Uncle Deolu was far from perfect but he was one of those people who affected your life in the perfect way. He was one of those people God placed in each family as a comic relief; he could do no wrong and he was so loaveable. He was the only male I ever knew with a firm reed of goodness. He also had a problem that haunted him; a drinking problem. However, it was not the first impression anyone would have of him.
He had a large nose and big eyes like my father who was his elder brother. He was the cool Uncle from Lagos who kept is hair in an Afro, read comics and magazines instead of newspapers and danced in public. Every time he visited Oshogbo, there was always something different about his appearance. He changed his style frequently because he said life was too short to remain on one spot.
While I was growing up, I remembered him as the uncle who showed up at every family Christmas dinner and he helped my mum and my two Aunties in the kitchen while my Dad and other males remained in the living room watching TV and talking about the the crumbling Democratic government and the Nigerian Super Eagles.
Mum and aunties always agreed on Uncle Deolu seasoning the chicken and seasoning the jollof rice because he always insisted on helping them. He would slip in tiny pieces of chicken in my mouth while the others weren't looking and confirmed when the salt was enough in the chicken sauce.
My father usually disapprove of me staying with the women cooking but Uncle Deolu would let me do whatever I wanted.
"If he wants to learn how to cook let him. Must every boy watch
football and talk about Obasanjo like you do?" He would say and my father would give up.
The thing was I didn't exactly like to watch my mother cook nor I wanted to learn how to cook but I always wanted to stick with Uncle Deolu. He was the opposite of my father and I loved him more.
He took life seriously but at the same time not as seriously as my father did. He mastered the art of balance in everything he did.
Uncle Deolu was also a good listener. He listened to everyone else talk about their issues as a family and he would support them or give them advice when they needed it. Whenever he was around in my parent's house, the whole room erupted into friendly family discussions and arguments and laughter. Hid voice was a voice of reason and it's melody gave sanity to my family. He taught me how to ride a bike because my father was fed up trying to teach me as I was always falling off the bicycle each time he yelled at me.
Uncle Deolu bought me comic books and story books every month and patted my hair whenever I hugged him.
However, because he was such a good listener listening to other people's problems, he never talked about himself. No one knew a real thing about him.
Suzan Ajiboye is a writer from Nigeria deeply interested in African literature, Cultural storytelling, freelance writing, poetry and critical essays constantly proving that writing is definitely limitless.
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