April has been a very different month for me. I came up from Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal, to Stilfontein, North West (translated it means Peaceful, Quiet, or Still Fountain), to be with my Dad on 27th March. My oldest niece got married on 9th April, and my Mum was able to go over to the UK to celebrate the event. Great excitement for all as she is the first of my folks’ 9 grandchildren to ‘tie the knot’.
Although now in good health after a rather difficult year, Dad was not really strong enough to go with, so I came up to be with him while Mum visited first my youngest brother, now in Amsterdam, and then my sister, brother-in-law and their 3 children. The wedding went off very well indeed, and Mum returns tomorrow (Friday).
Dad and I have had a good time, with my ‘primary duties’ being assisting with housekeeping, cooking, gardening, climbing ladders and training and caring for the two collies they now have – one a puppy (!). Pretty much what I help with at home anyway - although we only have one collie. Also teaching my Dad some computer skills as well as the value of a judicious use of the Internet.
We have spent a lot of time covering theology, the Bible, general history and contemporary affairs – we both have a lot to say on those topics. But what has been most fun has been rummaging through family memories – some ancient, others mythological or mis-remembered, some delightful, and some more traumatic. This during our long dog-walks, and over long dinners, where we also discovered new things about each other and our personal life-stories we had never shared before.
On this sometimes joyful, sometimes jumbled journey of nostalgia we discovered, again, the importance of family and friends, and realized that through it all –the tumbles, the troubles, and the triumphs – we were tremendously blessed with wonderful people and wonderful places as we grew up: in Mazoe, Kariba, then Salisbury. Friends and fun at Marlborough Junior, Allan Wilson, Cubs/Scouts, Harvest Youth, the Junior Orchestra. And then when, in the fullness of time, we followed our own paths and went our own way; with wives, husbands, children, careers, moving house/country and all the routine, rejoicing and rigours of our own family life. (For me national service in Matabeleland and Kariba - again - in ’79, Rhodes ’80-84, Harare ’86-92 (Hatfield Presby), and since then South Africa (Oudtshoorn Presby, George, J-Bay) in various roles and regions.)
So many people held us in their hearts, and so many people have a special place in my heart – even through the long years of no contact, or erratic correspondence and the occasional visit. Every one is a precious piece of the puzzle that portrays the picture of my life.
Why not take a moment to re-member the precious pieces of your own life puzzle, with joy and gratitude.