Senior Citizens

Just returned from a gathering in Harrismith where my sole function was to bring the average age of the attendants down to a respectable level.

Pierre’s joint 60th (along with Jill Venning and Mark Raz Russel who has run a general trading store – and the golf club – in Harrismith for the last 30yrs or so). At their age a “joint” gathering also describes one of the main topics of discussion among the creaking decrepit.
60’s themed, most of the inmates came predictably dressed as hippies. I went as a hippie who admired Elvis’ dress style post-cheeseburgers. I was Sure to Wear some Flowers in my Hair (OK, wig). Some wore safari suits with a comb in vey sock. One wore an old English-type boys school uniform (blazer, cap, short pants and polished shoes), most wore wigs – and most of the males needed them. Oh, and John Venning very predictably – but later than usual – got round to dropping his trousers.
Fine mates from way back!! With Tuffy Joe Joubert and Pierre duP du Plessis
Fine mates from way back!! Posing with young Tuffy Joe Joubert and old Pierre duP du Plessis

Actually the evening was saved visually and average age-wise by a flock of kids and their friends, so I could relax and act second-childhood. There were two of Pierre’s blondes there (Michele & Natasha), Mark’s son & daughter and Jill’s two (three?) as well (I only know one daughter – Kirsty). Also dressed as hippies, but looking more like the pictures from back then (and, I’m sure, looking how we all imagined we looked – luckily no mirrors at the venue). Some aesthetically-delightful sixties-style minis on show.

An excellent one-man band played all the right stuff, so it was a good thing it was loud or it would have been ruined by everyone singing along. Myself I would have had half-hour gaps with no music so we could hear each others’ lies, but no, when the band-man was resting someone cranked on some good ole CD-ex-vinyl-LP or other. Probly the bloody youngsters.

Pierre gave a speech!! Well, he joined Jill & Raz in a well-rehearsed threesome form of poetry rending in which they painted themselves in a good light (and we listened politely).

Sheila rounded up a flock of ancient Methodists for a group shot, so three Swanepoels, three du Plessis, three Woods, and Tuffy Joubert posed for the Methylated Spirits Revival. Lulu tried to join in but we wouldn’t have it, her being blerrie NG Kerk an’ all. She protested that she had come to guild once, to no avail.

Funniest thing was the youngsters drilling us for tales of yore. We told them tales of what their Moms and Dads got up to when they were their age to gasps of outrage when they thought of how their folks had raised them all strictly and with rules and curfews. I had to tell Lettuce Leaf’s kids the old one about how all the trouble started in the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve “Ek het your leaf”.

I went home soon after 2.30am leaving quite a few senior citizens (and more young uns) still dancing. A few were slurring so that I couldn’t get what the hell they were saying but they seemed happy with my nods and smiles and “Quite right!“‘s and “Serious?“‘s. Of course some of those were nearer 70 than 60 which makes the hoesê?‘s quite frequent!

We stayed at Heritage House, Pierre & Erika’s beautifully restored old house-next-door which they run as a bed & breakfast, so post-party we gathered in the kitchen till after 3am. Later we gathered for a big breakfast at the Table of Knowledge in Heike’s restaurant on the slopes of 42-second Hill just below the quarry where Jock Grant would blast his dynamite, rattling the dorp’s windows.

Some of the Harrismith farmers are doing spectacularly well. Lodges in Tuli Block, Lodges near the Olifants river, big herds of disease-free Ramaposas, massive wild free-range earthworm farms, Lodges on their farms (see http://www.buffalohillspgr.co.za/ and http://www.lalanathi.co.za/). They’re also buying “townhouses” which are actually huge old sandstone houses in town which they revamp and extend for staying over if they’re a bit too aled to  drive home to their farms! You could call them Safe Houses.

And so some more upstanding citizens became senior citizens! That whistling noise you hear in your ears is not tinnitis.

It’s the sound of the plummeting reaching terminal velocity . . . . .

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