I can remember that on my first visit to Port Harcourt in 1996, my father was taking me on a tour of the town and he drove me down to PPMC. I met Uncle Yinusa Adio. Later in the week, he announced to me that I will be going for hols in the Adios’ residence, few days later he drove me to the residence of the Adios and waved, saying goodbye. I wondered why he would drop in the house of those I don’t know, not just to visit but to stay with for a while. That was the beginning of this relationship with this family.

I was compelled to stay because Aunty was very hospitable enough to keep a restless lad like me. The highpoint of this hols was the personal brewery of Aunty that produces fruit juice and she has her cold room (refrigerator) in the room that I was hosted. Without making her know my mission, I will pretend to reading a novel then go stay in the room to enjoy the juice. This made me forgive my father in good time. This care was more than he could offer. At this time of visit, Wale has arrived the planet Earth, I can remember another thing about my stay, he was supposed to go for immunization and I went with Aunty in a taxi. I felt good for I was the little boy assigned by Uncle to help for the day. I knew that I went home with a hamper that I can’t remember.

I came to Ibadan to tell my Mum about the family and since then whenever my Dad come home, I would ask of my Aunty in Port Harcourt. In the same vein, she kept a tab on me by asking my father about my academic progress. At the advent of GSM, when I had my first line in 2004, the numbers of the Adios’ was the first to collect from him. I even made a mistake in Aunty’s number. Whenever I called the number, a Hausa man picks the phone and I was alarmed until I knew that I was calling a wrong number.

Keeping in touch with this family made it easy for me to connect with the family when they moved to Lagos. I can’t forget the day we met at Redemption Camp with the whole family, my visit to Alapere-Ketu, an area that I have fond memories of whenever I visited friends that stay there now. Towards the advent of Olu, I met Uncle alone in the camp. I can’t just forget. All of this qualifies me to be an integral part of the family.

Sooner or later, Uncle moved to Abuja and the family had to move again. While I was serving in Borno State. I had the opportunity of being a contingent to the Annual National Dance and Drama Competition of the Director-General of NYSC, December, 2007. I used this medium to visit my second home. That was the last time, I paid a visit but I have been kept abreast of recent development. In my attempt to be an entrepreneur, Aunty was there telling me to send a mail of my findings to Uncle when he was out of the country. Another comforting thing is the concern of Aunty to ensure that I get a good job. When I told her of the shift nature of the job, she asked, “are you sure you are enjoying the job?”. At every point, she will always want my comfort. I have not been kept in the dark as regards the family. With these, I am a bona fide member of the family.

Wale is also my name and Gbenga is my younger brother’s name, we have replica in the house. I am glad to be an adopted member of this family and I can’t fold my hands not to celebrate God’s faithfulness over the years you have spent in marriage. The strength, the courage and the ability to continue in this bond will rest on the family. The sweet savour of oneness will be forever in this bond. You have been a good example of what marriage should be like and I will follow in your steps. Bon anniversaire.

Your boy.

(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
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