The red grapes hung heavy and juicy over the dining table. They were of the pithless variety which I loved and seemed like the very first bunch from Eden too good to be found even in Bacchus’ backyard. There were green ones too coupled with greenish, yellow bananas, ruby, red sliced water melons which were chilled. A smorgasbord of ice cream and yoghurt flavours, some mixed with iced, fruit salad. The one with the chocolate topping took my breath away but I am running ahead of myself.
The hors d’oeuvre were mainly Chinese, samosa, spring rolls, crab meat and all sorts of meaty delicacies. I thought I had died and woken up in some gastronomic heaven, just that the waiters in their white livery did not have wings.
Gastric juices flowed like endless tides as I visualized the piping, hot amala, fufu, pounded yam, starch, wheat and platters of soup, owo, atama, ewedu and gbegiri, oha, edikang kong, egusi, efo riro, the list was never-ending with beef, chicken, stockfish, snail, bush meat, goat meat, veal, lining the table. The spread of tripe (shaki, abodi, roundabout, etc.) and spiced ponmo assaulted my senses. Some of the dishes were topped with mushrooms, others had pork swimming joyously within. Steam wafted upward from the feast, the delicious incense an offering to my nostrils.
All sorts of rice, basmati, ofada, fried, jollof, coconut, Jamaican decorated the table. There was roasted yam and palm oil for those who favoured such, boli and groundnuts, sweetened fried yam and sweet potato with sauce. Soup in countless tureens were enough to fill ocean tankers. There was a Nile of chilled drinks, cans, bottles of them. The fare stretched to eternity and beyond, flooded my senses so that I did not know where to begin. I held my breath, blinked my eyes to make sure I was not having one of my usual hunger, provoked fantasies. I was suddenly nudged from behind by an impatient and hungry guest, then I started filling my plate.
Compared to my normal ascetic meals this was paradise! I was used to garri and salt with toppings of groundnuts on good days.
I also felt very different in my three piece Italian suit, British shirt, tie and brown wing tips. The Son of the King had told his stewards to burn my old clothing and get me a new wardrobe. Everything was new and improved. I smelt quite fragrant too. I had been scrubbed clean, doused in oils and given an invitation to this jubilee banquet even though I was not qualified.
However, I was not unaware of the snickering going on around me, the snobbery too. Most wondered what it was about me that made the Prince extend a gracious hand to a grubby, nobody.
I went about wonder-eyed, tucking into bits of everything so that I could have enough room for more. In my frenzy, I poured some juice until my cup ran over onto the table. Around, some of the dignitaries and waiters looked at me in disgust but the Son winked at me with a nod of endorsement. His smile washed over me even more delicious than the buffet before me…THOU PREPARETH A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES….THOU ANOINTEST MY HEAD WITH OIL…MY CUP RUNNETH OVER…..
THE MESSAGE…..You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
©2016 Ekpo Ezechinyere
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