the Ol’ Man

I look at him bent over the table; intently completing the dailies Sudoku puzzle and the adage ‘I am my father’s daughter’ could not have been any clearer than at this moment.

I have his hair; the wispy hair that grows too fast for its own good. It is the type of hair you need to keep together to create an impression that it is thick. He has combed and patted his hair for as long as I can remember. I wonder whether my hairline will recede as much as his has. I have his front teeth; teeth that jut out at an odd angle. When he laughs, attention is taken away from the two front teeth (and they do beg for attention) and focus shifts to the twinkle in his eyes. Eyes that crinkle from the joy of a bellowing laugh; that sound of his laugh and the sparkle in his eyes priceless. Then his fingernails; neat and trim. Clipped every Sunday at 7PM. Like me, he understands that the work of our hands can only get done with the fingernails well trimmed. His hands have aged over the years that he toiled away at his government job. Hands that disciplined without negotiation, and cared without question.

We both embrace the beauty of the written word. Despite his age, he still reaches out for the dictionary to check something up. To him, every day is an opportunity to learn. Even now in his retirement, he would rather spend what he has on a newspaper than on a packet of milk. He embraces logic and strives for understanding in everything, and I mean everything, that he does. Because of this, he is inquisitive to the point of being a bother to those who do not have patience for his intelligence. He subscribes to the maxim that a man is only as good as his word. That trust is far more important than the actions that separate a man from his word. That compassion and empathy are to be considered more than love and affection. That loyalty and respect is earned, and not instilled by fear. He believes that honesty and integrity supersede all other things. And he frowns in disgust at the absence of these values in our society today.

He has a taste for finer things, which is told in the things that have defined him to this day: his Cross ball-point pen. Black ink Parker pen. Suitcases and briefcase that are branded Samsonite. Woollen suits and pure leather shoes, shirts made of crisp cotton. He cannot be caught dead in a tee-shirt. Back when could afford it, he insisted on bed sheets that had a thread count of at least two hundred. Suffice to say, he can catch a whiff of quality (or lack of it thereof) from a mile away.

Travel thrilled him. Knickknacks from his days of seeing the world are dotted across the living room. Despite the dust that they gather, there remains a timelessness in the stories that they tell. He and I seem to be the only ones who realise their preciousness. He gathered the memories from his travels in his vintage Kodak camera. The photographs hold images of a younger man, with a head full of dark hair (recall the hair illusion I told you of earlier), grinning from ear to ear with that signature sparkle in his eyes. In the background stands the Eiffel Tower. Or the Pyramids. Or the temples from Sri Lanka.

He looks up to regard me when he notices that I am staring. He bends his head forward so that our eyes meet through the space at the top of his glasses. I anticipate his questions and make a mental note to get him a collection of those complex Sudoku puzzles. What could spell my love out more than the gift of a challenge on this day to you, my Dad?

January 2013


10,000’th view

Comments (7)

  1. Aditnar

    Tells where you got your wit… ‘Father’s daughter’ indeed… I bet he would have been a blogger had the trend been popular in his time… I hope he’ll get to read this piece.

    • fra

      Thanks for reading Aditnar.

      I don’t know how he’d take reading this. Wouldn’t the emotion be a tad too much for him?

      • Aditnar

        A tad emotional maybe, but it would reaffirm what he already knows…. doing something right by passing on his “smart gene” :) oh and he might just let that quip about his teeth slide ;)

  2. Evans T

    Fathers and Daughters. Reminds me of my sister (the only girl in the family). I pity the fellow who will walk up to the ol’ man and ask for her hand in marriage. He will have to borrow an ox’s constitution and a layer or two of skin from a rhino. Otherwise he won’t know what hit him.

    • fra

      Hehhe. He clearly won’t. Thanks for the read.

      And oh yes, I thought ‘ox’s constitution’ literally meant that. Until I looked it up. Thanks for the new phrase.
      Can I borrow it for use later?

  3. artfullyContrived

    “I wonder whether my hairline will recede as much as his has.”

    That sounds so nice when read aloud.
    And scary too.

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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