An angel touched me 20 years ago


Today marks the 20th anniversary of my engagement to Mama Jimmy, the mother to my heirs and life-long partner. For a long time, this was the most special and memorable of my days, and I treasured every promise we made to each other.

Trouble is that after two decades of marriage, too many things have been crammed into my rusty mind that I have practically forgotten this “special day”.

You see, like most men in this republic, I only remember the few holidays that are marked red in the calendar.

Valentine’s Day is not one of them, and neither is the anniversary of our engagement, or the day we first kissed, or the first time she took me to see her clan.

According to a research I conducted recently (at the local pub), very few men in my county celebrate these anniversaries.

My friend Odhiambo dismisses these “holidays” as nothing more than mzungu business, providing the perfect excuse for the middle class to throw their usual bashes and invite their friends around.

“In the process, you end up spending more money than sense, celebrating a holiday which you invented for yourself,” he scoffs.

Well, this sentiment is not shared by the lady of my house. She expects me to commit these “holidays” to memory, while insisting that I must buy her a special gift in celebration.

To her credit, Mama Jimmy deserves special treatment, given her special position in my life. I hate to wax poetic, but she is the reason for my living, the sunshine of my life and the wind beneath my wings.

To keep it short and sweet — and for the sake of our younger readers — let’s just say that she is totally “dope.”

Over the years, she has loved and stood by me through countless storms. Before she came about, my life was in a shambles. Bachelorhood was not a bed of roses. My kitchen was a perennial mess, and my house became a game park hosting all manner of wildlife.


I boasted a rodent population that grew faster than our current insecurity rate, and do not get me started on the spiders, which had some real estate all over the walls. You could rightly say that I was living in a “website.”

Thus, I resorted to what every bachelor must do at some point: a flight of good old wife-hunting. I scouted in the church, supermarkets, Lonely Hearts columns and every other place one would expect to find a potential spouse. Alas! I was not lucky, and I almost gave up on this hopeless mission.

Then, out of the blue, Mama Jimmy walked into my life and put an end to my misery. Life started afresh, and the erstwhile lonely bachelor became one happy man. You could say that I was touched by an angel.

On Tuesday evening, I was relaxing on my favourite couch after a donkey’s day at work when the topic of our anniversary came up.

“So dear, what special thing will you buy me to mark our little holiday next Sunday?” Mama Jimmy asked dreamily, her eyes trained on me.

The question caught me off guard, as I was not aware of any coming event, and “next Sunday” did not click as a holiday in my mental calendar. Still, I had to say something.

“Er...I will do some extra shopping for you,” I stammered. Her face fell, and I could see what appeared to be clouds gathering on it.

“I remember you saying we need a few more items for the festive season”, I hammed it up, but I could tell from the disappointment on her face that we were not on the same wavelength.

“Those things can wait,” she said calmly. “What romantic thing shall you do to mark our day?” she quizzed. Now I was completely lost, and she decided to jolt my memory.

“Baba Jim, Sunday is the anniversary of our engagement. How can you offer me shopping for a gift?” she demanded, looking flustered.

Seeing that I might stammer myself into more trouble, I gave in. After all the years of pampering, I certainly owe her some special treatment for this “important day”, much as I cannot pinpoint it on the calendar.

I promised to take her out for a candlelit dinner, to be followed by a romantic movie. I might also take a selfie or two to commemorate the event.