Remembering Dad and my childhood

A weekend that corresponds with a very sad time in my life came with a few surprising highs this year.  The past weekend marks the 6th anniversary of my father’s death.  So it was a rather freaky co-incidence that a family friend died recently and the funeral service was on the day my Dad died. 

My Dad  met the guy at work and he had two boys who are a similar age to me and my sister.  We used to have regular braai’s (BBQs for non-South Africans) at either their house or ours in a very South African style.  This pretty much involves the men standing round a fire and drinking beer for hours, finally managing to serve up some meat when the guests were due to leave.  As a child I hardly noticed because the weather was good and we had lots of friends to play with.

An image of a South African braai or BBQ
A South African style Braai (BBQ)

The family friend was a very interesting character and could be very volatile, he would say what he thought, good or bad.  I remember playing cards and we were able to make this guy keep missing his turn and he was getting increasingly irate.  Of course the angrier he go the more we made sure he did not get a turn.  My Dad was one of the few people who did not fall out with this family friend.  I can’t say it was because he was chilled because my Dad could be load and vocal at times.  I think the difference is they were from a similar part of the UK and perhaps the two men understood each other better.   

On Friday Mom and I went with some other friends to the funeral service.  I was surprised at how pleased the boys were to see us.  I think they were a little unsure how many people would show up.  They both live overseas and they were not sure who was still talking to their Dad.  Nonetheless there was a good turnout.  Afterwards we went back to their house for some food and a few drinks.  Slowly people started leaving until only handful were left then we pulled some chairs into a circle and started to reminisce.   

Sunday was our annual visit to Groot Constantia.  Dad died at about 6 am on a Friday morning so after saying our goodbyes, we were home by about 8am.  Not knowing what to do with the long day that stretched ahead of us.  I think it was my sister who got the idea that we should go to Groot Constantia and to this day my Mom and sister are convinced that somehow it was my Dad that suggested it.  The calm we felt there was just what we needed.  We had a good laugh because we kept dashing to the toilet due to the stress.  This year we had two people to remember.  With hindsight it would have been fitting if we had invited the friend’s two sons.  Still they had their own things to do. 

An outside view of the Jonkerhuis Resturant at Groot Constantia
The Jonkerhuis Restaurant at Groot Constantia

Then on Monday evening I joined the two sons for a trip up Table Mountain.  We had some drinks and watched the sunset.  We caught the last cable car down and went for some food.  We all had a really nice evening.  I think it is a sign of true friendship that we haven’t spoken for over 20 years but still got on really well.  I hope we are able to stay in touch. 

The lights of Cape Town from Table Mountain
The lights of Cape Town from Table Mountain

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