My blogs are written on paper while I’m out teaching,
in the ‘dead’ time between students or on the bus…
just in case you find it doesn’t make much sense*
Oh look! Today’s Friday the 13th! So far, it’s promising to be peachy in spite of my horrorscope promising doom ‘n gloom. I think I’ll actually take a lottery ticket today. In fairness, the lottery place should be empty barring a few other souls as odd as me.
It’s Friday! : )
An old black man got on the bus – his most notable features were his work-worn hands. I looked up at his creased brown skin and my thoughts went back to old Joe. Joe was part of the landscape of my childhood, a short man, his face a map of ebony wrinkles. I’m not sure what his actual job was, but I remember him mostly on his knees alongside my gran as they lovingly tended pansies, dahlias and roses.
He was a quiet man. The only time I remember him actually saying something was when, during some controversial political upheaval in the country ~ “Ek’s ‘n kaffir. Ek sal altyd ‘n kaffir wees.” (Translates to “I’m a kaffir and will always be a kaffir”) He wasn’t being humble or downtrodden when he said that. He said it with an odd pride. I actually think that he had found the equality everyone else was crying for kneeling in the dirt next to a white woman, tending the flower beds they both loved. I was taught to respect him and who could do otherwise? I think he was old before time began.
Another short man from my past comes to mind, Oom de Vos. I can picture him clearly. Actually, I can smell him clearly too. He carried a musty old-man smell about him that made me imagine him carrying mothballs in the pockets of his equally old black suit that he probably dug out especially for these visits. I wish I knew more about him though. He’d known my gran for many, many years. Apparently, he had been a manager on the family farm. He always spoke to my gran with warm deference. I suspect that he could have filled in a lot of the gaps I have in the family history. I’d look his family up, but, sadly, De Vos is a fairly common name in South Africa and I know absolutely nothing else about him. For the lack of photos, I wish I were an artist. I’d paint a picture. The memories are crystal clear.
A young girl, a student, got onto the bus and stood next to my seat. I offered to hold her bags, but she put them on the floor at her feet. She did, however, allow me to hold her book, a thick tome on Clinical Anatomy. Have you ever held a book and wished you could just absorb all the information in it through the covers… osmosis-style? I did. I wonder if she’d have thought me odd or presumptuous if I’d started flipping through the book.