Karoo Kindness

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 8 October 2013: 7 years 1 month on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage ED


After having spoken to Caltex Eastern Cape at Mpkweni last month, I was approached by Caltex dealer Pierre le Grange to do another talk.

It didn’t take much persuasion because it would be in Graaff-Reinet to the Grade 12 pupils of Union High School.

So all was organised for last Friday 4 October at 9h30. Because of the early start, a lift was organised for Thursday afternoon and I was not able to attend Gordon Wright’s book launch at the Southender or Pera’s birthday supper!

Tiaan van Schoor picked me up at 13h30 and either he or I spoke too much or we drove too fast, but it didn’t take long before we were driving past that derelict drive-in screen and projection room that stand as a monument to things long past at the Port Elizabeth entrance to Graaff-Reinet.

Tiaan was to be my driver and handlanger for the next two days. Not only did we have lots to talk about (we both lived and worked in the Bible Belt of the United States!) but we also share a birthday! It was great having a tetchier to handle all the electronics, wires, computers, projectors etc.

Thursday evening was spent around the most delicious potjie with the Le Grange’s and the Van Schoors (Tiaan’s parents). In the process, the talk to Union had been extended to include jut another talk to Volksskool and then also the Junior Volkskool … and how about the Hospice Walk on Saturday morning, too?

I am humbled to share my story with so many people and to raise awareness about neurological and other life-limiting illnesses. I hope my ad lib Afrikaans translations and on the trot lowering of the level of the talk for the grade 7’s were understood by all!

My message is simple – life is great but it’s hard work. Take what it throws at you – turn the bad into good, focus on the good and never give up!

My thanks to the heads of the three schools for allowing me the time to speak, and to Mr William Pringle of Union High for the Union tie – I shall wear it with pride in remembrance of my happy days in Graaff-Reinet and the Karoo kindness that I am so privileged to experience. My illness provides me with so many good things that there is almost no time to consider the bad.

Even the tiredness (yes, ED is in tired) after three talks can be overcome with another braai on Friday evening (just a quiet braai with the Wrights neighbours that turned into Russian Roulette!) And when Justin Kingwell took me home at midnight I couldn’t find the Le Grange’s home and we drove up and down the streets of Graafies pushing my remote button to see where a gate opened!

Some twenty ladies were walking (in stages) 60 km from Graaff-Reinet to Nieu Bethesda over the weekend. The event was a fundraiser for GR Hospice.

When Pierre asked me to start the Hospice fundraiser walk on Saturday morning with a message, I eagerly agreed until I was told that the start was at 5h00! I declined the offer, but Pierre in his quietly persuasive manner then suggested that I talk at the start of the second stage!

So at 9h00 we were out in the Karoo countryside at the foothills of Kompasberg having breakfast and some nursing already sore feet! What an awesome privilege to be surrounded by the plains and mountains of the Karoo and to share the words of a man we know only as David:

Oh Lord My Lord

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,  The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

Then back to town; transfer to the Andries Stockenström Guesthouse of the Wrights and lunch with the Harris’s, cricket at the Union (Bethesda Road vs Middleburg) towed down at the fines meeting with a rather unique dishcloth invention!, rugby test (SA vs NZ All Blacks) on the TV, and all completed with a steak and fish grill at the Union.

Phew … night three and not the end of it yet!

On Sunday morning I left GR with Justin and Liesl Kingwell and little Joshua for Blaauwater Farm at the base of the Lootsberg north of the town.

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Upon arrival, Justin did a quick midwifery trick on a pregnant ewe in labour and in trouble and, voila, then there were four! It was amazing to witness the birth of those triplets, within minutes they were up and walking and cleaned and fed by their mom. Nature at its best – the work of Your fingers.

Then roast for lunch, bed for snooze and transport for travel to top of mountain. A spectacular trip and a spectacular view – the work of Your fingers. What a privilege for me to share it with the Kingwell family and Grandma Garry and Grandpa Charles Kingwell who joined us for a picnic in the Peaks.

The day was ended with a fireside chat, a hearty Hansa, delicious billies, tired bodies and drooping eyelids!

I woke up on Monday morning to deadly silence interspersed with bleating sheep.

Then breakfast and back to town to the guesthouse and Gordon Wright. I took a mid-morning snooze and later a mid-afternoon snooze! A walk to town resulted in me bumping into Annemarie van Jaarsveld from Pink Trees for Pauline fame, Margie Parkes from the Cancer Association (I addressed them last year this time!) and my ex- Port Elizabeth neighbour Andy Cherrington who now owns the GR Spur.

There was time for a quick John Lee before I had a call from Nibs Price to say he was going to Port Elizabeth at 18h00 ( I was due to return on Tuesday morning early with a lift.)

My bed beckoned!

A quick pack and I was ready for the trip home – arriving at some eight thirty, just in time to go to bed for a well earned night’s sleep!

My grateful thanks to all the people mentioned above (and many others not mentioned!) for making this such a wonderful weekend. Your Karoo kindness is so much appreciated.

I am truly blessed to know you all and to experience your wonderful hospitality.

What is man that You are mindful of him?

PS. Please excuse the errors. My bum is eina and I can’t sit to type this now. I will correct later!