Monthly Archives: May 2013

Post 63. Amazed

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Tony’s job at Legends came to an end.  It was sad saying goodbye to the kitchen staff who he had prayed with every morning.   He started to do more work at Waverley and it wasn’t long before he was part of the staff.

In December we went on holiday to Southbroom with the Brabys.   It was hot and I spent way too much time in the sun without sunscreen.  We got home one afternoon after a really long day out.  My legs went like jelly and I passed out.  I had sun-stroke for three days; delirious, dehydrated and nauseous.

When we got back to Johannesburg, we decided to move out of our little cottage into an area called Buccleuch.   We already had some friends living there and the plan was to see if we could start a new community.  First we had to find a house.

Our budget was R 500.00 a month.  That wasn’t much.  We looked at so many places.  Everything was way above what we could afford.  Friends of ours took us to see a lovely 3 bedroomed house with a big garden for R 2000.00.  We went along just for fun.  It was newly built and never lived in.  The landlord was friendly and smiled when we told him what our budget was.  Without any discussion he said, “Ok, you can pay R 500.00 and I’ll pay for water and electricity.”  We couldn’t believe it.  We were going to move into an empty, brand new house.

We needed to get some furniture.  The only thing we had bought was a second hand washing machine.  We had been putting our washing in the bathtub, filling it with soapy water and trampling on it.  It was fun for a while but then we got bored.   We were the only form of entertainment in the cottage, so when the machine was set up, we sat on the floor and watched our washing going round and round.

Friends started giving us furniture and before we knew it our house was full.   There was so much space and once again, we were amazed at all the blessings coming our way.

A very well meaning friend felt we needed a puppy.  She arrived at our door with a big smile and tiny white ball of Maltese Poodle.  We had mixed feelings but it wasn’t long before we were in love.  We named him Pooky.  It wasn’t too much longer before we realised we had a big problem on our hands.   He was a nut case.  Every couple of days we had to pick him up from somewhere.

Finances were always tight.   One month was particularly bad.  We were supporting a friend who had joined a mission organisation.  The amount we were sending to her was the amount we needed to make it to the end of the month.   We were tempted.  After much deliberation, we knew we had to send it.

Within a few days, the lady who had given us our puppy, popped in with an envelope.   It was enough money to cover all Pooky’s injections.   His next one was only due in two months.  When she left, we looked in the envelope and it was exactly the amount we had just given away.   Once again, we were amazed.  God and Pooky had saved the day.

We got our house on a Sunday.  That same evening, Tony was ordained as an elder. That afternoon I wee’d on a stick.  I was pregnant.

Post 62. Change of plan

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Before we got married we told people not to give us gifts because we were going to India within 6 months.  That was the plan.

In New Zealand, Tony had been going to a church led by tattoo-covered George, a wild Pacific Islander.  He had been a gang leader and got radically converted.  He was tough and didn’t take any nonsense.  He met with his people in pubs and cafes.  Sunday mornings would start with,

“Ok you, come up here.  Tell everyone what I preached last Sunday and what you have done about it.”

A young guy who had a problem staying away from brothels, went to see him in his office for the hundredth time to confess.  George was fed up.  He knocked him to the ground; lights out.  He got up and never went back to a brothel.

Tony wanted to learn from someone not so heavy handed. Rig became his second best friend.  They spent hours together talking about theology, life and India.  Rig was supportive of our call but a bit concerned about our readiness and the timing of it all.

I signed up for a diploma course in Public Relations and loved it.  I had also completed a course in Journalism.  I knew both courses were somehow going to be helpful in the future.

Within a few months, things were looking clearer and we both knew what we would be doing in India; Community planting.  Tony was still relatively new to it. He knew if we were going to have anything to do with pioneering, he would need to learn as much as he could.  We also knew we would need lots of friends to help us on our way.

Tony went to see Rig to talk about our plan.  We had been married for 4 months and we needed to get going.  Rig could see our eagerness and passion but his advice was to wait.  He had some good perspectives.  Tony struggled with it but he knew Rig was a wise soul.  His response was, “Ok, I submit, but now its’ on your head.”

So, we settled it.  We were going to be in South Africa for as long as we needed to be and we were going to make the most of it.

We had been married for 5 months.  I was on the pill and it wasn’t helping me to be a nice person or a loving wife.  I was emotional, negative and just not myself.    Enough was enough.  I was going to come off the pill.  One night we looked at each other and said,

“Let’s have a baby.”

Post 61. Our honeymoon

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The end of our wedding video shows us holding hands, romantically walking into the sunset.  That is NOT how it happened.

A room was booked for our first night at a pretty B & B called Mount Grace.  It was getting late and it was going to take a few hours to get there.   We waved goodbye to everyone and got into our new second hand VW Golf.   It wouldn’t start.  Tony tried again and again, but no joy.   I piled into Wilf and Val’s car with the cake, gifts and other members of the family while Tony and the guys tried to get it going.

When we realised it wasn’t going start, Rig said we could use his car.  I met Tony back at Rig and Sue’s and off we went on honeymoon.  At last.

Mount Grace: Let’s just say, we didn’t see the light of day.

I had tele-booked a few places in and around the Kruger National Park.   The only thing we had to go by were the brochures sent to us in the mail.  Our plan was to make our way around White River and Nelspruit in North Eastern Natal.

After a night and a day at Mount Grace, we drove to our next destination.  It sounded and looked amazing in the brochure.  It was a difficult place to find and arriving in the dark didn’t help.  There was no-one at the gate when we got there, so I stayed in the car while Tony went to find the guard.  He showed us to our room by the light of his torch and we unpacked the car.  It was pitch dark.   There was one dim light bulb in the room and that was enough for us to see what we needed to see.  It was a tiny, dingy room with just enough room for small double bed.  It was smoky and smelt like burnt porridge.  We picked up our stuff and put it back in the car.  The guard found the owner and we managed to get our money back.  We took off into the darkness and found a place for our second night.

It was an adventurous, wonderful week.  I had my first birthday as a married woman and was spoilt rotten.  The highlight was our 3 days in the Kruger.

Tony had been among some wild people but never among wild animals.  We drove around and found a mother elephant with her calf.  The road we were on separated them from each other.  We drove between them and Tony decided he wanted another, closer look.  He got into reverse and went quite close to the baby.  Mummy didn’t like that.  She started to trumpet and charge us.  In his panic Tony couldn’t get the car out of reverse.  I was shouting and he was grinding the gears.  Somehow we managed to leave her in the dust.

When our three days were up, we drove North.  We hadn’t booked but we were sure we would be able to find a place to stay.    We drove in the direction of Johannesburg and stopped at every motel, hotel and guest house on the way; there was nothing.  Every place was fully booked so we kept on driving, and driving and driving.  Before we knew it we were back at our cottage.  Poor Betty was shocked and horrified when we knocked on the door.  She couldn’t stop apologising for being in our bed while we were still on honeymoon.  We made up a mattress in the lounge and fell dead asleep.  We were exhausted.

We had driven five hours through the night looking for a place to stay.  It was so nice to be in our cottage.  There was no place like our first home.  Even if my mother-in-law was there.

Post 60. 3 May 1986

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Our day had finally come.  It was the 3 May 1986 and it was a beautiful Johannesburg day.  I got ready at Rig and Sue’s place and Tony was at the cottage with Betty and Peter.

Tony and I

Tony and I

We decided that the sleeves on my dress needed to be changed so Val got to that.  Sue did my hair and make-up, putting up with my comments like “Don’t make it too boofy, not too much make up on my eyes.”   She tried to convince me that I needed to wear nail polish just for one day in my life.   Leigh was wearing a pretty pink cottagey dress and Ryan looked handsome with his braces and bow tie.  We were ready way ahead of time.

Tony and Peter

Tony and Peter

Meanwhile, Tony and Betty were locked out of the cottage.  Peter had the key and there was no way to get hold of him.  Betty had borrowed an iron the night before and it leaked a brown liquid on Tony’s white jacket.  She needed to get into the cottage to dry it with a hair dryer. Tony found a small window at the back and managed to get in.

Sue and I

Sue and I

Then it was Sue’s turn.  She put on her white high waist pants and her purplish blouse.  Her massive shoulder pads just wouldn’t sit right.  From that moment on she was obsessed with them.  She took them out, turned them around, upside down and they were still wrong.  When we walked out of the house, she was still fidgeting.

Dave and Wilf came to pick us up.  They both looked handsome and happy.  Wilf was slightly tearful.

With Wilf and Dave

With Wilf and Dave

The garden looked lovely but that wasn’t my focus.  I just wanted to see Tony.  Dad walked me half way down the aisle and Tony walked to meet us.  They shook hands and I was handed over.  Tony was so calm.  In that moment he was aware of our hugely different backgrounds and so grateful that his wild past had been wiped away.

With Betty and Wilf and Val

With Betty and Wilf and Val

In my excitement I took Tony’s hand and walked ahead of him.   Everyone laughed at my eagerness.  I slowed down and we made our way to the little stage covered in a vine.

Rig preached a long sermon from behind a bush.  All we could think of was our honeymoon.  We couldn’t wait for it all to be over.

We said our vows and Tony got out his guitar to sing the song we had written.  It was a new one and he wasn’t sure of it.  He stuck the words on his guitar and started to sing.  Right in the middle, his jacket got hooked up and covered the piece of paper.  He couldn’t see the lyrics, but carried on regardless.  Only I knew the parts he was making up.

Tony singing

Tony singing

COLOURS:

See the silent picture

Painted in my eyes

Feelings expressed in colours

Flowing from a deep palette set in my heart

Framed in laughter a touch of pain

Blends of beauty,

Brilliant skies

Colours, colours flowing from my heart

What causes this rainbow to flow

Out of my eyes into your heart?

The colours rise with ease,

Filling every part of me with warmth and love.

It’s your love that draws this rainbow

Out of me into you

Joining our lives in a perfect blend

Created only for eyes

Painted with love.

We were pronounced husband and wife and whisked off for what seemed like hours of photo taking.  By the time we got back, most of the snacks had gone and some of the ladies were frantically making more sandwiches.

Post 59. A car and a cottage

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Our wedding day was approaching fast.  We had been engaged for more than a year; 6 months officially.  We decided to have a garden wedding in Johannesburg.  One conversation with Val feeling very strongly that I should wear a veil, made me grateful that I wasn’t having it in Durban.

We put all the money we had into buying a white second hand VW Golf for R 2,500.  We thought we were the bee’s knees.  It was light on petrol and it was going to take us on honeymoon.

We also found an amazing fully furnished little garden cottage on a big property in Sandton.  It was covered in a jasmine vine and so pretty.  Tony moved in a week before the wedding.  The landlady Mrs Foreshaw was lovely but not to be messed with.  One night Tony heard a noise behind the house.  Noises in the night in South Africa were never a good thing.  He opened our back kitchen door and saw Mrs Foreshaw.  She was wearing a long white nightie and her wispy, gray, waist length hair was all over the place. She was holding a rifle and more than ready to shoot.  He assured her that everything was ok and she went back to bed.

We were sad that Tony’s siblings couldn’t come but so happy that Betty was going to be there.  She came a week before the wedding and stayed in the cottage with Tony.  Everyone loved her and she was overwhelmed with the love she was shown. She also felt a bit left out of the joy that everyone seemed to have.  It was that week that she gave up her struggle and put her life into the safe hands of Jesus. *

About 150 people were coming; friends from Rolleston Place, Waverly, work, YFC and family.  Sue was going to be my maid of honour and Pete was Tony’s best man.  Rig was going to marry us and Cathie had practised a dance to a Keith Green song.

When we were in Cape Town on holiday, Tony and I had talked about the colours in the sky and water.  We started imagining the colours that were in heaven.  Shades and tones we could never see on earth.  I wrote some words and he put a melody to it.  He decided he would sing it to me on our wedding day.

I struggled to find a wedding dress I really liked.  They were all so big and fluffy.  I eventually found one in a Garden dress boutique and I loved it.

It was happening.  I was going to get married to the man of my dreams.  Not perfect, but perfect for me.   I was going to be with my best friend forever.

I was 25 *, due to turn 26 in three days.   I couldn’t have timed it more perfectly if I had tried.

 

*See Betty in Post 42- Meanwhile in the Pacific Ocean

*See post 50- Triple Yes.

Post 58. Are there lots of flies in India?

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I couldn’t wait to see Tony after work.  We spent every possible moment together and it was so difficult to say goodnight at the end of the day. While I loved all his letters I much preferred having him.   We talked a lot about all kinds of things, but there was one subject we always came back to; India.

I didn’t know much about it.  We had prayed for many missionaries working there and seen their slide shows and heard their stories.  It all sounded very interesting and exciting.  The ship was on its way to India but my time was up.  I felt slightly disappointed.  I thought it would have been an “easy” way to see the country without actually living there.  To somehow get a glimpse of what it may be like without really getting involved.

The first Indian I ever met was our childhood vegetable man, “Sammy”.   He was nice.*   As we got older we shopped in Grey Street.  It was affectionately called “CoolieTown.”   It was where we bought our Levi jeans and stole bangles.  We felt ok because we knew we were being ripped off every time we went there.

When we were small,  dad would stop at an Indian sweet shop on his way home from work, to buy bright pink cakey things covered in coconut.  It was one of the highlights of our week.

Wilf got a job at the Sugar Experimental Station in Mount Edgecombe, right in the sugar cane fields of “Indian country”.   He made friends with Tommy and his family.  One invitation for a meal at their house turned into many.  Before we knew it Peter, about 10 years old,  was sleeping at their house during the holidays.  His days were spent half naked, swimming in a small dam, fishing and eating lots of curry.  He came home a few skin tones darker, with a huge smile on his face and smelling like fish masala.

Indians were nice.  They were generous, hospitable and friendly.  Even in those apartheid years when we couldn’t be neighbours, they didn’t seem too affected by it.

I knew India wasn’t going to be like the peaceful sugar cane fields of Natal.  I knew all families weren’t like Tommy’s.  I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  But there was so much I didn’t know.

I asked Tony some questions.

“Are there lots of flies?”

“No, not that I can remember.”

“Where will we live?”

“I’m not sure.  We’ll have to see when we get there.”

“Oh, ok.”

* See Post 21 for more on “Sammy”