. . . he’s our brother . . .
. . and look at him now!
Dad I want to get a tattoo.
Aaaargh! I shrieked in my head but “O-ka-ay” I said out loud, all calm-like, “Have you thought about it?”
Oh yes, lots.
“OK. What’s a tattoo? Is it safe? How much does it cost? Does it hurt? Who would do it? Have you got enough money? etc”
Oh, she hadn’t thought of any of that.
“OK. Do your homework and get back to me with the answers please.”
She did. Now that she knows more, she’s more nervous. But still determined. After all, Sindi has a lovely outline of Africa tattoo’d above her ankle.
The very next day she arranges a visit to the tattoo parlour with Sindi, where they are going to find out more and then come back for a final decision. They take themselves there by taxify.
The main thing I’m interested in is: Who’s the artist? Is he/she good? Does he/she do a skilful, safe job? Ask to see their work. Show me their work.
So I’m furiously kicking for touch and I think I’m delaying things nicely. I went through enough trauma with the piercings, I hope to dodge this mutilation. I feel like I’m handling things well as The Dad. I’m In Charge.
So I get a message: Hey Dad please can I have mom’s birth date and her death date.
The message is sent from here:
** sigh **
When we grew up outside Harrismith ca 1959 we couldn’t use the lounge. The lounge was filled edge-to-edge by an upside-down speedboat. The old man built his first speedboat in this lounge, shown below many decades later:
Younger sis Sheila, in the picture with Mom & Dad, says he also built that fireplace.
Then, after we’d left home and Mom & Dad had retired, he developed another urge to build a boat. Luckily this time in a boatyard with the help of boat builders.
On a cold winter’s day ca1990 we took it, shiny new, for a spin on Sterkfontein Dam outside Harrismith: Me, Dad, two Eskimos and a semi-eskimo.
We zoomed over the spot where Mom estimated her old farmhouse was – on Nuwejaarsvlei, where she grew up.
Back in 2005 our kids were quietly acquiring wisdom and knowledge (and singing and dancing skills) from an impeccable source – me – when they received a setback: A weekend visit from the Brauer at 10 Windsor Avenue. Old Pete visited. Luckily with Terry.
The bribery started immediately:
It took effect:
Precariously, reluctantly, ominously (more words here) I had to go to work Saturday morning. I KNEW this did not bode well. Indoctrination intensified in my absence. Sugar-laden indoctrination.
When I got back it was too late. You think corruption is bad nowadays? It was worse back then: The kids were now calling HIM Clever Pete and ME Old Pete!
It took a long while for Tom to recover:
I don’t think he was – I sure hope he wasn’t – bemoaning the fact that fate had given him a paleface barber who obviously didn’t know what he was doing.
. . were delightful. But they were all chaperoned by big ugly old males:
Oh well, I made the most of it by looking for Vrystaat poppies. At least some of them were unaccompanied:
And the local birds were also obliging:
Saturday Supper was delicious. Cafe Chocolat hidden in a massive pile of priceless collectibles:
We had a hilarious mixed message, crossed wire and different-planets outcome when I enquired about birders who might know where to watch birds around Ficksburg. The only ‘bird guy’ they knew was Johan and he replied to my sms asking where we could watch birds in the Ficksburg district thusly (translated):
Hey! Jong, in Ficksburg it’s only me and Martin and Willie. But its breeding season now and I don’t take people through my cages now, only end-January again.
Meanwhile, back at home some life lessons were being learned:
There were two birthdays on the steam train and the pictures are from Tom’s. He turned four. 2005. Aitch arranged a magic day after much preparation, cake-construction and Mom-liaison. Here she orchestrates:
I was on the train and we had a lovely day. Later Luke, Tom’s big china, turned four and had the same birthday. On Luke’s birthday I was a designated driver, taking a car to the end-point to take stuff and ferry passengers.
So I wasn’t on the train on Luke’s birthday trip when he flew out of the window.
But first: These pictures are of Tom’s birthday:
Here’s our Luke-fella with Mom Terry. Both on the train and at the stop for Tom’s party (you can see TomTom’s cake). On his way up he was without make-up, and on his way back he was all face-painted:
On his big day the same train journey was arranged; Up, then a party in Inchanga and then down: the return journey. Afterwards, I got back to Hillcrest; To Stokers where the journey starts and ends; When the train puffed in I heard a strange tale: Tom huffed and puffed, “Dad, Dad! Luke flew out the window!” The adults said Luke had fallen out of the train and been taken to hospital. I was aghast! What!?
Later the tale unfolded. Luke had fallen out while the train was choofing along. His Dad Steve had leapt up and wanted to jump out after him, but the train was going too fast so he hared through the carriages, rushing through the gaps till he got to the front and could attract the attention of the driver who stopped the train. Steve ran back and found Luke with some railroad trackside dwellers, who had found Lukie-boy – maybe even seen him fall.
The hospital checked our Lukie-boy over bone-by-bone and organ-by-organ and pronounced him all intact. Massive sighs of relief!
Amazingly, Luke later also said he’d “flown out the window” so who knows what actually happened? Weird!
The old man has good news about a great discovery for people who can’t sleep.
He can’t sleep: “I only fall asleep around 2am and then sleep for a few hours” he complains.
I visited overnight recently and urged him to take the sleeping tablets he had. Mom gave one to him and he carried it around. No, he’d take it later, not now.
We all went to bed.
At 3am I’m woken by Mom: The ole man is wandering around the house wide awake and shouting at the people out on the lawn who are carrying away his furniture! He’s hallucinating. “Peter there’s no-one there” says Mom patiently. “Well then who do you think I’m talking to?” he replies belligerently, shining his torch out the window and shouting to the imaginary chair thieves; “Speak up! I can’t hear you!”
So that didn’t work.
Now he has a potion. “It’s made from two flowers. One flower is from Europe. It’s herbal, so it should be mild.” Ja, I think, cyanide is herbal, Dad. “It’s homeopathic I think,” he says. Ja, I think.
So now he phones me to give me the amazing news about his new discovery: It works!
“I took them and nothing happened. But the pharmacist said they’d take time to work. And then wragtig, they did work last night! I fell asleep around 2am and then slept for a few hours.”
Then he said “I hear you owe me some money?”
Ja? I say.
“I hear I gave you quite a show the night you slept here.”
Ja, I say.
“Don’t you think you should pay for such a good show?”
The cheque is in the post, I say.
wragtig – true’s bob