Happy Thanksgiving?

by Miatta Sandy


What thanskgving looks like in my west african household. Lots of laughter, threats and love.


"Turn the fire on under that gumbo Isaiah. And tell your sister to get off the phone and come help us out in the kitchen now!" said mama.

"Yes ma'am."

I hurriedly went down the door way with a smirk on my face to interrupt my sister's phone conversation with her melon head boyfriend.

"Nyema! mama said get off the phone and come help us out in the kitchen. She said you're going to be one pathetic wife that won't even know how to boil water for her husband".

Okay, fine, mama didn't say that last part I added it just to get on her nerves.

"Girl you know I love you, I won't rush you into you. I can wait."

I overheard Nyema's boyfriend through her phone speaker. He better not be talking about what I think it is. I'm not too worried though. Nyema is a smart girl, with a good head on her shoulders. She won't allow anyone boy to mislead her. Anyhow, it was my duty as her big brother to look after her. If I didn't do so who would? We were preparing dinner for thanksgiving. My father was still at work, and mom wanted to always have hot meal ready for him every night he arrived home.

"Isaiah, please stop chopping my tomatoes so big" said mom.

"Alright ma you got it."

I heard Nyema's door slammed shut and her footsteps towards the kitchen.

"Ooh look, the princess of England has finally graced us with her presence. If it's not ashy lip Nyema," I said taunting my sister.

"I'm not paying you no mind, Isaiah. I can't wait till you graduate next year and leave for college. Make sure you choose a school in Zimbabwe or something. You know, some place far away from us."

"Real funny, ashy lips. By the way I saved these onions for you, so get chopping."

I knew Nyema hated chopping onions, the more reason I reserved them just for her. Secretly I loved my little sister, but I couldn't tell her that. I enjoyed being her annoying elder brother. It brought joy to my day and excitement to hers. At least that is what I wanted to believe.

At exactly eight o' clock pops got home and in his hands were fresh daisies he picked up for mama. Mama looked up and her eyes lit up underneath the chandelier lights as she watched her husband walking towards her with a bouquet of flowers. I loved their love. It was so pure and authentic. Pops knew how to take care of his lady. He often gave me advice on the ladies and I must say, I've been called prince charming a couple of times in my days. Anyway enough about that. The table had been set and it was time to eat our Thanksgiving dinner. Dad said the grace, which literally took ten whole minutes. If I forgot to mention it, let me tell you now, my father is the senior pastor at our local church and mama is the first lady. And when pops prayed, he really prayed. He finally finished and we all said a relieving "amen!"

"Ooh, mama you did that! The turkey is delicious. And Nyema next time, please make sure you chop the onions smaller. I almost choked from your big onions". I said teasing her.

"I wish you would have choked" said Nyema sarcastically.

Mama raised her glass and cleared her throat for a word or two.

  "To my husband, I thank God for granting me all that I wanted in a man. You are truly an     incredible man, and I appreciate all that you do for this family and the community."

How sweet I thought to myself. The two love birds never ceased to surprise me. I expected that one.

"To Isaiah and Nyema, you both have been an absolute delight. You are truly heaven sent, and I'm thankful that you both live your lives as a good example to others."

"Awe, we love you too" said Nyema.

"I'm not finished" mama said.

"I wanted to remind you both that your bodies are the temple of the Lord. Sex is not something you do casually. It comes with many consequences you know. There are sexually transmitted diseases to think about, soul ties, pregnancy and most importantly, dishonoring God's temple."

It was typical for mama to break out in these awkward conversations. For a Thanksgiving speech though? I did not see that one coming.

Nyema sat up in her chair as she responded to mama's speech.

"Yes mama, I made a vow to God that I would save myself until marriage, just like you and daddy did. Shoot, I need my bride price to be larger than life." said Nyema.

I was a proud big brother for sure knowing that Nyema had made such an honorable decision. She's my little sis and I wanted nothing but the best for her.

"And how about you, Isaiah?" said pops.

I cleared my throat.

"Well, mama, pops. I broke into Mariah's temple six months ago and we're having a baby girl."

"What!? You foolish he goat!" said pops.

Not knowing what next to say I raised my glass cup and said, "Happy Thanksgiving?".

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