Saturday, 29 September 2012

Albert turns 30!

Albert turns 30!
28 September 2012

Now there are times, when being moderately famous, can really count against you.  Hard to imagine I’m sure.  Surely it is marvellous?  Well, my dear brother would beg to disagree.

On the 7th of January 2007, Albert turned 30.  So, naturally the family wanted to spend the day with him.  One teeny, tiny, little problem.  Albert was doing a gig with Arno Carstens on the 7th of January 2007 at Kirstenbosch Gardens for one of their sunset concerts.  It really is an awesome event, and we go about twice a year.  The most magnificent surroundings and the majestic mountains feel close enough to touch.  Beautiful greenery all around – plants, bushes, trees, flowers, shrubs, etc.  Vibrant colours, stunning music, colourful people, etc.  Oops, sorry!  I get distracted at times.

So, the Lombard family en masse set off for Kirstenbosch to enjoy a lovely picnic, spend some time together, see Al on his birthday, take in a bit of awesome music, enjoy the ambience and beautiful surroundings etc.  But here’s the thing.  Turning 30, is quite a big thing.  I suppose every decade is.  So, we couldn’t just let it slip by without making a big fuss.  What to do?  What to do???  Aha!!!  We’ve got it!  We had an inspired idea, and given the fact that it happened over five years ago, I can’t really remember who’s bright idea it was.  Probably Maggie’s.

We decided to make Albert a “walking banner” for his birthday.  Maggie became the Sergeant Major of operations.  The plan was, that every person would use an A4 piece of paper and write a huge big letter on it, decorated in any way that they choose.  At a given time, we would all walk across the front of the stage, displaying our birthday message to Al.  Pure genius!!!  Because there are so many of us, we had to make the message really long.  So, given the amount of Lombards that were going to be present on the day (and some of the more shy family folk declined the offer), this is what our message read:  “Happy Birthday, Albert! We love you!”.  Maggie allocated letters to everyone, and so people set about their task a few days before Kirstenbosch, to decorate their letter.  If memory serves, I made one of my letters out of match boxes, stuck on a page, and another out of Ivy leaves stuck on a page.  It was such fun!  Some people were extremely creative and we still have these masterpieces to today.

Poor, unsuspecting Albert simply had no friggin clue.  We were all uber excited.  Okay, how strange are we?  And I remember a feeling of palpable excitement in the air.  Bunches of us gathered on the side of the stage, just out of Albert’s view and arranged the letters in order.  And once the letters were right, we lined up the family members and did our little “walking banner” parade.  It truly brought the house down.  People were clapping, pointing, shouting and going ballistic.  Albert was just laughing and laughing on stage.  Let me tell you, it was pretty impressive.  My little Cole was only three and a half, so because he was so little, he sat on Daya’s shoulders and held the last exclamation mark in his hand.

There was much bantering about us on stage over the microphone.  If I remember correctly everyone sang for Albert.  And Albert, what did he think about all of this?  He said, he just wanted the earth to open up and swallow us whole.  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!  Which was absolutely hysterical!  He seriously loved it.  Or perhaps he secretly loved it.  Still not entirely sure which.  All, I can say, is he was bloody lucky that all of the Joburg family members weren’t there either, as well as a few others.  Otherwise our message might have read: “ Happy 30th Birthday, Albert! Congratulations on your big day! May the year ahead be awesome! We love you!”. 
In hindsight, he got off light!

A beautifully pregnant Katrine
Lombards settling in
Ouma Helene and Daya
Al and Cole - spot Cole's Blues Broers t-shirt.  A one of a kind shirt printed for a newborn Luke, by his besotted grandfather, my Dad.
Oupa en Ouma sit op die ..... gras
Albert inspecting Katrine's baby boep
View of the stage from our picnic spot
Birthday boy taking birthday calls
The beautiful Trish and Roxy
Starting to fill up
Sorting out our letters
Much debate
Nearly ready to begin
Yet more people - huge Lombard contingent present as always
A virtual sea of people
Starting to make our way - letters aloft
And more of us
All of us facing Al with our special message to him
Turning around and facing the crowd
We are a bunch of malletjies
Very funny!
My little exclamation mark
Masses of people!
Albert doing his thing
A passle of Lombard chilluns in the front
The man
Crowd starting to dance
Revved up crowd going mad
Aaahhh sweet! Mom and Daya!
I told you those mountains are awesome