Every time someone speaks to me about my Grandfather, every time I think about him, every time I hear his name I start to smile. Every time I hear the words, ‘Ibadan,’ or ‘Gascoyne,’ or ‘Cooperative Bank’ I start to smile. Every time I see a well-tended garden or an impeccably dressed man, I start to smile.
I smile because I remember him as someone who practiced what he preached. He was an embodiment of the things he said to me. Things like, ‘Iwa bi Olorun pelu Itelorun, ere nla ni!’* and ‘Ibukunoluwa nii mu ni la, lai fi laa laa kun.’** He modeled his belief that we must work for things rather than beg for them because, like he always said, ‘There’s room at the top, but only for those who qualify.’
I smile because I remember him teaching me how to eat with a knife and fork, and how to cut a mango (no one I know can cut a mango or an apple as well as my Mr. Maiyegun did), and how to kick a ball straight, and how the post office works. I remember the days when we would take field trips to the post office just so he could explain once again how the letters get to our little box. And I remember that he was always dressed like he was going to meet his biggest client.
I smile because I remember him as a devoted family man. Even as a five-year old, I knew that he was different from many of the people I knew. He was never too busy to attend to any of my questions. Every comment I had or question I asked was treated like the potential solution to the problem of world peace. There are not many who would take the time to pay such attention to a small child.
I smile because I’m so proud of him. Everywhere I go, I hear stories of the amazing things that he has done for people, many of them he barely knew. Truly, he lived the life of seven great men, and I just feel so blessed for the opportunity to have been in his life as someone that he knew and loved.
I smile because he was always smiling. He was a jolly man. He laughed a lot.
I trust that, by God’s amazing grace, we will meet again and I am so confident, knowing him, that he will have prepared many new things to show and tell me. I look forward to that, and until then I’ll continue to work tirelessly to give him reasons to look down and smile.
* ‘Iwa bi Olorun pelu Itelorun, ere nla ni!’ = Godliness with contentment is great gain!
**’Ibukunoluwa nii mu ni la, lai fi laa laa kun.’ = The blessing of the Lord makes one rich and adds no sorrow with it
***Three months ago, on the morning of August 30, 2014, my Super-Grandpa, Gabriel Olajide Osoba, FCA FIB FCIS, went to rest with Jesus. He was the Mayegun of Egba Christians, Baba Ijo of All Souls Church, Ibara Abeokuta, an exceptional man, and my forever friend. I’ll always remember that.