News / Opinion / Columns
My grandfather was always busy, either maintaining his pristine vegetable garden or pottering around in his garage, fixing appliances for friends and family. He was a genius with his hands and there were few tasks he couldn’t complete perfectly on time.
Oupa could paint, weld, fix, renovate, build, plaster, repair cars… you name it.
When he took time off, his favourite activity was fishing.
Before every holiday, he would meticulously clean all his fishing reels, sharpen hooks, and melt lead to cast his own weights as the ones in the shops were always too light or the wrong shape. His fishing kit was his pride and joy.
My grandmother was equally adept. She knitted jerseys, crocheted blankets, crafted wood sculptures and in later years even tried her hand at painting.
Her holiday preparations were focused on ensuring they would not run out of rusks and biscuits during their annual trek down to Winkelspruit on the Natal South Coast.
She was also a master of “padkos”, ensuring they feasted all the way.
But Oupa hated being held up or slowed down.
One year, getting ready to depart on vacation at 3am as they always did, my grandmother suffered a terrible setback: she couldn’t find her dentures.
They were not in the glass next to her bed, neither in the bathroom, or anywhere else she could possibly have left them.
She was frantic, and their search included getting the flashlight from the fishing kit – which was right at the bottom of their luggage – in order to hunt for the missing teeth in the garden.
Unsurprisingly, the hectic search was accompanied by tears, a lot of moaning, icy glares, and even an insult or two.
Eventually Grandma decided to go on holiday teethless.
They drove in silence, the kind that makes time stand still. There was no physical or eye contact.
Then, as my grandfather turned onto the N3, Ouma let rip with a deafening scream: “Mike!” Oupa nearly rolled the car.
“I know where my teeth are!” she screamed, flashing a pearly white smile.
READ NEXT: Drinking, texting is a nuisance