I’ve always wanted to like old people.
Same thing with seafood. I know my life would be enriched if I could learn to like seafood.
One of my favorite television scenes of all time was on the show Futurama. The “group” took the old guy, Professor Farnsworth, to a spa and he couldn’t handle it. He jumped out of his scented bath and yelled something to the effect of…
And I think about this scene EVERY SINGLE TIME I SET FOOT IN WALGREENS and the ancient one in front of me pays for everything with pennies out of her coin purse!
You think I exaggerate?
Last night’s evidence!
And if it doesn’t take them an hour to pay, it take them an hour to go over the receipt point by point.
So, it was just my luck that when we moved to Strand, South Africa, we rented a cottage attached to the home of a 93-year-old woman.
Aunty May was….particular.
I visited her with baby Siegfried and we had tea. I realized that first day (when I found out she had no kids and no close relatives) that God had put me there for a reason. I had to choose to love her. I knew it had to do it.
For the next year I spent many many many days strapping Siegfried to my front and walking to the pharmacy to get her hemorrhoid medication. And when they say “over the counter”, they mean, “You come in and ask for it and we’ll hand it to you over the counter”.
ANUSOL! Why do these companies have to include the name of the body part???
I can’t stand being in line at the store, holding a big box that has the word VAGISTAT written across the front in pink letters.
And Anusol??? Anus? Really? The Dr. Knight announced that they might as well call it Butt-hole-soothe.
And to make things worse, the entire country ran out of the components to make the suppositories. So I had to go around to ALL THE PHARMACIES and buy them out.
How many times can a girl have this conversation in public without needing therapy?
Many, many times, apparently.
But I did it. And I changed out her hot water bottles when she was sick in bed. And I had tea with her almost every single day.
But one day I was sitting in her livingroom and a bizarre thing happened.
First of all, when we first moved to Africa, we lived on that horse farm by the beach. But we were an hour away from The Dark Knight’s university. So after our 6-month lease was up, we moved into the wine country.
It was so beautiful. We moved onto this little strawberry farm with a cute Indonesian restaurant on it. And a farm stall.
It was on Polkadraai Road.
The farmland was littered with worker’s houses
Surrounded by mountains.
The land was fascinating. There were “ruins”.
Was this a swimming pool? If so, it was HUMONGOUS!
It must have been a pool. There were stairs.
And beautiful old water spouts.
It was a mystery. And I LOVE a good mystery. There isn’t enough mystery in this new world of ours.
The landlord’s house was also incredible.
All the rooms were round and you could only get to the front door by taking one of two sweeping staircases. (they had stamped the date of the house above the door:1944)
The landscaping was amazing.
We lived there for a year. That is where Siegfried was born.
But after he was born, they started construction on another cottage right outside our house. It was loud and awful. Plus it was so stinking hot in the summer with no AC.
So we decided to move almost an hour away to a beach village. Strand. May’s cottage.
It was like a different world.
RIGHT ON THE BEACH!
But the point here is that we had found a listing for this cottage, looked at it with a realtor and then moved in. And there was May.
So here I am, all this time later, sitting in her living room talking about her family. Watching her go through old photos.
Her father had moved to South Africa from Poland in 1899 (he used to tell her about hiding from the Bolsheviks in the sewers). He came to South Africa and started a clothing manufacturing business which became one of the first in the country. I heard the story a million times. So many times that I thought my eyeballs would roll out of my head as it spun around on my neck.
They had a home in Cape Town and then they had The Farm. How many times did I have to hear about the farm? A bajillion.
So she busts out these pictures and I start looking at them. I asked her where the farm was and she said it was lost forever. She hadn’t lived there since the 30’s and 40’s.
She and her sister had gone looking for it 20 years earlier but they couldn’t find it.
Her father had built the house in 1944.
Boy that house looked familiar. Kind of looked like our old landlords house far far away……
Got me to thinkin’….
And then she showed me a picture (of which I DIDN’T get a copy) of her sister sitting on the side of an enormous cement swimming pool. Dated 1946. I asked her about it and she said they would have hundreds of people out for parties after the war.
And then she showed me this picture of her father next to the farm gate….
And I FREAKED!
Needless to say we both had our minds blown. Out of ALL THE PLACES IN AFRICA, we had moved from her old farm into her current house. She cried sweet old lady tears and I laughed. But not at her. And she laughed too. And we were bonded forever.
I drew a big map for her and showed her pictures (she couldn’t leave the house on account of her tummy). It was amazing. The story, not her stomach issues….. those were totally not cool….
Anyway, May died last month at the age of 95. I love her with all my heart. I’ll see her again. And she’ll have her own teeth in Heaven. And no hemorrhoids. Please, Dear Lord, let there not be hemorrhoids in heaven….