Jeffery is not an avid cook, but he can hold his own in any kitchen. As the youngest child in the Honiara extended dysfunctional family, he spent many hours reluctantly tied to his mother’s apron springs. Often, he would find himself assisting her in the daily chores around the house. She taught him the finer points of housekeeping. By age seven, she taught him how to cook. However, the assignment as the baby of the family was nowhere close to being fun.
When she suddenly died, those tasks became his job. Jeffery knew how to make up the beds, clean the rooms, and cook as well as wash dishes. Repeatedly, his siblings would cruelly taunt him for doing woman’s work. Often, he would run and hide in the small pantry in the kitchen. Jeffery would curl up in a tight ball as the infinitesimal sounds of his whimpering filled the air.
One day, his father came home after a long day at work to find Jeffery running into the closet. After the boy slammed the door shut, the father walked over and lightly knocked on the doorframe.
Jeffery shouted, "Who is it? Leave me alone. I am never coming out."
The father knocked on the doorframe again and said, "Jeff, it is me. Can I come in?"
After hesitating for a brief second, Jeffery opened the door. The boy exclaimed as his father’s large body squeezed into the small space, "I am still not coming out."
"Okay, so what is wrong, Jeff?"
With teary eyes, the lad peered up into his father’s concerned face and said, "They keep calling me names and stuff cause they say I do women work."
His father gently placed the palm of his large hand against the boy’s cheek. His long finger brushed aside a teardrop as he said, "Listen, son, don’t worry about what they say. See, you are our little ram in the bush. Before your mother died two years ago, she taught you everything. She did that because she knew she could trust you to take care of the family."
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