Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Gift


13) Listen Here (I don’t like to talk about myself but...)
(A Reunion Retrospective; An Esoteric Evocation). (29th October: The Last Day in SA!)

It began with Brian and it ended with Brian. He’d organized the Committee. They invited us. We came, we saw, we went. Veni, vidi, vici. Brian met me in Jo’burg airport, came to see me off there too. And he bore gifts all the way. Then I met Quenton, who came to visit my hotel with a gift from Harold Thompson. And that night I met Mike. And Mike brought groceries, the transport, provided the room, and slept on the couch. And then arrived Rob, who surfed into our spirits, gold as the sun. Next came Justin and then Bert, and that was followed by Tony and Simon and Doc and Peter and Don and Ken and Glynn and Gus and Mike-Mc and Gerhardt and Vernon and Cameron and Leonard and… well, you’d know so very many of them if you were there too.

There were teachers of yore, and of now. Keith and Ted (and his Jenny too) and Tony and Digby and Mulvenna and Erasmus, Laredo, and…, well, you’d have had to know them to appreciate the myriad memories each conjured.

And there were the old Pretoria Boys' High School grounds. The speeches. The tea. The Assembly. That song. There was the luncheon. Mike’s Last Supper. There was that water-shed breakfast, followed by sports for some, the Jo’burg drive for Mike and Rob and Justin and me. There was that late dinner and the speeches and the presentations. There was the waking up to know it was the beginning of the end. There was the drive to the airport for Rob, and the going to the BBQ for others. Then there came the parting from Simon and Tony and Tony and Sandy and Justin and the doing of the long drive with Bert and Rita to the dorp-hotel en route to the Kruger. And then there was great Letaba and the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of birds and animals and the ‘grr-rr’ of the road-surface. And that Thursday night there was the return to Pretoria to the posh paid for City Hotel, and dinner with Roy. And Roy’s friend Neil came in the morning to take me to go and do the BDO presentation, where I met Gill, and… but you’d need to have been there. And then came Brian again, and we drove back down to Jo’burg, and then back up to Pretoria’s Blue Crane for lunch, and I presented for the AIDC, where I met Pat and Colli and the Prof and Johan and… but you’d need to have been there too.

Brian, after driving me through my old haunt of Danville, drops me off at my Aunt’s in Valhalla. First meeting since circa 1967. Then there is her husband. Late into the night. One learns yet more to listen into in an African night. Then there was the next early morning drive with my first (time ever met) cousin, Stanley, to the Joburg Civic theatre for my presentation, with the meeting of the incredible Gladys and Andrea and Janet and… but you’d have to have been there too.Vernon Matthysen and Quenten de Kock were! Then it’s back to Pretoria to meet with Bernadine and to have the distinct privilege of being presented to by Stanley, and then to meet Betty and to have yet another African night with Clive where one listens, oh, how one learns yet more better to listen. Then came Stanley again and once more we were off to the airport, where who should be waiting in surprise for me but… Brian! Brian who…

And now, shall I go on? Or has this diary-like entry caused even you to cease to… listen?

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