

CAPTION: This quote is here for its historical connotation. I am a proud historian!
( )

Till next time,

I am yours -a cheeky line, but one I like- 'Epiphany'.

And YES! Compliments of the Season!

Detty December

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