I miss my grandmother. I mean I miss the beatings that came with her at a certain stage in her (and my) life. General No-nonsense, better than all intelligence agencies in trade craft, grandmother and deliverer of the most systematically executed beatings in history. In her prime disciplinarian days it always started with a question, specifically the same first three words, ‘takati chii nezve… (what did we say about…).’ Those of us who were wise would immediately start clenching those glutes in un-eager expectation of what followed. I would like to report that this wisdom always helped, but it sadly did nothing to take marks from my granny’s tactical superiority. Sadly we both grew up and she went to be with the Lord recently, God rest her soul. Sadder still, in the last days we were more of friends than adversaries (yuck), so I didn’t get any goodbye beatings or anything like that. Which brings me to the brilliant idea that might bring back the beatings, because I miss those. If I were to order my grandmother’s tombstone, I’d ask Almodine to make one for her!
Now some of you might be getting all gooey in the chest thinking, “How sweet of him!” Hold that thought, please, for a second as I lay the description of the granite tombstone I’ll choose for my erstwhile lover. The idea is to provoke those great beatings which I miss terribly. Picture this as my last attempt to get that all important beating, so good in fact that it will leave me uttering my own similar take of ‘the final words of Carina Smyth’. Now, if I were to order my grandmother’s tombstone, I would consider things like:
The right color
My grandmother’s tombstone will be made from gray granite. I’m a bit sad because I would have preferred it if there was white granite around. Understand something, my grandmother was a minimalist who was absolutely abhorrent of anything that was related to standing out. This grey granite will be the first of an ensemble of carefully curated steps to get me my prized beating.
A provocative inscription
Moving on, I would come up with a provoking inscription to keep the momentum going. Remember, its all supposed to help in the build up. It would have to be really really bad. Definitely I would not leave out the important details like names and dates. That’s where the pleasantries would end. No more. I would tell the team at Almodine to just put something that says, “Rest in peace.” Only that. That would definitely do the trick. This woman was so against the idea of resting that we still do not know what time she woke up or if she slept 2 or 3 hours a year. She would torment us weaker men when we got tired, always finding some form of work to do while ‘resting’.
If you know, you know. “Ava masikati. Hooo madzoka manje? Ndichidziisa kudya kwenyu, sano zororai muchibanzura huni dzokuisa muberere. (Good afternoon. So you have returned? As I warm up your food, rest while you cut up some firewood to put by the edge of the kitchen.)” ?
Some daunting design
The death knell would be the design. Obviously. If I were to order my grandmother’s tombstone, I would definitely go for a posh design. My granny was in no way parsimonious or stingy with money, we all ate well. Better than most if you ask me. She was well versed in cuisine and certainly knew her way around a kitchen, owing to her experience living with a white family when she was younger. My grandfather, God rest his soul, sent her to Empandeni down by Plumtree so she could learn about African cuisine as she did not know much about it when she got married. With all those skills, my grandmother was nothing short of conservative. All things we did were supposed to make the other people in our community feel good and not left out. That meant anything along the lines of fancy and unique had to go down the drain.
Knowing her, she would probably opt for a conservative tombstone design if it was up to her. But its not. No sir, no ma’am. In this discourse, I get to do the choosing. And for all that conservative speak, I will pay her back with something not too loud. Just uncomfortable and disconcerting enough for my beloved grandmother. Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me so much pleasure as I present to you, ‘the design.’ Deftly curated by the folks over at Almodine Homes & Monuments. Neither bold nor cold but just right. Cue the cameras, my beating surely beckons:
That should do it, hopefully
As I conclude this killer plan of mine (literally), I can already feel my beating loading from yonder the hills from whence my granny definitely plots yet another disciplinary masterclass. I can taste the finesse of it. The calculated monologue, oxymoron clad. I will go over my harmonics before I sleep, and memorize all the right things to scream out. Flip. By the way granny does not allow any sound leaks! I am clearly out of practice. Fortunately for me, if things go well, by the crack of dawn, my other cheeks should have a lovely blush to them. Pray for me, guys. Fingers crossed!