Emergency Room: Hello, Don’t Worry . .

So this is what mother Mary probably felt like! It’s 3am and still no sign or word of the little blighter. Then ***pring pring*** . .

Hello, is that Mr Swanepoel? This is Andrew of Medical Rescue Emergency Services

Shit! Worst fears and all that

Don’t worry Thomas is fine


I have him here at St Augustines Hospital in the emergency unit. Can you come and fetch him?

Driving down the empty streets I think of mother Mary. Mary Methodist. And how she handled me in my fun days. Did she shout? Did she rant? Did she threaten? None of the above. I tried hard – not always successfully – to emulate Mom, appreciating hugely how patient she was with me, and knowing confrontations with me would not have ended well. Love and Patience had worked for me. And a good judicial dose of Los My Uit – not interfering.

The story turned out to be along these lines: A house party in Kloof; Parents away; The girl whose house it was taking Dad’s Ford Everest, filled with okes; She was driving fine, when an older oke said Here! Lemme Drive! after which things sped up! In downtown Durban the cops took an interest in his driving style, and the clever oke thought he could outrun them; Turning a corner he rolled the Everest, bringing the short chase to an end; He decided to scarper, and Tom’s not sure if the cops got him; The rest were taken to St Augustines by ambulance, a few slightly injured. I met some of their parents and we all nodded gravely; Some were muttering threats and blame. Tom was unscathed and we went home.

Memories of Mom peeking her head into my Country Mansion garden bedroom on some mornings-after: Are you back? Oh, Good; or I’m Glad You’re Safe; and once: Were You On That Train?


Even Mom’s gentle attempts at warning served no purpose. In desperation she evoked the dominee: ‘You know, Ds Ras says ‘Na Middernag Kom Die Duiwel Uit!’ she warned. That sounded like fun and only convinced me the night actually started later in the evenings. Love and Patience.


dominee – fire and brimstone preachers

Los My Uit – benevolent, discreet – yet watchful – neglect

Na Middernag Kom Die Duiwel Uit! – after midnight the Devil makes a grand appearance, TaDAAA!! – like Freddie Mercury – and the fun begins!!


One interesting side-effect: Tom would often say ‘Dad, speed up, please’ with my driving. After this he often says ‘Slow down please’ when I go round a sharpish bend!

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