A tribute isn’t always an enforced payment or contribution, it is always sometimes a testimonial or compliment given as due or in acknowledgement of gratitude. A Tribute can be just a way of saying thank you for the fond memories you created and we shared and to recognize this person’s achievements. Most people have attributed tributes to an act done for someone who is dead but it’s not always the case, a tribute can simply be a recognition, an act to recognize and celebrate a person’s achievements.
My Tribute is to my grandfather who had lost so much to travels; his dad and two siblings died in an auto crash on their way to a relative’s wedding and thus he developed a phobia for travelling. My grandfather never really left his hometown after his loss except for one time when my elder brother was getting married and even then, we had to get him a doctor to give him calmatives for the journey against his wishes as the wife’s family had refused to bring the wedding to our hometown for his sake.
My dad grew up in the city but even he had inherited grandpa’s phobia for the road, he would neglect business deals that couldn’t be closed in our city or send a representative, he never allowed us to school outside of the city; we never even went on excursions with the other children. I think it was harder on mom because she never had the chance to do what the other women did, no weddings or other ceremonies in other towns, she even had to quit her job in another town to get married to dad.
That is not to say we were not happy, in fact, we were a very happy family, probably happier than most. Maybe we celebrated any ceremony or events in grand style to make up for our lack of travels. Everyone knew when it came to be best parties in town, nobody threw them better than us. It must be the talk of the town or else my dad would find an excuse to throw another one. It was fine, but at times I couldn’t hide my frustrations when I get denied the opportunities to go to another state or town. I would throw tantrums, be unnecessarily quiet and starve myself of food but dad wouldn’t bulge. His phobia was chronic, I think even worse than grandpas.
You can then imagine my surprise when I heard grandpa was travelling again, I still can’t find the words to explain my expression. I laugh whenever I remember my dad’s face when my uncle that had gone to see grandpa told him, it was priceless. I wish I had a camera on me at the time, it would have made a great get out of jail free card. I mean can you imagine? After more than 50 years of staying in one town, an old man finally packed his bag and moved? Yet someone will come and say you can’t teach an old man a new trick, my grandpa would beg to differ.
Apparently, grandpa had gone out one day only to see a tourist in town and he was surprised at just how amazed the tourist was to be in his little town so he approached him and asked him how he got so much joy from visiting another man’s land and from there they just sort of clicked. The tourist would go to my grandpas’ house daily to get the best of the native meals the town had to offer and the ones that couldn’t be made at home were bought from food canteens.
My grandpa told the tourist about his story and why he hated travelling and how we had forced him once to travel for his oldest son’s wedding and how he was very angry with my dad but he was secretly thankful he was at his son’s wedding regardless of the means. Maybe it was because the tourist was foreign or maybe it was because he was surprised that a tourist would take an interest in him or it was just the grace of God we’ll never know what made my grandpa agree to follow the man on his journey to tour another state because so many family members and well-wishers have tried and failed. Ever since that journey, my grandpa has always been on the move. I think what surprised my dad most was not the fact that he was travelling again but the fact that a stranger had successfully talked my stubborn grandpa into it.
My grandpa visited our house which was something he had never done, he sat my dad down and begged him for forgiveness because of the way he had damaged his mentality about travelling. My father -a stubborn man like my grandpa assured him that all was forgiven and he never hated him for it because he loved his life this way without the stress of travel. My grandpa then asked him if he could take me on one of his exploits into another town during my holiday period. A request which my father quickly rejected but accepted upon my mother’s intervention.
I travelled with my grandpa that summer and the summer that followed but my siblings and my parents were still very sceptical until they got tired of my tales and decided to shut me up by travelling to a tourist destination themselves and hopefully not have a good time. When my parents got back from South Africa that year, our lives changed forever; grand parties were quickly replaced with touring different countries. We have never quite looked back since then as we have now toured more than 9 countries.
All this is thanks to my grandpa for listening to the words of the tourist and coming to my rescue and tell me to travel with him and to my dad for getting as curious as to travelling. This is my tribute to the man who told me to travel.