He was one of those people who made you feel like you were the only person in the room. And considering the fact that he probably knew everyone else in the room, it made you feel even more special.
He loved good food, and always went on and on about how well his wife could cook. He loved her- no doubt about that. He called her ‘meine liebe Frau’, which means ‘my dear wife’ in German, and he gave her a kiss every time he left the house and every time he came back.
He knew something about everything. Just sitting across someone in a room, he could more often than not accurately guess where the person was from- by either the way the person looked or how the person spoke. He was always the first to put out his hand and say hello. His rich baritone voice and his dimpled smile immediately put you at ease.
He had a hearty laugh- the animated kind. The funnier the joke, the longer he laughed. Sometimes it seemed like his pot belly caught onto the joke. He always said that his pot belly was a trophy- a reward for all the good food and good wine he had had in his day. He said it would be unfair if his tummy could not show off its wealth of experience.
He was very fashion conscious. I have seen pictures of him in bell-bottoms and an afro, as well as pictures of him in a killer tuxedo. He knew all the perfumes and colognes that needed to be known- he had a good nose 🙂 He had music from all over the world- jazz, Zulu folk songs, classical music, even Daddy Lumba cassettes! He would either bob his head to the tune, or do his signature 1960 footworks thing.
He doted on his daughters. He always said that if he had to rank all his achievements, his daughters would be at the very top. People say he spoiled them like granddaughters because he had them so late in life. I, for one, know that they didn’t complain. He always had time to talk, no matter what time of the day it was- and it didn’t matter what the topic was.
He was wise. He was witty. He was confident, maybe a little too confident. He was real. He was a giver. He was special. They don’t make them like him anymore…
©Maukeni Padiki Kodjo, 2014