The thunder sounded like the fart of a dysentery-afflicted Amadioha and the lightning that came with it illuminated the area on a grassy hill where festivities were on-going.
Some of the Lolo Ugolo Ohazurike’s very favourite people had gathered within the Umunakwe Hall, but still she had grown weary of conversation, so she discreetly ambled away from those fine folk, retreating to a deserted corner of the parlour and letting the party continue without her.
Ugolo beckoned a wrapper-clad attendant, the youngest son of the Nkem family that was catering the affair, and he came bearing a silver platter of assorted meat.
“Do not plan on leaving my side any time soon, boy,” Ugolo told him. “I am suddenly quite famished, and I shall let you know when I am sated.”
From the array of victuals, the Lolo Ugolo Ohazurike took a small bacon-wrapped sausage by the toothpick and consumed it as delicately as befitted a woman of her age and dignity. But so delightful was its smoky succulence that in mere moments she had practically inhaled three more before realising her lapse in decorum.
“Forgive me, boy,” Ugolo said, surreptitiously glancing about, worried that the guests might have noticed her faux pas. “Those are perhaps the tastiest morsels I have ever encountered, and I am embarrassed to say, they momentarily made a pig of me.”
“There’s nothing to forgive, Lolo,” he replied. “It’s the sincerest compliment we in the catering business may receive.”
“Well thank you, dear boy,” the Lolo Ohazurike said. “Everything looks so good. I suppose I can hardly be blamed.” She considered having another bacon-wrapped sausage, but selected instead a corn cake covered with a creamy white spread and ate it in two dainty bites. “Delectable,” she declared. “Tell me, boy, what is atop these corn cakes?”
“Nene juice,” he answered.
“And what of those addictive delicacies I so enjoyed?” Ugolo said. “What were they made from?”
“The sausage is stuffed with meat from Nene’s sister, Nkechi,” the boy replied, “and the bacon carved from their mother, Lady Bianca.”
All of a sudden, the Lolo looked rather stricken, her mouth agape and eyes brimming with tears.
“An Umunakwe family recipe, one might say,” young Nkem added with a mischievous grin.
“Bianca…and her daughters…” the Lolo uttered, her voice heavy with grief. “Those comely lasses always whetted my late husband’s appetite. Quite taken with thoughts of their flesh, he was. If only he were still alive, my dearest Okonkwo would have been thrilled to partake of it with me.” For a moment, it seemed she might lose herself to sorrow, but instead Ugolo smiled once more. “I shall honour his memory by truly savouring tonight’s fare.”
“Chief Ohazurike was a great man and a generous patron of my family’s culinary arts,” the boy said solemnly. “Even as you honour him, though, may I advise against filling up on the Umunakwe women? I dare say we’ve outdone ourselves in preparing the patriarch of this hall for this evening’s fête.”
The Lolo Ugolo chuckled. “I have always found Mazi Obinna Umunakwe to be quite distasteful,” she said, “but I have every confidence that his presence will be far more palatable tonight.”
Written by Johannu Afere