Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Mother Ship

The Mother Ship
18 October 2012

The Mother Ship is currently not orbiting my atmosphere.  Instead, she is orbiting my sister’s in Melton Mowbray.  And all I can say is “Houston, we have a problem”.  Enough already!  And though I don’t begrudge them the time, in fact far from it, as I’m delighted for them, it feels rather strange not speaking to her a few times a day, as is the norm.  We’ve done Skype, e-mail, sms’ and even phone calls, yet just knowing she’s not in the same country is odd.  So, ET, phone home already!  And Scotty beam me up.  Your people need you.

Your time to experiment on the “aliens” in Britain, is coming to a close.  Come and work some magic here instead.  Your charm is completely wasted on the British, as I don’t think they “speak Maggie” in any rate.  Every family has little sayings and expressions, that have significant meaning to them.  Bits of family lore, combined with shared history, and mutual experiences.  And all of these mix together to form a delightful whole – a kind of new language if you like, that few others outside the family circle understand.  And given my very large family, we have LOTS of those.  But whereas most of us try and remember for the most part, that using these expressions on others is pointless, as they’ll just think you’re odd and won’t know what you’re talking about, Maggie shows no such discretion.  And happily nukes unsuspecting victims in her path.  Even I’ve been witness to the odd looks she gets – not that it bothers her in the least.

She’s been known to drop little nuggets like “Woah, Jonesie”, in situations where people are required to slow down and not move so fast.  But if you are not a Lombard all you’ll think is “but my name isn’t Jones and who is Jones in any rate?”.  If lost in a shop, we shout “Marco” to which you’ll get an accompanying “Polo”, easily identifying the location of the person you’re trying to find.  Yet again others might find this strange.  And somehow or other, with each holiday we spend together, either at Kleinbaai or Muisnes, the family lingo seems to increase and some or other phrase, which has significant meaning just to us, becomes a flavour of the month so to speak.  For a while we all did loud exclamations of “shut up!!!”, to express utter disbelief.  This one we picked up in a movie we all watched together.  And normally we wouldn’t speak to each other in this manner, but given just the right tone of voice, it sounds brilliant and very funny.  Then there’s “Ant Janie”, having a cup of carfeee, walking down the passaaaaage, The Mell, and so the list simply goes on and on.  Never ending it seems.  And Maggie, being Maggie, she simply uses them regardless of the company.

She is delightfully down to earth and humble.  Nothing gets her down.  She doesn’t faff or stress and nothing fazes her.  Not death nor dirt, not rain nor hurt.  She just gets on with it, and seems to avert impending doom and massive crises with remarkable aplomb and incredible save-the-day-type-skills.  With Maggie around a plan can always be made.  A short while ago my mom Skyped the Awesome Aulds to wish little Honeypot for her 5th Birthday and Honey immediately exclaimed that she couldn’t wait to see the cake that Mom in Africa had baked for her for her birthday.  Maggie quickly begged a five minute reprieve and despite not having a birthday cake in the house, she Skyped little Honey back within the required few minutes with an awesome pink cake complete with candles.  So, how did she pull off this marvel?  Well, after ending the Skype call, she quickly dashed to the kitchen, grabbed a few slices of bread, used an upturned glass to cut out perfect circles, stacked them on top of each other, liberally covered them with a violent pink water and icing sugar mix which she whipped up in a matter of seconds, plopped five small candles on top of the cake and voila!!!  Birthday cake!  The fact that it wasn’t edible was not important at all, as the illusion was kept alive for little Honey.  And a few months later, when Al’s little Bella turned three and Maggie was visiting me, we performed the same miracle again for a little Skype chattie with her.  Ingenuous, I tell you!

A while ago, it was cell phone upgrade time, and Maggie contacted our family’s technical support.  In other words the person most in touch with all things technical – my Grantie – the gadget guru.  And while on a little visit to us, Maggie got her new BlackBerry.  But here was the thing, it was a different model to her previous BB, and hence her cell phone protector/cover would not fit her new baby.  Naturally this was no problem for magic-Maggie.  Why, hadn’t she heard about cell phone socks and how marvellous they were in protecting your cell phone?  So, not to be outdone, rather than waiting to get to a shop to get an appropriate and proper sock, all she had to do, was rummage in her suitcase, for a perfect cell phone sock – a pair of purple bed socks.  Her favourite colour after all.  And as an extra measure of safety and security, she took a pair of bed socks with rubberised soles.  Now, how clever is that!  Why it would never fall out of her hand that way.  And for the remainder of her stay, wherever we went, she flung her cell phone Father Christmas style over the back of her shoulder.  Too funny for words and I laughed each time I saw it.  Maybe I get my sense of the ridiculous from her?

I remember going to one of the Kirstenbosch sunset concerts quite a few years ago, when Luke was still an only child.  I don’t even think I was pregnant with Amber yet.  I’m assuming we went to watch either Albert or the Blues Broers, but the details elude me.  The concert coincided with Easter, and Maggie proudly handed us a little Easter basket.  A beautiful little wicker basket, filled to the brim with the sweetest tiniest little white Easter eggies – too darling for words.  Grant and I happily munched away, sharing with those around us.  And shortly before we left, with our basket nearly empty, I asked her where she got the little white eggies from as I’d never seen any like them in the shops anywhere.  Oh, she said, it’s those Smartie Easter Eggs.  Really, I exclaimed.  I didn’t know they made them only in white, I thought they were only multi-coloured.  Oh, they were she said – I licked all the colour off because they looked so much prettier all white in the basket.  Grant gagged for what felt like hours and we still giggle about it to this day.  Me and my big mouth – I should know by now, to not ask too many questions.

Yip, Maggie is one of a kind.  And she’s mine.

For her recent 40 year Matric Reunion, Maggie went as a Hippie pregnant fairy - the baby boep was courtesy of one of my mixing bowls
The "cell phone sock"
Pigtailed Maggie and I on the stoep at Kleinbaai
My beautiful Mommy and I
Kleinbaai again
Me and my best gal pal
Maggie - The Magnificent


  1. Oh my hat, H!! You are too kind.
    I do miss you too, my gal pal. Be home soon!
    How fortunate are we to have each other.

  2. You got Maggie to a tee! Such a lucky fish that she's my very own sister!!

  3. You so eloquently describe a TRUE gem! Maggie is magnificent, whether dressed for a black tie affair or to party hippie style. My Mom also being Maggie, oh how I miss her, is constantly brought to mind when I read about your Mom. I wonder if there is any coffee left in England after this visit! :-P

  4. And her long drawn out yursssssss! Which I use by mistake talking to guests at work eg them: do you ship this wine to Sweden? Me: Yurssssss! them: blank look.... me: hee hee I mean YES!!

  5. Thanks for this - I had almost forgotten what a HOOT Maggie was when we were young. When I think back to how matter of fact she was when she "discovered" her "condition" in matric,I can only marvel! That excessively dry sense of humour just cannot be beaten! You are so lucky to have this woman as your mother, but then you know this:)

  6. Reading this again even though I know the stories made me giggle like anything! Too funny and really...our very special mummy is truly one of a kind. Unforgettable and the person you want to be around the most, even a magnet for new folk and victims meeting her going the first time. I just cannot believe how lucky I am to have her as my mom! Grateful each and every day xxxxxxx

  7. Reading this again even though I know the stories made me giggle like anything! Too funny and really...our very special mummy is truly one of a kind. Unforgettable and the person you want to be around the most, even a magnet for new folk and victims meeting her going the first time. I just cannot believe how lucky I am to have her as my mom! Grateful each and every day xxxxxxx