It was usually unplanned…

Fate was often responsible

Everyone was fed

Everyone was home.

Maybe the sound of crickets

Maybe of silence

Maybe of lousy, gossiping generators

But the mood was right.


The meal was praised

And so were the cooks

It was time for stories

But not from books

Most of them we’ve heard before

Most of them new

We always had favorites,

Among the old, too.


Dad would speak of his youthful days

And of his childhood

He’ll tell us of the farms

He’ll tell us of the wine

He’ll tell us of his charms

He was a lady’s man,

His friends were always jealous

But he never was interested


He loved his books more

He was always first in class

And was very good at maths

He even got a scholarship

And a job right out of school

Then he met our mother

He loved her first,

Or she loved him first,


They never quite agreed.

But after months of wooing,

The wedding was the doing.

Mother’s turn was next

She’ll talk of her beauty

In the good old days

She always had her proof

In the pictures of black and white


She worked in the farms as well.

She sold garri and corn

And water and wood.

She planted in fields for a charge

And fetched water too.

She would make the fire

And cook

She was so good


Two villages away could smell her pot.

The stories would go on into the night

We’ll hear of wicked uncles and aunts

Who they stayed with in the city

Our hearts would boil with rage

And sometimes with pity.


All that is past now.

Dad is now a big man

With a beautiful wife

And smart kids.

I think of these scenes

And I think again.

How did the family life change so much?

I thought progress was the aim

But I guess we missed again.


Now, we have this for that;

TV for quality time

Privacy for communion

Abuse for respect

Rebellion for submission

Neglect for attention

Conflict for communication


Why can’t we have a

better relationship with family?

Who really knows you for you

In all your flaws and strengths?

Who would love you truly

Till your last breath?

If your answer is that six letter word,

Hope still is.

Let’s work toward to a future

That looks a lot like the past.


Written by Aneta Chinsell – an OAP, Poet and Spoken Word Artist.

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