uncle f.o.b.


we will bury my uncle on friday. his wasn't a good death, after a long life filled with love and laughter. he was young, unmarried, and childless when his house burned down to the ground two weeks ago. we can't seem to figure out if he put something on the stove and fell asleep, or if it was some kind of electrical fire, but it started in the kitchen. i'm not sure that how it started is that important, although something about not knowing what really happened leaves the matter unresolved.

in his heyday he was the epitome of cool--sunshades, bellbottoms, a blazer thrown casually over his back (see him above, center, jamming with his band). and tho he hadn't been back to nigeria in over 30 years since he left, he was spoken of fondly and often by those who remember him simply as Uncle F.O.B.

i sat on this blog over a week wondering whether to publish it, thought it too morbid, but have decided to go ahead. simply to say that a man named Frances Okon Bassey, the last child of Obong Paul Okon Bassey, died in his sleep from smoke inhalation related to a fire on march 2, 2011. he had an offbeat sense of humor, a flair for dramatic fashions, and was loved by his friends and family.

i cannot shed any light in the way of mortality, fate and providence. i can only say that i wish i had known him better. there were circumstances beyond my control that prevented this, i think, or maybe i simply was not wise enough to overcome them. --AL.

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