Jan. 10, 2018
Not much but some very important things happened since the last blog.
Dec.28-29th, still holiday time, so lunch at two families. Nice to see the kids and parents together. Lunch because a late supper often bring acid-reflux
Sat. Dec. 30, lots of grass cutting and bush chopping. There has been a good bit of rain, and the grass is delighted, of
Sun. Dec. 31, Holy Family Sunday – what is family today. It used to be father, mother, children, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, mostly. But today, it has taken on a different meaning, as far as I can see. Family is where you feel at home, where you are loved and accepted and given some kind of basic respect. There are so many dysfunctional homes where there is no love so, for many street kids, family is the kids who sleep together under the bridge. They are accepted and loved as they haven’t been at “home”. Or, drug addicts, who just can’t shake the habit, hang out with others who are in the same boat, where no questions are asked, you are not judged, just accepted for who you are, a wounded human being, like all the rest. Or it is the gang where you are somebody, where you feel attached and at home. So, I think that for many, family is where you feel at home, and accepted, not always scolded, loved in a certain kind of way, etc.
It was also New Year’s Eve and there were invitations to join a party here or there to welcome in the new year. I did some praying and was in bed by 10pm. I guess that at my stage in life, starting the new year right is getting a good sleep. Ha. Would you believe. What is happening to me in my old age???
Mon. Jan. 1…Mary Mother of God feast, as usual, at the hospital at 6 am. Not many customers, as you might imagine (the morning after the night before). Grass cutting and removing logs and branches that had been left bedhind by those who were cutting our Christmas trees.
Tues. Jan. 2…A 2018 calendar for the hospital from the repository which opened after the new year. I had supper with a family who wanted to have a proper, party but also prayerful send off for a son who had gotten a job in Joburg and we were celebrating his farewell. It was amusing because his parents were invited, earlier, to his school where he teaches the young kids, and who heard what a great son they had raised who was loved by kids and staff who were really sorry to see him go. The parents said they wondered if the school was talking about the same guy whom they called their son. Ha. After the home mass (probably about 50 people) was the party. I had to get up for the 6am mass at the hospital the next morning so I tried to get someone to take me home. I was home sometime after 10pm. Not too bad.
Wed. Jan. 3…After Mass I went looking for a pair of shoes for my trip to Chicago in Feb. for my Aunt Rose’s 100th birthday. I have no shoes, only sandals, and I heard on the news that the temp. in Chicago, with that cold wave, was like -20C. I was cajoled by a super salesman trying to get me to buy a pair of boots for R1000. Ha. I said I would have a look around. I eventually picked up a pair of light shoes for R300, just enough to get me through the trip for a few days and then back to the sandals.
Thurs. Jan. 4, A surprise visit by a former student nurse who knew me when I was chaplain at St. Mary’s hospital for ’67 to ’69 . She, like me, is now retired. She was visiting from Joburg and popped in with her daughter and her husband and grandkids. Nice. The last time I saw her was in 1969 when I left St. Mary’s hospital. Wow. That’s 45 years ago. She got my cell phone number from someone and followed up on it.
Fri. Jan. 5…More grass cutting and visiting the hospital at a reasonable time (not at 6am) to wish members of the staff a happy new year. Hugs of course. And it was Mpume’s birthday (she didn’t say how old she was but I am sure it is more than 16).
Sat. Jan. 6…. A fateful day. I went to the pharmacy to pick up some Movicol, which helps people who, like me, have chronic constipation---I hear that it goes with the old age territory. I filled up with petrol and on the way back from town (about 7 km. about 4 ½ miles) I had an accident (again, but not my fault). As you know, we drive on the opposite side of the road to what people drive on in the States. So, as I was approaching a junction where people get on the expressway, I had a green light so I cruised on as usual, maybe 30Mph, or so, and, without any warning, a guy coming from the opposite direction, made a right turn, right in front of me, trying to get onto the expressway, and, I couldn’t stop in time and banged into him, and demolished my front end. But he never stopped, He just kept going and disappeared onto the expressway. Judging from the damage to my car, he must have some serious damage to his car too. WE suspect that he was either drinking or on drugs or didn’t have a driver’s licence or was driving a stolen car…some reason why he didn’t want to be seen by the traffic police.
Of course, the vultures were there to hurry and tow me away and I had to fight them off telling them that I had phoned a friend who was coming to my aid, which was true. IN the meantime the traffic police came and had a look, but didn’t do anything, and an emergency vehicle came to check me out to see if I was OK, which I was, but they insisted that I get into their vehicle to have my blood pressure taken. He said it was a bit high. I laughed and said I’m not surprised, under the circumstances, and I am very angry at this idiot who spoiled my entrance into the new year. Damn! Sorry about that.
My friends came and found that they were able to drive the car to the same friend who fixed it las time. But then they took me home, without a car now.
Sun. Jan. 7… 8am mass at Savannah Park, but with a twist. A couple from Joburg, who were spending a few days down here by the sea, asked if they could come for Mass with me to S.P. I was delilghted. So I waited for them and they followed me in the vehicle that Bishop Lobinger loaned to me for the day to the place where we celebrate. They had had no breakfast and I wanted to go, immediately after Mass, to make an accident report at the police station, which was on the way back to our house. They followed me and we went to the police but I told them to go back to Mater Dolorosa ( the old folks home) and have a cup of tea and a snack and as soon as I was finished with the police, I would come and we would go out and have a bit to eat (sort of brunch).
However, the police room was full, full, full and, after 5 minutes (this was about 10:15 in the morning) I could see that, if I was lucky, I just might get out of there shortly before sundown, so I came back to MD. Then we went out for a bite to eat at a Wimpy’s (they have a son Lihle who likes Wimpy…he is going into the 1st grade this year.
When we were finished (catching up on lots of things) they went back to the place they were staying at by the sea, and I went back to the police station near Mariannhill. It was about 1:30pm by this time. There, I was told that I had to make the report at the Pinetown station as the accident happened in Pinetown territory, and because the other guy escaped, they would send their detectives to see if they could track him/them down. There are usually CCTV cameras at places like that junction, so they hoped they might get his licence number. So, back I went to Pinetown to make the report there. Thank goodness, it only took about 45 minutes.
Then, on the way back home, I stopped at the home of the guy who fixes cars to get my stuff out of the car, but he wasn’t answering his phone, so I had to call it a day. The whole evening I spent filling in the accident form for the Insurance with the police accident report number and sent all this stuff off to our insurance broker in Mthatha.
Mon. Jan. 8…Besides Mass at the hospital, and the insurance stuff, emails and WhatsApps going back and forth, another problem cropped up. I was told that if I want to celebrate Mass for my Aunt Rose’s 100th birthday, I have to get a letter from my provincial saying that I am in good standing and am not a criminal or child abuser, etc. So we started that process and my cousin Jeannie and also my cousin Rick tried to get information as to where and to whom to send the document. Again, there were emails going back and forth and it was a hectic day at the office between the things needed for the insurance and the things needed from the provincial, who, incidentally, happened to be on vacation but was kind enough, understanding the urgency, to take time to draft a letter and send it to me to be sent to Chicago, to someone, but who?
I also used Bishop Lobinger’s vehicle to go to the travel agent to finalize the ticket for the trip to Chicago for the birthday celebration on Feb. 4th. Rajes also was kind enough to book an overnight stay in a hotel in Dubai so that I wouldn’t have to stay in the airport overnight. She is very kind and thoughtful.
Tues. Jan. 9… Yesterday, I still had Bishop Lobinger’s car so I could drive to the hospital. Today it was a nice healthy walk. The whole day was spent between re-sending insurance stuff and stuff for the archdiocese of Chicago. I don’t think I have ever spent so much time in an office all in one day. We had intermittent trouble with the internet and the electricity was playing tricks on us most of the evening and night, so it made things more exciting.
Wed. Jan 10… (that’s today). I wanted to cut some more grass after doing some reconnoitering but felt that I really didn’t have time for the luxury of working outside for a while. I was right. Some of the material didn’t go through and some of it had to be resent because it wasn’t readable, and just tonight, my cousin Jeannie managed to get the name of the person to whom to send the document with the email address. Hooray. However, it must come directly from the Provincial’s office (of course, he is presently out of town) and I am leaving for the airport for a trip to Cape Town tomorrow at 6:45 in the morning, so I can’t go to an office physically to see if I can find someone who can do the job. Interesting. Life is never dull around here. So I did the best I could, under the circumstances, and sent an email to him (provincial) and a couple of other people who may be authorized to operate on his behalf when he isn’t here.
I just keep my fingers crossed now.
I finally got around to packing today and hope that I am prepared for the trip tomorrow. It is almost my bedtime and I am glad to have finished all this stuff, including my monthly financial report which I did this morning after the internet returned and I could get my bank statement.
The requests for school fees, school uniforms, etc. has started. Thanks to some friends who have contributed to the socio-pastoral fund, we are able to give a hand to some who otherwise would not be able to get on with their education. I have to stop here now and recheck the suitcase to see if I have everything that I need. It is sweltering hot in Cape Town so it will be “shorts” attire. Ha. I will be back next week and will share with you what has been happening in CT, where there is a severe water shortage. We who lived in the bush know how to survive, even if the odour is not always so beautiful. Ha. God bless you all. Cas.