The thing that impressed me mostly about them was their curiosity. Not just my brother and my sister in law, but also my friends: Ardella and Jerry, Ian and Linda, Barry and Carolyn, Clive, and even by message-mail, Jessie, Sharon, Nancy Sinclair, and Justin (whom Andy recalls from 1966!) Yes, an initial family and friends group met us all in Calgary: Keith, Peter-son and Laura and children Sean and baby Jack, and Peter-elder and Karen, and Karen Weir and Lisa and husband Sean, and Rob, and our dear sister Carol, and our kismet middle brother Peter, and ... Is there someone I forgot?
Questions prove interest. Listening proves it even more. "How do you come to know Richard and Linda? Where did you two meet? What do you do for living? When was it you were back there?" And my favourite: "Why? Why did you choose that; do you like that; did you go there; why ask me that?" Questions stimulated conversation. Listeners proved interested. Questions created a sense of care amongst us. Not just from and to Andy and Elsabe, but amongst us all.
We are inclined to want things to be interesting. Whatever is outside of ourselves needs hold our attention for us to sustain focus, generally. The scenery, the conversations, others, the TV, the shapes and sizes and colours and tastes and textures and sound, it all needs be interesting afore we become interested, generally. Being ‘interested’ takes something else; it takes energy and a letting go of wanting something else to entertain oneself. (How to generate an interest in even a hairline crack in the wall? Imagination will allow the mind to create a novel from that little crack.) And those five 'W' questions, who, what, where, when, and why will make for one's life being a tapestry of riches of one's own gleaning, rather than waiting for the right channel, the right persons, the right view, the right whatever. 'Boring' happens because one allows boredom; we make things interesting because we are interested! And cultural 'niceties' need not contain!
"May I ask you another question?" Elsabe would often begin. It was charming. And so too for my brother. All my friends, despite their evident interest in this accomplished brother of mine, with his explications of Oman, and stories of helicopter rescues with the SA Airforce, and of the ordeal of their relocation from Bredarsdorp to Muscat (especially for Elsabe,) were also asked by Andy and Elsabe about their lives, their interests, and their connections to life, liberty, and the pursuit of peace. We all understood that happiness is but temporary, dependent on the serenity of the moment; it is being at peace that we seek; a comprehension and understanding and inclusion and integration of all the variables. And because of being interested (using one’s innate entelchy) we make life interesting!
Sentiment tends to rest on those five 'W' questions too. Its strength lies in one’s emotion and the reasons for keeping a thing. "I got this compass-sundial from Andy when he visited me after a 40 year separation. I am so proud of him! He is such an authentic and caring human being. He found it in an antique store in Muscat. It was used by British explorers in the 1800's. He knew it would suit me well. Yes, I shall treasure it. The time? No, I'm still working out how to use it, ha!"
Only when we no longer value an object, find no connection, are we more easily able to discard it. Then again, I've friends who keep very little indeed. One reads a card and immediately puts it into the waste bin. Is it because his sentiment is immediate, in the moment; his appreciation fully present? Another friend does not take nor keep photos. (His memory must be sharp indeed.) A name, a place, an event is recalled in precise articulation with a myriad of details. But I for one am not like that. I would retain the fingerprints of my dad's last whiskey bottle. (I am drinking as I type, with all the thought-laden heart-sore sadness of missing them, the last of sweet Elsabe's Grolsch non-alcoholic beers.) And as I take this picture of Andy's thoughtful gift, and submit it to my posting in my Blog of this essay, I wonder who shall in the future find the thing, and who shall be there to answer the many questions it poses. What hands along the way have held this treasure? What's its story? How does it work? Where has it travelled?" Ha! To what reaches may we not soar by asking more?