Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Had A Great Father, One Of The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boys Of World War II

(In memory of my father Sunday Eke)

Daddy, you were a warrior from Umuahia in Eastern Nigeria and proved yourself as one in Burma during the World War 2 and returned home as one of the heroes of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF).
But you never told me about your exploits in Burma, because I was too young to understand until when you passed on and my uncles gave me the graphic illustrations and even how you always used your World War II bugle to call a fellow Word War II hero in the village.
The only thing you showed me was your violin which you never taught me how to play, because you did not want me to do music. And to prove it, you threw away my first recording contract from the U.S when I was only 18.
But at 18 from my earnings as a TV script writer and TV puppeteer I could afford to pay thousands of naira for your medical bills for months until you passed away that fateful day on November 19, 1983.
So, unforgettable and so regrettable, because you left behind a heavy burden. Yet I thank God for the grace that has seen me through the challenges of your absence.

Daddy, I am still proud of you and guess what?
I am launching outdoor cinemas in Lagos on Saturday June 22, at the Old Broad Street Prison grounds opposite the General Hospital on Lagos Island. In fact, you would be wowed to see how they turned the prison into the Freedom Park, and transformed where Prof. Wole Soyinka was jailed during the Nigerian civil war into a tourist attraction.
Just a walk from where Sheila Cinema and Royal Cinema used to be and not so far away from our most frequented Kings Cinema in Lafiaji.
I remember the many evenings you often took us to the open air Kings Cinema, Sheila, Royal and Plaza to watch the movies of cowboys and Indians fighting, starring Marion Mitchell Morrison (May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), better known by his stage name John Wayne and war films like my all time favourite "A Bridge Too Far" in 1977 and also Bollywood stars Dharmendra and Jeetendra with Bollywood beauties like Hema, Malini and Helen.
It would have been great if you could just appear at the launch of Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema on Saturday and I would be proud to introduce you to the audience.

Daddy, my memories of you are unforgettable and if I continue, I will never stop recalling them all.
All I can say now is, I miss you every time I see a movie or hear the violin and of course the bugle.

Happy Father's Day my great daddy!

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