Family & Kids, Free State, Vrystaat, Life

Deja Bloody Vu

Can you believe it? The irresponsibility!

Tom is writing exams, writes five and decides he wants to write the last three when I can invigilate. The others have been invigilated by his tutor Langelihle and another third-year student Rebecca. So we settle on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Except he arranges for Ryan to come around and the two of them beetle off gallivanting heavens know where and doing heavens knows what. So he only wrote the last three papers on Monday and Tuesday. Bloody hell! Who would DO something so irresponsible!?

Er, actually, maybe his father?

Back in 1972 I had four matric final exams, then a five day break before the last two. Me and Gabba took the gap and disappeared off to his farm behind the mountain after pulling in at the liquor off-sales on the way where he could legally buy grog, him being eighteen. Plus.

Gabba was a great friend to have, he had a car and lived all alone on his farm where he bought and sold cattle for a living – ‘speculated in cattle’ they called it. In matric! Cool! His farmhouse was a half-house. You picked your way over the rubble of the first half and entered by what used to be an inside door but was now the outside door of the remaining half.

We flattened the beer, which made us thirsty so we scrounged around and found a big old glass two-eared flagon of umqombothi on top of the fridge, fermenting quietly. We finished what was in there and phoned Frank on the party line. Frank was another bachelor alone on his farm nearby. What shall we do? we enquired of Frank, knowing that he would guide us wisely, him a few years older. Frank said “I’ve got beer, come!”

We finished that and Frank said “Let’s go to town”. Who were we to argue? We hopped into his car, I think a Datsun 1800 SSS, and roared off to town at terminal velocity, strong and clever. I remember a narrow bridge across a spruit approach and disappear in a blur with a loud WHUMP! in the middle of it followed by half a second’s silence –  airborne.

Gabba Frank car

In town we woke up the barman of the Royal Hotel down near the railway line. He grumbled a bit, but Frank was having none of it so he went off and reappeared with a case of dumpy beers. We then drove round to the R’s home and threw pebbles against an upstairs window. Penny opened the window, shimmied down the downpipe and we were OFF again on the dirt roads to the farm behind the mountain. At high speed. Invincible.

The next night back at Gabba’s place I phoned my Mom on the party line during a heavy thunderstorm and downpour. “Where have you been? Come home!” was the message but I said “What? Hard to hear you! I’ll be coming back tomorrow”. She said “Yes, rather don’t drive in this weather.” I said “Don’t worry, I’m the responsible type”.

I’m sure* Tommy wasn’t up to kak like that, so maybe he doesn’t take after his Dad.

=========ooo000ooo=========

umqombothi – traditional Zulu beer

spruit – stream

kak – mischief

*- not really sure

 

Family & Kids

I Was Young and Foolish Then

Today twelve year old Tom comes home with a long face. He took his cellphone to school and was busted. School rule: The phone is confiscated for the rest of the term! I laughed like a drain – even harder when he manfully tried to smile ruefully.

Tonight was Jessie’s school art exhibition and music and food evening. I told everyone who wanted to hear and we all hosed ourselves at Tom’s discomfort. Give him his due, he took it like a trooper.

Tomorrow’s Saturday and I’m working, so just before bed he comes to me with puppydog eyes and asks to please use the iPad tomorrow. I say I don’t think we can give irresponsible boys any treats whatsoever.

He implores: “Dad! Give me a break! I was young and I was foolish back then! I have matured immensely since!”

A ten-hour turn-around.

20140831_152100 no more selfies

Family & Kids

Hip Hop Life Lessons

Entrepreneurs’ Day at school. Kids are selling samoosas, boerie rolls, sweets, cupcakes, biryani. What are you going to do, Jess?

“Me and Aik are going to give dance lessons, Dad. Hip Hop”.

OK. She made a poster, cut a CD, cleared a classroom.

And nobody showed up. I hung around, thinking Oh well, every outcome is a lesson. We learn something from everything.

Wendon Entrepreneurs (1)

Then her teacher said “Jess, you need loud music!” Jess had been waiting for her first customer before starting the music (she’s so polite, this one!).

“Dad, I need the car keys”, she shouts. Out the gate to the car and back with a CD.

Loud music and the customers rolled in. Well played, Mrs Gooding!

They made R440 profit!

Family & Kids

Wheels and Status

Car spotting and car bragging is a (very) competitive sport at Tom’s school. Every day I hear tales of Ferraris and Range Rovers taking kids to school and the sad lament of what the isikoroskoro we drive means to his standing.
We usually park far from the school (I let him walk the last few hundred metres) but yesterday I parked right outside the gate and poor Tom got bust: His mates spotted the Ford Ranger double cab. Worse: It’s only 4X2.
This morning we parked far away again as he told me they ragged him mercilessly. “We saw your Dad’s Bhugatti, Thomas!” they said with great delight.

the wish Bhugatti–   reality Ford

– – – – – – 883Kw                                        103Kw

Ah well, he has inflicted pain, he has to learn to take pain.

Africa, Family & Kids, Life, School

DamnDamnDamn

Tom’s headmaster committed suicide. At the school. He was found by a caretaker. It has rattled my two profoundly.

Aitch had befriended Eugene when his wife was also suffering from cancer, and then more so when she died, about two years before Aitch died. They were in a home bible study class with the Methodist dominee Ian Howarth.

Tom & Jess both asked me “What would happen if you died, Dad?” and Jess asked me “Dad, would you ever commit suicide?”

Shit! shitshitshit!

I have told them how much I love them and all about what I have arranged for the house and live-in care and so on, and also re-assured them no way I would do myself in. We had some good chats.

What a bliksem. Eugene was a more mature man than many of the teachers at Tom’s school, and a steadying hand. I fear Tom will catch more flak at school for a while.