Sunday 15th June the world celebrated father’s day. Quite a foreign term this part of the world but it’s good to celebrate fathers all the same. Millions of cards and gifts flew around the world as people showed their male parents some love and appreciation. There are millions of outstanding fathers out there. Kudos to those. But it’s a world teeming with misbehaving ones too and many sons and daughters have nothing to celebrate about their fathers.
There are some whose biological functions never quite translated into parental responsibilities. Like this family I know for whom dad meant getting up at 3 am when he staggered home carrying some meat for dinner. Mum had to wake up and cook for him the meat and ugali. What’s more, all her 4 daughters had to wake up and stay with her in the smoke filled kitchen as she cooked. Including the 5 year old last born. By the time the female army were done cooking, dad would be fast asleep. Even if he was not asleep he would reject the ugali as too soft, too hard, or not well cooked. The army of girls would troop back to the kitchen to start afresh, the little one dozing on her sisters’ laps. Pure malice if you ask me. Maybe the tough dude should have bought his wife a gas cooker before making such demands. The poor lady had to light firewood in the dead of night.
Many are the days he’d come home from the city where he worked, ask for school report cards and if even one daughter had not performed will in any subject, he’d beat the whole lot of them. Including the mother but this time excluding the little one. Then one day the unthinkable happened. The first born daughter fell pregnant. She was a bright girl and the most promising academically. She was in form 2 and fees had already been paid for the whole year. The irate father ordered all his other daughters to be pulled out of school and taken for pregnancy tests. This time the little one was 10. She too had a date with the doctor for the test. But for the first time in her life, mum stood up for her little girl and she did not get tested along with her elder sisters, none of whom was pregnant thankfully.
His children grew up knowing him as this tyrannical monster. Luckily he worked and stayed in town so the horror of having dad home was only once in a while. His arrival would turn the whole house cold with dread. He later fell really sick and mellowed down a lot as he aged. That was the time he started trying to win his children’s love. But by that time they were all grown up, doing well for themselves and taking very good care of their mother. But most of them, having never forgiven their father, out rightly refused to be part of his medical care. Some said they did not have a father. As for the wife he beat up and mistreated for the better part of their marriage, she was there to take care of him in his hour of sickness and need. He died a sad man.
But this tyrant pales in comparison to some other fathers further afield. Would be preacher Joshua Mauldin felt an uncontrollable urge to place his two month old daughter in the safe, the refrigerator and finally into the microwave oven for 20 seconds. The little girl suffered second and third degree burns on her face and hands. Her left ear had to be amputated as a result of the burns. The 20 year old father was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
21 year old Derrick Hardy did the opposite. He crammed his girlfriend’s 10 month old baby into the freezer in 2006 apparently to cool a sudden fever. The mother came home only to find her baby in the freezer alongside ice cubes and bugger meat. The baby sustained first and second degree freezer burns on her head and torso. Now if he thought the baby got too cold, would this loony have placed her in the microwave too to heat her up a bit? Just a thought.
More recently there’s 73-year-old Austrian Josef Fritzl who imprisoned his daughter in a cellar and zero grazed on her for 24 years fathering 7 children with her. There are lots of sick minds out there but this one probably takes the trophy.