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Friends For Life | #MyFridayStory No. 244

Friends For Life | #MyFridayStory No. 244

Friendships come and go. If you’re lucky, a few last a lifetime.

Both my Parents were highly gregarious. Their hospitality and friendliness to everyone and anyone garnered from their platteland upbringing. Most people of the arid region of Namaqualand—in the vast Kalahari—are from farming stock. My Dad and Mom attended boarding school in the same minuscule town of Pofadder, on the border of Namibia in the Northern Cape.

The Kalahari shapes its inhabitants into salt-of-the-earth people with a love for laughter.

My Dad left the region to join the air force in 1943. He was stationed in Germiston at the Rand Airport. My Mom became a nurse and attended nursing college in Germiston. Although they knew each other from school, my ever-charming Dad asked to take my Mom to The Nurses Ball. After the date, my Dad kissed her good night on the steps of the nurses’ residence. They stayed married and best friends for 60 years.

I’ve spent this past week in the Kalahari with childhood friends. We’ve been here on my family’s farm before. It’s always special.

Growing up in Germiston, we lived two streets apart. Across the road from my house was a large sports ground. An 800-metre running track circled a rugby field with a netball court and cricket nets in the middle. The grounds belonged to an Afrikaans primary school in the area. The neighbourhood kids made it their playground when no one was around. We would play anywhere. In the streets and front gardens, anything from mini-cricket to one-bounce, and from tok-tokkie to hide-n-seek.

We soon became best friends. I admired them as a family and loved visiting their house. His Parents came to South Africa from Cyprus. People that sport the same gregarious nature with a love for laughter, permeating their character.

The amount I’ve learned and gained from them, I can never repay. It’s not that there ever was a price to pay. Being giving folks, they never kept score.

My friend saved me from drowning—twice. On two separate occasions—once in a dam and once in the ocean. I’m not a good swimmer. I’m eternally grateful he is.

His older brother by a few years took us under his wing. As young boys, he taught us great social and life skills that would take us into adulthood. His father oozed Continental style and charm. With his dark handsome looks, he was like a Greek god. His legacy of spreading laughter wherever he went will never leave me. I learned about Cypriot cuisine and Mediterranean cooking and baking from his Mom. She also shared laughter and happiness wherever she went.

The heartiest, friendliest food and people in the world.

The Kalahari affects everyone that visits for a while. You sense a greater oneness with nature.

A steady wind blows over the open pan causing the windmill blades to clang rhythmically. The dust is whipped up, sent scrolling and tumbling along the ground. Up above, a blue sky fills your 360-degree view—it dwarfs your presence here. Night-time brings another mesmerising canvas. A canopy dotted with stars, planets and galaxies millions of lightyears away. A smoky trail of the Milky Way overhead. Gazing upwards, you can see a shooting star as it streaks across the vastness.

This week revealed again the effect the Kalahari has on its visitors. Your significance and relevance become questionable against such an enormous backdrop. Spending time with friends, sharing good food and laughter, I realise how lucky I am to have friends for life.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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