When The Umoidems Gather
Not one for the early bird rise, I stretched my limbs as I struggled to get out of the comfy feeling of my bed. It's been a long year, spent mostly away from the greenery and fresh wind of the village. Stepping out of the room to the fog of the winter, the sparkling dew still dripping from the leaves and the cold breeze caressing my face made me shiver just as my rough and bushy beards tinged.
How different the wonders of nature in the village and its distinction from the heat of the city. It was the peak of the harmattan with the sun streaming in its most fiery nature, but then still overshadowed by the cold of the harmattan breeze. It would've been a perfect morning to sweat it out with a jog, but as I stepped down from the verandah, I felt a tightening in my hamstring.
"nope, not today then" I thought to myself as I stretched and walked back into the house in a bid to release the tightening. The change of mind meant I would rather engage in indoor workout in an attempt to sweat through the morning cold. Not one to suffer too much pains, I lazily did some push ups and sit-ups.
I thought I was helping my life with the exercises, when my sister just walked by hissing at my lazy endeavors. She is usually my biggest cheerleader, but she always thinks working out makes me look like an overfed chicken.
But that did not deter me, especially when I perceived a sweet and nose swelling aroma emanating from the kitchen where she rules supreme. I knew that every lost energy and mockery will be equally satisfied and replenished.
It was a Christmas morning and the otherwise quiet and scanty compound was now swelling with family and loved ones. The family houses were still receiving returnees with their usual gay selves and much fanfare from their dependents who mostly cheered for what will probably come out of the boxes instead of real happiness at seeing them.
Having burned the little calories I never had, and coming out to bath a little bit in the morning's breeze which was still raving, I met the arrival of one of those we usually refer to as "the exiles. The exiles are those who don't stay too far away from the village, but rarely visit home. And when they do, they pretend to be richer and more civilized than us 'in the village'.
But then we know that they're broke and only come home on the D-day and run off again immediately after the festivities, hence the title "the exiles". An entitled lot, they expect to be treated by royalty whenever they're in town.
"not today aunty and your battalion" I thought as I just waved a welcome accompanied by a wry smile in their direction and went back inside. I could feel her smirk as I strutted back triumphantly into the living room, knowing how much of a laugh we were going to mint out of the situation between me, my siblings and my cousins.
The morning went on smoothly with a lot of noise, banters and laughter, but above all, a lot of pots and different species of aromas swirling through the air from different houses in the compound. It was a typical Christmas morning with the Umoidems, and me, my siblings and cousins were getting into the groove, dissing each other and salivating at the different delicacies awaiting our taste buds from our different houses.
Few minutes later and our mother's voices started dispersing our little gatherings. That was when we knew that it was time for the usual family tradition. Food trays carefully packaged and covered started intersecting in directions as the different houses started sharing their meals to the others.
The "thank yous" were not delivered with the messengers to the different houses, but instead were delivered personally from one house to the other. The compound started vibrating with screams of "thank you mommy Prosper", "thank you o mommy Gift", "thank you o mommy Precious". The melody of the love shared could be felt throughout surroundings.
At that point, you can't pass by our street without knowing that the Umoidems have gathered and their love and camaraderie has been envied and seen to be exemplary irrespective of their differences.
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