He always wore suits. That’s how I remember him.
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And it’s probably only because my memories of my father have been kept alive by the dozens of photos my mum displayed on framed pictures or kept safely in photo albums.
Perhaps they were always taken when he had just arrived from work or when he was leaving for work, or during or after an event.
I realised this recently when my mum shared a few family photos on WhatsApp. I can’t picture my dad wearing anything else. I don’t think I ever saw a picture of him in a T-shirt or a loose cotton shirt.
And so I’m longing for the lockdown to be lifted so I can to go home and scour the photo albums just to catch a glimpse of my late dad in something other than a suit.
I think the reason is that I’ve always associated suits with formality. Yet my dad was anything but formal around us. What I remember most is his laughter. He had a unique laugh that made everyone join in even though they didn’t quite know what they were laughing at.
And whenever he walked into the house, he would call out, “habari gani!” in a sing-song way. We would all run to him to swing on his arms and legs and climb on his back in excitement before checking what he had brought home.
One picture I have of him is of him riding my brother’s bicycle in our front yard – while wearing, yep you guessed it, a suit.
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So I guess the photographs of him in his suit signified how the times he took a little time from his busy schedule to pause and have a little bit of fun. And it’s the collection of those precious few minutes that make up the memory of a man who worked hard to provide for his family but also made sure he took a little time out to play and laugh with them.
What memories will you leave for your children?
Happy Father's Day to all the dads and father figures out there.
Christine Koech, Editor, Eve