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Posts Tagged ‘memory’

It is time. It is time to bid summer farewell. The trees at the bottom of the garden are changing colour. Iridescent green has given way to a hint of gold. Each day we notice a few more leaves have succumbed to the transformation. Some are further along the path and have curled up and fluttered across the deck. There they await the Fall clean up in the ever increasing pile.

The first signs of Fall...

The first signs of Fall…

I have always been fascinated by trees. In South Africa I could rattle off the names…..White Stinkwood, Ficus Ingens and Acacia to name but a few. But here in Canada I am a mere novice and a maturing brain does not permit me to commit so many of these names to memory! This does not deter me appreciating them. They stand tall and stately at the bottom of our garden and along our meandering creek. As I observe their changes, they prepare me for the different seasons.

There is a flurry of activity as the squirrels gather up their supplies in our garden for winter. They are strategic about their placing too. The larder is scattered around and some have even been dug into the pots at the front door. I do hope they are plotting the whereabouts of these nutritious nuts and that the position will be recalled after their long winter sleep. I find myself committing to memory some of their hideouts along with all the other irrelevant things that we mothers are required to memorise.  For example……where are my socks?

Josh squirrel hunting.

Josh is a keen observer of his environment too!

The animals are not the only ones who have read the signs. The builder next door is racing ahead to get the walls up and the roof tiled on his new dwelling. There is a bulldozer across the street digging a huge hole. Road works are being completed down the street and everyone is resurfacing their driveways.
Across the way a tree was felled…..a majestic maple tree. I heard the squeal of the saws all day as they worked at reducing this beautiful specimen to pile of logs. I felt sick as I looked across and decided to walk over once all the workmen were gone home. There was a huge sign FREE FIREWOOD. I wanted to pay homage to this gracious lady. I stood a while, moved closer and ran my fingers along where the blade had sawn through the golden wood. The moisture that had been drawn up by the roots clung onto the wood in vain. Amongst the pile was the largest of slices. My fingers traced the growth rings……..she had seen 50 Canadian winters! This maple syrup- producing grand dame  had once had a twin. Inside the tree were 2 separate crowns that later decided to collaborate and had become one enormous tree!
Need I say that I am partial to twins, as we have had a double feature in our family too.

Our wiggly twins....

Our wiggly twins….

As I gazed across at the sad pile I decided……this baby has to come home with me! I scurried off and fetched the wheelbarrow along with my long suffering male contingency. We loaded our slice of gold up and gently wheeled her back to the safety of our back garden. No fireplace for this beauty! She will be well cared for and is at present attending the Morkel Spa where she is being exfoliated and oiled.
She will rise again on her new legs and will grace the Morkel household in the Great Room with her beauty.

The Morkel Spa hard at work....

The Morkel Spa hard at work….

 

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Some things will never change…….

The challenge came forth from way down south where the sun beats warmly on the African earth. Oh the memory of that warmth and clear sky, just the medicine to escape from the reality of our Canadian winter!  

We had been house bound for a few days and had clocked up a 25 centimetre drop of snow all in one day! The wind chill bit into the bones as we shoveled and cleared the driveway. It was a never ending job! We had hit the comfort foods and braved the streets to alleviate the cabin fever. Then ‘the dare’ came in and the spirits lifted. It was just too enticing a challenge to ignore and besides it would distract us from an otherwise dreary cold day.

 

The ramp takes shape....

The ramp takes shape….

But don’t you believe it……

The plan was put in motion. What equipment would be needed? It was obviously going to be a snow setting so all the ski paraphernalia was needed. Then the scene had to be set and this involved the building of a ramp. Some jumping technique would add a bit of flair to the short prescribed video footage. Thank goodness for the house full of engineers and our software ace. It was a case of all hands on deck. The snow shovels and extra garden ones were rounded up and the heaps of snow were reorganized into our very own Winter Olympic ramp. Sochi here we come! Bear in mind that at the bottom of the back garden there was an icy stream and a forest of mature elm trees that had to be avoided at all costs.

Think about it before you break the rules…..

We were finally set up, cameras were poised and the ramp glistened against the backdrop of trees. It was now close to minus 20 C and the breeze had picked up.  We proceeded to the top of the hill. Let’s do this! The thick ski jacket was pulled off to reveal the requirements for the challenge……a bathing costume!  Note this was not a baggy pair of bathing shorts but a speedo! I giggled uncontrollably and was banished to the side of the garden where I would not distract. I was reminded that this was a serious matter. I duly removed myself to a safer vantage point where I could safely chuckle into my coat. The skis were clicked into place, the ski poles dug in and a few warm up stretches were performed. Count down…..3…2….1 ….and my son was off. He slid down the track and flew up into the air over the ramp, twisted and landed perfectly. We all let out a whoop and I ululated from my banished position. He did it! He met the challenge!

 

Lights, camera, action.....

Lights, camera, action…..

It’s just the way it is……

The cold does strange things to you when you are cooped up for so long. It is similar to being stuck out in the bush for long periods of time. In South Africa it is known as being bosbev…k. So we survive the cold version of this malady by amusing ourselves with ‘many firsts.’  I am grateful that ‘the challenge’ took place in our back garden.  I am sure some of our neighbours might have called in the paramedics and had us rushed off to ‘groen dakkies’ if they had noticed our antics!

Groen dakkies: the asylum in Cape Town

bosbev…k:  bush mad.

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The last of the Fall leaves cling to the trees while the rest have surrendered. They have fallen down and lie in a carpet of red and yellow. Through the mist and the fine drizzle you can make out the proud silhouettes of the veterans. Their dark uniforms trimmed with medals and berets perched proudly on their heads. They have all come here today to salute and to pay homage to their fallen brethren. Their faces all tell a story as they stand each with their own thoughts of their different experiences. It is a moment of reverence for us all.  An elderly war hero addresses the crowd and pauses as he too remembers those ‘who never came home.’

How can one ever be the same after you have lived through a war? The fear that engulfs you before and during a mission…..the reality that each day might be your last…..the loss and devastation that tears through the people and their country…then the home coming and the difficult journey back to civilian life. It seems trivial that we can only imagine what it was like to be a participant. 

My dad, Frederick Creech

My dad, Frederick Creech

The Lancaster bomber drones ahead. It has been lovingly restored by a few flying enthusiasts at the Hamilton Aeronautical Museum in Canada and is playing an active role in the Remembrance Day commemorations.  It serves to remind us all of the vital role that this magnificent machine played during the 2nd World War. I was fortunate enough to hear firsthand about many of these Lancaster missions. My father was a bomber pilot and squadron leader during the 2nd World War in England. He would relate these ‘stories,’ albeit painful for him, with clear detail which always surprised me. I listened as my dad recounted these incidents that were imprinted in his memory: the raids over Germany at night, the bailing out of their aircraft when it was shot down and the joy of D-Day. These ‘war years’ had been but a few when you compare it to the 89 years that he was among us. The impact, however, was everlasting as it is with anyone who has to endure the experience of a war zone.

 My red poppies have a poignant memory for me today as I reflect on my courageous and wonderful father. I miss you, dad. 

 

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Memory, turn your face to the moonlight.

 

A grey figure is hunched over her wooden kitchen table. The blackened kettle whistles on the Agar stove as she patiently sieves, mixes and blends. She gently wipes the flour off her hands on her starched white apron and blows a grey hair from her face. It is a cold Karoo evening but there is a lot to do before she can light the lamp and crawl into bed. Her body aches at the thought of her cosy bed with the patch work quilt. “Tomorrow I will see the whole family again.”

A Karoo morning....

A Karoo morning….

Another day is dawning….

It is 6am and I stumble out of bed and precariously make my way down the stairs.I want to surprise the extended family with a batch of my ‘famous’ cheese muffins. Auto pilot switches on and out come all the ‘tools of the trade.’ All these electrical appliances had to be replaced when we made the journey across the sea, as nothing was compatible with the Canadian voltage. So I was spoilt with a rather zooty looking stainless steel mixer. It does everything! It is useful but I hate to admit that it is not my favourite. The piece that steals my heart is my old hand driven sieve. You know the one with the handle that turns…

I regular get reprimanded by my family. “Mom, when are you going to throw that old thing out? It is all rusted up!” My retort is always the same……

Are you going to throw me out when I am not useful anymore?

The old sieve finds a new home...

The old sieve finds a new home…

 

Memories, I can smile at the old days.

My sieve was found in an old junk shop. I rescued it from the kitchen scrap yard! I could not help myself……It reminded me of the one that my mom has used all these years. We have delighted in the Christmas cakes, tea loaves and ‘dinosaur pies’ that my mom’s expert hands and this little wonder have churned out from her busy kitchen. So call me sentimental, but I relive those special times with each turn of my ‘rusty old timer.’ 

And the new day will begin…..

The timer blasts forth and I take out my golden offerings from the oven. The mustardy, cheesy aroma makes my stomach grumble. Soon my mob will come thundering in with bleary eyes. They always seem to know when there are freshly baked offerings. I am left wondering about the family that once sat around that wooden table in the middle of the Klein Karoo. At least their old sieve has a caring custodian.

Antiquity versus modernity!

Antiquity versus modernity!

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