Happy 55th Wedding Anniversary
On November 21, 2014 Deo volente – Ethel and I have been married for 55 years. According to my mother, it was on the cards that I would marry Ethel. Her story was that, when I was a little kid, every time I saw a pretty girl, I would refer to her as Ethel nke abua (Ethel the Second). If memory serves, she told this story long before I made any moves toward Ethel.
By birth and blood, Ethel and I validate the oft-quoted Igbo adage that the offspring of a snake is usually long, which – in less dramatic English – means that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Pretty much like her dad, Ethel is decisive in character and demeanor and, to boot, a political-cum-community activist. On the other hand, and not unlike my dad, I am somewhat retiring and hesitant.
We go a long, long way – Ethel and I. Our families, too, go a long way. Our parents knew themselves before I was born (in 1930). According to legend, my father would have married Ethel’s mother, had the taboos and mores of society not supervened. One thing is for sure: had that marriage taken place, there would not have been an Ethel or a Chike.
The family connections did not end there. My father bought our Aba house from her father, when the Z.C Obi family relocated from Aba to Port Harcourt. I was an occasional holiday-maker in the Obi family home in Port Harcourt through my high school and university years. Oddly, for what was to come later, I never once made a move towards Ethel in all those years. Talk about being too timid and bashful for one’s own good!! Indeed, so far from doing anything for myself, I was coaxed by a high school friend (who shall remain nameless) into helping him to approach Ethel, on whom he clearly had designs.
It is said that opposites attract. I do not know about that. But Ethel and I did not jump into our marriage because we were opposites or because of our starry-eyed love for each other. The ungarnished truth is partly that it was, as my own mother predicted, on the cards that I would marry her, and partly that we found ways to reconnect when she was a nursing student in England and I was a senior civil servant in Enugu, in the mid nineteen-fifties; and, more importantly, that she was willing to take the leap of faith with me when I proposed to her.
Chief Chike Momah
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