Wednesday, 18 July 2012

An ode to Ouma.

An ode to Ouma.
16 July 2012

How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

#  I love the way you hum all the time – a truly happy sound and I believe your very own form of self-soothing.  It is a habit you’ve passed on to many of us, me included.

#  I love your enthusiasm for life.

#  I love your unbreakable positive spirit.

#  I love your sense of fun, humour and appreciation of the quirky and ridiculous.

#  I love your unending passion for your family.

#  I love seeing the caring and loving way you are with Oupa – after 59 years of marriage it is still abundantly clear that you absolutely adore him and completely understand him.

#  I love your many and varied hobbies – your magnificent doll’s houses, your incredible postcard collection, your skill at archiving depicted so well in your book, to name but a few.

#  I love the stories you tell of when you were little on the farm.

#  I love the way you truly cherish Myta – without whom we would all be lost.

#  I love the way you accept us for who we are – your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and those who are important to us.

#  I love the way you so eagerly open your house to all of us to share the magic of Cloetenberg.

#  I love your incredible generosity, with yourself, your time as well as your possessions.

#  I love the memories you have given us with Kleinbaai – you and Oupa - and for that I am truly thankful.

#  I love your public and displayed pride in all of us.

#  I love your un-birthday presents.

#  I love the way that you have embraced technology – you are completely computer literate.

#  I love your incredible thoughtfulness.

#  I love your sense of occasion.

#  I love the beautiful speeches you make – I am simply always in awe and literally hang on your lips.

#  I love the way you dress – always having your jewellery pick up on your clothing.

#  I love your never ending patience – I somehow don’t think the well will ever run dry.

#  I love the way you speak so lovingly about your parents and the love they had for each other.

#  I love the way you taught me through you actions, how very important family is – your dedication in visiting Ouma Maggie was phenomenal.

#  I love that you have given me an interest in history, simply by your stories – told in such a fascinating way.

#  I love the way you smell – just like my Ouma Helene.

#  I love the kind words you always have to say about my Dad and how it is blatantly obvious that you deeply loved him.

#  I love the fun we used to have every Friday evening when we visited you as kids and spent the night.  You always lined up our favourite treats and made everything an adventure.

#  I love the way you get so single minded about something – whether it’s Sudoku or Blokkies raaisels or whatever the fad might be.

#  I love your knowledge and incredible wisdom.

#  I love your little collection of monkeys – so quirky and funny.

#  I love your laugh.

#  I love the way you absolutely must watch 7de Laan – so cute the way you follow exactly what’s happening.

#  I love the way you potter in your garden.

#  I love the ability you have to make a home.

#  I love your caring nature.

#  I love the fact that you read all the time and always seem to get lost in a book and so excited about it.

#  I love when you phone me and while I still think we’re in the middle of the conversation, you put the phone down, because you’re done.  Never ceases to make me laugh.

#  I love your capable hands – they tell of a life working and loving – not idle hands by any means.

#  I love your generosity to all of the family.

#  I love it when you play the piano – it is always so beautiful and nostalgic and makes my heart physically ache.

#  I love the way you just love the challenge of a puzzle and really get stuck in.

#  I love the way you get so excited when one of your kids come to visit you.

#  I love the way you show off your veggie garden with obvious pride.

#  I love the way that you are a solid, loving, never-ending presence in my life.

#  I love the fact that I got your name – how lucky am I?

#  I love the way that you’ve kept a diary throughout your life.

#  I love the way that you challenged yourself with Al-Anon and took on great responsibility.

#  I love that you started the Playschool later in life, made a huge success with it and managed to put some money away for yourself.

#  I love that you’ve travelled and made some marvellous memories and impressions on your travels.

#  I love the way you simply whip up a quick cremora tart at what seems to be the drop of a hat.

#  I love your independence.

#  I love the way you have the most incredible people skills and truly seem to get people.

#  I love your empathy.

#  I love the fact that you’ve nursed long friendships.

#  I love the fact that you’ve created new friendships.

#  I love the way you celebrate life.

#  I love the way you say completely inappropriate things sometimes – always so true and funny.

#  I love the way you potter in your kitchen.

#  I love that you sometimes have bacon and eggs for supper.

#  I love the delicious soups that you make.

#  I love the way that you love to plan – co-ordinating and planning family events.

#  I love your sense of justice.

#  I love your mannerisms.

#  I love the way you still get so excited about stuff even though you’re 81.

#  I love the legacy that you have left to all of us of how to live a life well.

#  I love the way you say “take the good and forget about the rest – it’s not the whole person”.

#  I love the way you love food and treats.

#  I love your funky takkies.

#  I love the way you talk with your hands – they are never still.

#  I love the way that you are able to forgive those that have hurt you and give them another chance.

#  I love the way you walk around your garden, sometimes with your hands behind your back and then bending to pull out some stubborn weeds.

#  I love your beautiful sense of the aesthetic.

#  I love the fact that you took a year off after school and followed your passion with the violin.

#  I love the fact that you are not afraid to stand up for what you believe in and go against the grain.

#  I love the way you get so very indignant when someone messes with one of your own.

#  I love the incredible talent you have for making Christmas, well Christmas, with your beautiful masks and all the other accompanying details.

#  I love your attention to detail.

#  I love the fact that nothing is ever too much trouble for you.

#  I love your loving nature.

#  I love your hugs.

#  I love the way you always have something interesting to talk about.

#  I love your compassion.

#  I love your dedication.

#  I love your creativity.

#  I love the way you are able to communicate with people of all ages.

#  I love the way you say “Paaaaaw”, when you speak to Oupa.

#  I love your beautiful garden.

#  I love the way you fought cancer – seeing it as an adventure and a challenge.

#  I love the way you wear your hair, in a short bob with a clip to the side.

#  I love your single mindedness.

#  I love the way you simply love a family get together.

#  I love the purposeful way you get on with stuff.

#  I love the way you always seem joyful.

#  I love the way you take life’s challenges on the chin.

#  I love the way you speak about your “friends”.

#  I love the way you used to let us sit on your washing machine when it was spinning and go for a ride on it when we were kids.

#  I love remembering bathing with you when I was little, even in Pinetown and you always using Pears soap.

#  I love remembering visiting the farm with you.

#  I love laughing with you, often.

#  I love remembering you being so happy with me when each of my babies were born.

#  I love remembering you coming to swim at St James Street on hot summer’s days.

#  I love your love for your whole extended family.

#  I love your eagerness to share an event with us and to share in our happiness and joy.

#  I love visiting you and when you open the door at Cloetenberg and you can see right through to the back of the garden.

#  I love you being so funny when I was little – phoning and masking your voice with a hanky so that we could guess who was on the phone.

#  I love often hearing you eating while you’re on the phone.

#  I love visiting you and Oupa early in the mornings at Cloetenberg after I’ve dropped the kids off at school – you and Oupa both still in bed – newspapers strewn all over and sitting on the bed with you chatting.

#  I love the way you’re able to keep yourself occupied – always a Sudoku book or some crochet work with you.

#  I love the way you can get so indignant at times.

#  I love the way you talk about the “Mell” (Mall).

#  I love being at Kleinbaai and looking into your room and seeing you can Oupa lying on the bed in your bedroom – reading or snoozing.

#  I love remembering how you loved the Playschool kids calling you Mr Lombard.

#  I love the smell of your linen cupboard.

#  I love the contact that you’ve kept over many years with old and dear friends.

#  I love the way you keep our family together.

#  I love the way you always walk with me to my car when I visit or stand on the stoep and wave me off.

#  I love the way you’re so philosophical.

#  I love the way you’re able to put things in a bubble and blow them away.

#  I love the standards that you have.

#  I love the peaceful aura that surrounds you.

#  I love the way you get so excited about going out for tea or a meal.

#  I love your serenity.

#  I love the way you embrace all of life – the ups and downs.

#  I love the photo’s of your family over your house, especially in your bedroom and the little passage past your bathroom.

#  I love the way even our friends love you.

#  I love the vases of flowers from your garden dotted throughout the house.

#  I love always seeing Herbert at your house, in the garden.

#  I love visiting you and Buddy eagerly greeting me, just waiting to jog off to the garden with a precious piece of wood.

#  I love the fact that wherever you are, there is always a scribbled notebook not far away.

#  I love the beautifully polished brass and copper in your home – it speaks of care.

#  I love all the magnificent paintings in your home.

#  I love the old books and the feeling of finding a treasure around every corner at Cloetenberg.

#  I love the way you are so completely up to date with current affairs in the world.

#  I love the way you’re so enthusiastic to support and come and watch one of your grandchildren or great-grandchildren performing – whether it’s a music or dancing show.

#  I love the way you’re never idle – always busy.

#  I love your complete absorption in a project.

#  I love the way you are able to see a project through from start to finish.

#  I love remembering the youngberry jam toast you used to make me when I was little and the way you cut it into fingers for me – still my favourite jam.

#  I love your unending support.

#  I love your ability to work with money, and how clever you are with it.

#  I love the way that you are so accessible to all of us.

#  I love how theatrical you are.

#  I love how trustworthy you are with secrets.

#  I love the way my heart simply melts when I see you – you are so endearing.

#  I love the way you are so brave.

#  I love your commitment.

#  I love the welcoming snow bells (klokkies?) in your garden.

#  I love the way you listen.

But, most of all, I simply love you!

With lots of love from Little Helene

Ouma playing on her much loved piano at Cloetenberg
Ouma Helene at the photo wall for her 80th
Ouma Helene with her brother and sisters.  From l.t.r. Aunty Noo, Uncle Dan, Ouna Helene and Aunty Ydianne.  Sadly Ouma has lost all three of them in the past two years.  Heartbreaking for her.  They were all so close.
Ouma and Katrine in the kitchen at Kleinbaai
Maggie and Ouma busy with a little project at Kleinbaai
Oupa and Ouma at Muisnes
Oupa en Ouma sit op die Kleinbaai
All dolled up for Xmas at Muisnes
Ouma with her two gals - Maggie and Bettie
Ouma with all of her daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters - we've gained a few since this pic was taken.  Jacques had married Candice, Kati wasn't here when the pic was taken and Bella and Frankie were subsequently born.


  1. What? No comments after such a beautiful tribute to your Ouma? Observing and admiring someone like your Ouma is one thing, being able to take that adimiration and to capture it eloquently into words is another. Your Ouma is blessed to have a granddaughter like you who has done that. Continue writing - I'll certainly pop in again.

  2. ps - you are so privileged to have a gran like Ouma Cloete. I can hear what a special person she is and it is evident what an influence she has had in your life.

  3. H, I told you about Karin's griffel! SO happy that we can now make comments - a learning curve for all of us!