The Back Nine by Cal Seton-Smith

“THE BACK NINE
(as in Golf for you non golfers)

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You know … time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is… the “back nine” of my life and it catches me by surprise… How did I get here so fast?

Where did the years go and where did my youth go?

I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that “I was only on the first hole” and the “back nine” was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is… my friends are retired and getting gray… they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me… but, I see the great change… Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant… but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d become.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will… I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so… now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!!

But, at least I know, that though I’m on the “back nine,” and I’m not sure how long it will last… this I know, that when it’s over on this earth… it’s over. A new adventure will begin! Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done…. things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

So, if you’re not on the “back nine” yet… let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think.

So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the “back nine” or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life… so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember… and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

“Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one. LIVE IT WELL! ENJOY TODAY! DO SOMETHING FUN! BE HAPPY! HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Remember it is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

LASTLY, CONSIDER THIS:

~Your kids are becoming you…… but your grandchildren are perfect!
~Going out is good.. Coming home is better!
~You forget names…. but it’s OK because other people forgot they even knew you!!!
~You realize you’re never going to be really good at anything…. especially golf.
~The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don’t care to do them anymore.
~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed. It’s called “pre-sleep.”
~You miss the days when everything worked with just an “ON” and “OFF” switch.
~You tend to use more 4 letter words … “what?”…”when?”… ???
~Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it’s not safe to wear it anywhere.
~You notice everything they sell in stores is “sleeveless”?!!!
~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.
~Everybody whispers.
~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet…. 2 of which you will never wear.
But Old is good in some things:
Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!
Stay well, “OLD FRIEND!”

It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.

TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU’VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU’LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.”

The Week that was …5 November 2014

(c) 2014 Edward C. Lunnon

8 years 1 month ill …
Physical: Deuce / Mental: Adv Ed

* The Herald reports on 22 October that “A paralyzed man can walk again after revolutionary treatment hailed as a breakthrough”.

Nerve cells were transplanted from Darek Fidyaka’s nose into his severed spinal column. (in Poland). He was paralyzed from the chest down but can now walk again.

* I start taking Coconut Oil in my coffee. The oil is highly recommended for people with neurological illnesses. Let’s see what happens. I’m also now taking ten carbolev (generic tablets at least, thanks to GEMS) tablets a day. Let’s hope for good results!

* Rob Stear is laid to rest. RIP. And then Monday we hear that Richard Stretch had passed away, and last night further bad news of how The Big C has encroached into our friends and family circle. I am devastated and our prayers and thoughts are with all concerned.

* Three of our national sportsmen/woman pass away in tragic circumstances.

* Tinus Linee ex Springbok and WP rugby player and MND patient passes away in Paarl

* We attend Grey Staff Soiree now in its 26th year

* I do the zip line at Adrenalin Addo on Happy Lands farm and spend the day with the Tayler-Smiths

* David Maynier, ex pupil and now shadow minister of Defence in the SA Parliamen, came to visit and we had a beer at Something Good

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A Whole New World

(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon

8 years 1 month ill …
Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage Ed

Listen here: http://youtu.be/PmvT7B3u7II

I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I’m way up here
It’s crystal clear
That now I’m in a whole new world with you
Now I’m in a whole new world with you

Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky

A whole new world
Don’t you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath – it gets better
I’m like a shooting star
I’ve come so far
I can’t go back to where I used to be

A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
Every moment red-letter
I’ll chase them anywhere
There’s time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you

A whole new world
That’s where we’ll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me

Today, for me, was a whole new world, my eyes were opened and there were a hundred thousand things to see!

Nothing dramatic happened! It was just that I received my new spectacles.

Having CBD, one would think, is bad enough and that I would be spared all the other things that may also go wrong in the body. Alas, that’s not the case!

For a while now, I have had problems with my right eye. Last week was a return visit to the ophthalmologist and he suggested another eye test too. That resulted in my new vision today. What a welcome change!

I also lost a tooth last week whilst eating my muesli and that necessitated a trip to the dentist.

I need to thank all the various professional people who assist me in every possible way, especially those in the last week who have come to my assistance yet again. They kept my last week very busy! In between all the other glamorous things that I am so blessed to be able to do, the daily housekeeping can not be neglegted!

* Dr Dean Barclay (and Dr Jan Venter in Dean’s absence) from the Eye and Laser Institute and Bryan Dowley and Tim Seaman from Spec-Savers care for my eyes
* Dr Alisdair Brown who cares for my teeth
* Andre Grundling (Orthotists) manufactures and tweaks my arm and leg braces (my “scaffolding”)
* Grant Randall from Front Cover looks after my hair and beard
* Stuart Dicke, and Julian and Marby Fletcher massage my tired muscles
* Annemarie Salmon keeps me moving in and out of the water at Aurora Hospital
* Sr Gill le Roux, Sr Janice Malkinson and Isaac Ruben from PE St Francis Hospice who visit me regularly and lift my spirits when they start falling.

(Please forgive me if your name is not here – this was just the last week and I will acknowledge you when your turn comes up! My memory is not the best anymore, either!)

So, life isn’t just all the glitz and glamour of the photoshopped pictures which we have all come accustomed to seeing on Facebook.

Nowadays, in our “whole new world” of social media, we tend to display our carefully manicured and Instagrammed lives to each other to view. Let’s not forget that there is a lot of dreary and drudgery (is there such a word?) maintenance that goes into keeping ourselves and our Facebook’s looking good and Twittering for others to see!

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Walk and Fly

8 years 1 month ill …

Physical Deuce / Mental ED

(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon

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airshow

I am angry!

This morning we have heard of yet another killing – this time the captain of our national soccer team shot down in cold blood.

I have written an open letter to the President of the RSA. Decisive action is needed to stop the lawlessness and crime in our country.

This comes after a wonderful weekend. A weekend that shows us just how we could live in this country of ours.

It started off with the Big Walk for Cancer. Nine thousand people walking five kilometers along the beach front of Port Elizabeth. All this to raise awareness and funds for cancer treatment in our City.

The weather was fine and the atmosphere electric. Singing and dancing and music and merriment, and in the process, a record established for the most number of feet through a hotel foyer of the Boardwalk Hotel.

Pera and I were two of the nine thousand!

Then we moved up to the Port Elizabeth Airport for the Bay West Air Show. All this to raise funds for the MTR Children’s Home in our City.

What an excited crowd – I’m not sure how many but the place was choc-a-bloc full.

“Oohs “and “aaahs” from little boys and little girls and not so little boys and little girls! The things that dreams are made of and the defining moments that determine the future occupation and pasttimes of so many little people.

Pictures grace all the pages of the social media and print media this morning.

These are the things that determine whether people remain in this country or flee overseas, as so many of our friends and family do.

We’re all on a high as we return home to watch the Currie Cup rugby final between the Lions and the WP – and WP wins! Even higher we go!

And what a choice of activities we had this weekend: in between walking and flying, we could have celebrated the Oktoberfest, attended the Aurora fete, tasted the whiskey and the cigars at the Fairview Expo, viewed the Bedford Gardens, …

All enough to make you high – the joys of Africa!

But then this morning’s news brings you crashing back to the realities of Africa!

And as I write this, my younger sister Ingrid and my niece Lindsay are visiting my youngest sister June in the Land of the Long White Cloud –  Aotearoa. Travel safe, enjoy and keep the pics flowing for our armchair travelogue!

I am not only angry. I am also galla!

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An Open Letter to the President of the ANC (and by default) the President of the RSA

Dear Mr Zuma (I’m not sure you deserve the title Mr President)

When Chris Hani was shot, Madiba spoke on TV and assured the Rainbow Nation that our country was in good hands – that all was under control!

Yet another killing – one too many and a bridge too far!

Surely, the time has come for you to show some statesmanship, Mr Zuma. Carpe Diem – seize the moment – and reassure us that all is still well in our country and in your hands!

Tell us what your plan of action is to stop all these senseless killings! Or do you intend retiring to the Nkandla bunker whilst the rest of the country gets involved in a Wild West shoot out? You surely don’t want a Western solution to an African problem!

You, Mr Zuma, are in charge and the buck stops with you! You can’t just take from us – it’s time to pay back!

Please tell us what you intend to do!

We cannot continue with this mayhem and lawlessness, from the veld around Vosloorus, to the Pretoria penthouses, and from the fields of our farms to the shopping centers of Somerset West! From all these senseless shootings of innocent people to the stupidity of shooting traffic lights in our main streets – it’s lawlessness and it’s got to be stopped!

The Biblical Jacob, father of the 12 tribes of Israel, was determined to work long and hard for what was required and we learn from his life that security does not lie in the accumulation of goods.

The People of South Africa deserve no less from you!

CRY (no, Weep) the BELOVED COUNTRY!

Ed Lunnon

PS Please, Sir, don’t put that Social Worker on the TV at noon today … In our darkest hours, we need the President to light our way!

HHH40 Reunion 2014 (Part 2)

8 years 1 month ill …
(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnnon

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I said some more than sixty replied in the affirmative. I’m still not sure exactly how many attended – there were still people booking on the Friday morning that the reunion started and some arrived without booking!

The more, the merrier!

Originally, one event was what I had in my mind. But as more people from afar replied, that grew to three official events – and a few more unofficial get-togethers!

All were planned from Port Elizabeth for the weekend of 26 – 28 September 2014. I had also arranged to return to the Cape on 13 September in order to ensure that everything was in place (and an excuse, I guess, to go “home”!).

Communication with everyone was problematic. Not many of my era are computer-linked via the internet and some don’t even have an e-mail address! I had to resort to letters, envelopes, stamps and the Post Office – when last did you post a letter in a red letter box?

The functions planned were a get-together at the school on Friday including tea with the current staff, a tour of the new school buildings and an spitbraai in the evening.

Saturday was winetasting at Vergelegen Estate, rugby and starters at Erinvale Golf Course and Dinner (courses 2 and 3) at Lourensfords Millhouse Restaurant.

Sunday was a brunch and farewell at The Lord Charles Hotel.

I arrived in Cape Town on my late father’s birthday (it would have been his 99th!). In between all the arrangements, thanks to my niece and her husband, Michelle and Sebastian Ridgway, and friends Gretel and Willem Wust from Durbanville, I was able to visit family, friends, wine farms, pubs, restaurants, etc etc. The Cape of Good Hope does not seem to run out of entertainment options.

I celebrated my 58th birthday in the CBD (not my illness!) of Cape Town and in style with my Strand family. I haven’t done that in many a year!

All the time, the reunion dates came closer. People started arriving early in the week, like Kevin Russell from England, Piet Faure from Johannesburg and Carl Groenewald from Pietermaritzburg. We ate various meals at various places, from Gordon’s Bay Harbour to Helderberg’s Slopes.

Cecil Bond arrived the previous Saturday from Vancouver – and he and his wife and I managed to get in a few good visiting hours at The Lord Charles. He then also managed, in addition to our function, a SACS reunion in Cape Town and a family 60th birthday party in Kimberley!

And yes, despite the best of plans, things do go wrong! As the guests were arriving at the front door on Friday, the pub organisers were threatening to withdraw because they still had not received my EFT deposit from the bank!

Imagine a reunion without a pub!

The dinner was double booked and I had to improvise a two stage dinner at two different venues!

But, the people arrived, the memories were unlocked, the camaraderie gelled, the wine flowed and the chatting continued, by some, until four in the morning!

Too soon, it was all over. But not the pics, the memories, the history and the renewed friendships.

I was so pleased that I had persevered, despite the difficulties, to continue with the arrangements and to renew the links.

I was so pleased that we had all come.

I had finished what I had been doing and stopped working. It was all good, so then I rested!

And, before I flew back to Port Elizabeth on Tuesday morning, I managed to slip in a visit to my neurologist at Tygerberg Hospital Dr Henning and his lovely wife Helen. The supper was great, the pills were upped and the company was good!

I did wipe back a tear as the British Airways plane took off over the Cape Flats, False Bay and the Hottentots-Holland Mountains.

“Our school has done well, may it ere excel …”

HHH40 Reunion: 2014 (1)

8 years 1 month ill …
Mental: Advantage Ed / Physival: Deuce
(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon

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I went to Hendrik Louw Primary School in The Strand, Hottentots-Holland High School in Somerset West and Sulphur High School in Sulphur, Oklahoma, USA.

I then attended Stellenbosch University and did some of my practical teacher training at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch and Hottentots-Holland High School.

I did some brief teaching at Sulphur High and taught for five years at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth from 1984 to 1988.

I have also lectured at what was the PE Technikon, the University of Port Elizabeth and the UPE Business School.

My sister is a teacher, my brother-in-law is a teacher and my wife is a teacher. Teaching is in our blood!

Five years ago, in 2009, I organised the 25 year reunion of the very first class that I had taught at Grey – the Grey Class of 1984. Grey is a school with a very strong Old Boys’ Union and has annual reunions for many of its classes – the 10, 20, 25, 30, 50, 60 and many more! Thousands of Old Boys return to their Alma Mater every year.

This year, I assisted a bit with the 30 year return of the Class of 1984. My health would not allow me more than just “a bit”!

Whilst busy with those arrangements, in May of this year 2014, it dawned on me that I had matriculated in 1974 and had been out of school myself for 40 years! Not once, in the ensuing years, had our class ever had a reunion and most of us have never seen each other since we left “… the Valley famed both far and wide since the days of Van der Stel”!

So, when the Grey reunion had finished in May, I started with the arduous task of trying to organise a reunion for my own class in a school where reunions are not annual events but held on a very “los and vas” basis!

I had a few names of HHH classmates on Facebook. Like throwing that proverbial stone into the water and watching the rings that that creates, I approached those first few people to gauge the water – would anyone really be interested in getting together after 40 years?

The rings kept getting bigger an bigger, and soon we had the complete name list of 99 people. With the most unbelievable sleuthing skills by Annemarie Nieuwoudt (Sherlock Holmes!) we managed, in three months, to find that nine of our class had passed away. Of the remaining 90, we traced and spoke to 89 (all except our headboy) and received affirmative replies from over 60 of our class mates!

The stage had been set for a good reunion! (to be continued …)