A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

miscellaneous news
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MUSINGS OF A MEANDERING MIND #15 (article first published : 2006-05-21)

So many of us in this country (South Africa, that is) have friends, or relatives, who’ve emigrated and consequently lost touch – or possibly retained only infrequent contact – with loved ones. I count myself fortunate to still be able to chat – daily or weekly, as the mood takes us - with a very dear friend who was my next-door neighbour for the first 13 years of my life. She was christened Elizabeth but – for a reason I’ve somehow never thought to enquire – was always called Lesley.

There are only three years between us but I, being the younger, struggled to pronounce her name as a tiny tot, and it came out as Essie. She, in turn, referred to me – for a year or two – as Befarlee. And this is how we now – many thousands of miles apart – still sign our e-mails to each other. I was musing recently how strange it was that in spite of not being able to pronounce her name correctly for some years she had nevertheless taught me, by the time I began school, to recite – without any hesitation or stammering – the following put-down to any of my peers who tried, for whatever reason (as small children frequently do) to belittle me …

Are you insinuating that I should tolerate such diabolical insolence from a mere inferior like you? Well, you’re mistaken, you microscopic lump of inconsistency! What a hoot it was so see the face of the one who’d been making fun of me after spouting that lot!

Well, a few years back I discovered a passion (let me not be so egotistical as to call it a gift) for churning out rhyming couplets, and spent a couple of weeks working on 50 years’ worth of Reflections. A couple of verses were devoted to my dearest pal, and went thus …

In Nel Street my next-door neighbour was Les/ We’d play in the park, till late, with no cares/ She taught me one day to ride her big-person’s bicycle/ And I was FINALLY able to get rid of my babyish tricycle. I recall one day we climbed up this huge fruit tree/ And by evening had both turned a distinct shade of green/ You see, we’d eaten too many unripe apricots/ And our tummies really got tied up in KNOTS/ Les’s parents were John and Ivy Carver/ For a back-up family I’d need look no farther/ In their home you’d encounter upbeat marching tunes/ And late-night dinners would emit appetising fumes

Well, life separated us around the time I began high school, then we reconnected for a while when first she, then I, had our babies, and for a couple of years the two of them, just six months apart, were able to spend some happy times together. As the years went by we both landed up divorcing, and shortly after my own separation from my hubby Les made the decision to emigrate – to, of all places, Alaska! - with by then three children plus several pets. This being the era before the introduction of the Internet, letters were infrequent, as we both led busy lives, both at work and at home, and it was MANY years before we were destined to meet up once more.

That time came when my dear friend’s mother had to undergo serious surgery and eventually move to Canada where Lesley had since settled. When she came out to help her mother with the packing up and selling of her home, we were fortunate to spend a little more time together, and reminiscences of our youth came thick and fast. Indeed, each time we’ve reconnected it’s been as if no time at all has elapsed: we just pick up where we left off the last time.

Recently she chose to retire at age 60 (whereas I was unfortunately part of a huge SABC retrenchment exercise some years before I would have elected to stop working) and I wrote her a couple of verses to celebrate both our long-lasting friendship and her upcoming freedom, part of which went as follows …

In the summer we’d play happily in the park until late/ At dusk we’d head home, where our dinners we ate/ To grow up and have a daughter named Candy was my fate/ Lesley’s first child was a baby girl named Kate./ Circumstances would part us at various times in our lives/ And neither of us was destined for long to be wives/ But no matter the distance our friendship survives/ Through e-mail these days our relationship thrives

After school Les seemed uncertain about her life’s vocation/ Her dad’s job took their family to a distant location/ Several options received consideration but ultimately elimination/ When she finally decided on NURSING her folks were filled with elation./ At one point in her life, when her children numbered three/ She decided to make a long journey across the sea/ And moved to Alaska, a far northern territory/ But eventually in Canada took up permanent residency.

In a small village’s health clinic she held sway/ Dealing with assorted calamities each and every day/ After working like a beaver to earn her pay/ She looks forward with RELISH to retirement day! And so my wish for you, dearest friend Les/ Is a life of happiness, free from daily cares/ Never forget you have an old pal in SA who shares/ Your joy – and wants to know how her friend fares

And indeed she diligently keeps me posted with events in her life. I don’t know that we shall get the opportunity to see each other face to face ever again, but at least with the blessing of e-mail and digital photography we are able to keep each other up to date, sharing both the joyful and tearful times that befall us as we tread this lifetime’s path. Indeed, if it had not been for e-mail I may well have not been here to write this piece, as it was her deep and abiding caring, coupled with her medical knowledge, which saved me from suicide during a period of severe depression last year due to ill health. She tells me she is SO proud of me for making the effort to turn my life around – and I am, in turn, so grateful to HER for, as I put it, SAVING my life!. It seems fate – or whatever one likes to call it – places certain people in our lives for very special reasons, and she is a particularly wonderful friend I think of as a guardian angel here on earth. – Bev Pulé




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart