I lived most of my life not knowing who he was, in the flesh, even though his name had been mentioned occasionally, but usually in hushed tones, by my kin.
I did not understand why we did not live together.
I lived with my maternal grandfather, who was an ardent newspaper reader.
Hardly a day ever went by without him buying the newspaper.
“Here you go, spruce up your knowledge of English and current issues,” he would say while offering me the papers.
And I did exactly that for the period that I lived with him though I would usually find myself drawn to the colourful magazine pullouts in the dailies.
This, however, slowly developed my interest in all that is newsworthy and I soon started gaining an interest in the other sections of the dailies.
One day, while we were watching a television programme, a family member pointed my father out on TV; “He’s a journalist, you know!” she said, as though it was my cue take some form of action.
And the desire to meet him incessantly grew all of a sudden.
We shared something, I guess, despite the apparent unfamiliarity between us; we both had something about newspapers and news, I supposed. I needed to feel like we had a bond.
Fast-forward to many years down the line, I followed the footsteps of my father and pursued a course in journalism. Perhaps I was just seeking to bond with him.
I was an adult when we met so we shed no tears for a lost past. A bond and connection, however, quickly flourished.
He soon picked up from where my grandfather seemingly left, but then did so much more in instilling into me knowledge on contemporary issues.
He seemed to possess the knowledge and answers to all the questions that not only I asked, but also those that others wanted to know.
TAUGHT ME TO READ WIDELY
He zealously strived to introduce me to both the basic and complex concepts that a career in journalism entailed, encouraging me to read, read and read more, on everything. And to never disregard even the tiny details of what I encounter.
I fondly recollect, when I had just joined university and during school holidays, he would make me go to the library, and part of my then silly naivety wondered why I had to spend an entire day in a “boring” library.
Somehow, now, even without being told, I realise the sheer importance of all he always advised me to do, and yearn for those moments he would ask me, “What time are you leaving for the library?”
More importantly, he taught me the value of respect. Regardless of who we encounter, whether young or old, notwithstanding their race, creed, gender or religious affiliation, to always treat them as I would want them to treat me.
Just about three years after our first real-life encounter, we had to bid goodbye. That sad morning in August 2011, I knew I had to proceed without him.
I now realise that, even though I have not achieved yet what he would have envisioned, I am on the right course and with time, it will be as it should be.
Happy Father’s Day, pa.
Culled from Nation Kenya