Sunday, June 22, 2008

Black Sheep and Family

The last funeral I went to - yes that famous one in Kumasi - one the children of the deceased came to the church service almost two hours late. To make matters worse, he made a spectacular entrance into what was then a quiet and orderly service of thanksgiving for his father. Drunk to boot and as loud as you please. No one else seemed particularly surprised - it was expected. To hear the family tell it, this was totally predictable. This was their black sheep in the family.

According to wikipedia - hmmm, funny how that has changed and one no longer says the Oxford dictionary- black sheep is an English language idiom—usually derogatory—which describes an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within one's family. The term originated from the occasional black sheep which are born into a herd of white sheep due to a genetic process of recessive traits. Black sheep were considered commercially undesirable because their wool cannot be dyed as white wool can.

Am sure every family one has one. Mine certainly does. His name is Uncle H. The stories I could tell about this character could be a separate blog in itself!

My earliest memories of Uncle H was the sound of the horn on his truck as he neared our home. The rhythmic blasting that you would hear a full 10 mins before you saw him sounded warning of his imminent arrival. A definet stop over on which ever place in Jamaica he was going, this sound would fill my siblings and I with dread. My mother was sigh resignedly and wonder what the story was going to be this time, or worse still what embarrassing situation would surely follow him like a shadow on this visit. He never failed to disappoint even though we desperately wished he would.

We would hurriedly hide our pocket money as this would be newly found income to used by Uncle H to purchase his next bottle of beer. He was forever broke! Even better, time allowing, we would head over to the neighbour's to wait out his departure, hoping against hope he wouldn't find anything he would then claim unlawful ownership to. He must have had metal detectors for fingers as coins seem to magically find their way from their hiding places into his hands and then into his pocket.

Things came to a head one day when I was home alone. The horn sounded and this time there was no escape. I decided to make the best of it, after all this was my Uncle. Things were going well until he sighted my new pet rabbit. Uncle H immediately launched into the culinary delights of rabbit stews and how this rabbit seemed to be the perfect age and stage! I panicked, no way could I allow him to eat my rabbit! Waiting until he had gone outside the house to get something, I hurriedly snatched up my rabbit and locked Uncle H out of the house. No amount of pleading, threatening or even a few choice words could get me to open that door! Not even when he finally said he was heading up to Mommy did I budge. I was ready to deal with the consequences of that as long as my rabbit remained out of any stew.

When Mommy came home I did get the long lectur on respect for one's elders and family and all that. Did feel sorry that I had given him cause to go and air his grievances at her work place, but all that mattered then, was my rabbit!

Haven't seen him in years, though am always hearing through the grapevine his latest skirmishes with the family and others. I still see him in my minds eye as I write this - larger than and full of life. I guess the older one gets the more one can tolerate one's own eccentricities and others too. Perhaps he wasn't a black sheep after all.


posekyere said...

Hi Denise,
Thanks for another great post.
The way you are describing your uncle makes me wonder if he is not a 'black hyena' as opposed to a 'black sheep'.
Reading this particular post right now my mind is connecting to the mental archives to retrieve the antics of the odd one we have in my own family.
How come these ones are so different from the rest of the family despite same nurture.
Makes you wonder. Wolf among the sheep,if you ask me.
Gee whiz, I choose to postulate that the black sheep in the family is nothing more than the tare sowed by somebody other than the good man of the house.
For all you geneticists out there why don't you undertake a scientific research to uncover the hidden skeletons behind the black sheep syndrome once and for all.

Enjoy your travels

Denise said...

Hi Posekyere - welcome back! Do you have a blog? Would love to read yours too!
Hmm, your theory that this black sheep could be nothing more than tare being sown by someone else other than the good man of the house, would then send one to wonder about the good woman of the house wouldn't it? Though not a geneticist by any stretch of the imagination I hope that such characters are really just a genetic blip in the family history!

posekyere said...

Hi denise,
I once tried blogging and I totally disliked what came out of my effort so now all I do is read-the work of other people that is.
Who know one day I may decide to try again. But for now I guess reading is what gives me the kick.