To Lighten your heart in these chilly days!
My mother-in-law was going to spend the holidays with us. Before her arrival, my husband, Barrie, and I debated whether or not she should accompany us to a party on New Year’s Eve. Barrie wanted her to attend, but I worried she might feel out of place. I turned to my 21-year-old son, who had been listening. “I agree with you, Mom,” he said. “You shouldn’t take her.” Surprised, as he always agrees with his dad, I was basking in his approval when he added, “That would be like me taking you to a party with me.”
For years my husband, Tom, and I had complained bitterly about the lack of sidewalks in our village, observing often that if only we had sidewalks, we would walk daily and become models of fitness. So we were thrilled when a community sidewalk project was announced, and watched eagerly as paving neared completion. Then wishful thinking and reality collided. “Well, dear,” Tom said. “What’ll we use as an excuse for not walking now?”
Most of the cooking in our house is done by my husband, but occasionally I get to make dinner. One day it dawned on me that our four-year-old daughter was willing to help me, but not her father, in the kitchen. I asked her why.
“Well, Mom,” she replied,”Dad seems to know what he’s doing.”
A fellow walked into a drugstore and headed to the back to speak to the pharmacist. “Do you have anything for hiccups?” he asked.
Without warning, the pharmacist reached over and gave the man a sharp smack on the shoulder. “Did that help?” he inquired.
“I don’t know,” the startled man replied. “I’ll have to ask my wife. She’s waiting in the car.”
We were driving in my friend Keith’s new car. I asked him about its features. He listed the usual, then added: “It tells me to slow down as I approach the speed limit. It warns me when I have to stop. It points out solid no-passing lines.” I expressed my amazement. “But,” he explained, “these features work only when my wife is in the car.”
I left South Africa in 1948, the same year the government that introduced apartheid was elected. For 42 years South Africa was an international pariah until the peaceful transition to Nelson Mandela’s democratic government.
I went back to South Africa for the first time a couple of years ago. The customs officer, noting that I had been born there, asked me while handing back my Canadian passport, “How long have you been away?”
“Fifty years,” I replied.
With a shrug, he said, “You haven’t missed anything.”
Merrilee, my daughter, had just received her medical laboratory science degree when we were out shopping one day. She told me she had recently seen a nail polish on a woman and would like to find that colour. “What shade was it?” I asked.
“Red,” she replied.
“What colour of red?”
She thought a moment, then said, “The colour of just-coagulated blood.”