Friday, July 25, 2008
Angels on earth
Ah, how quickly a week dissolves. I stick up a picture on this here blog hoping that’s enough. Zambian Shop Art. I love those pics.
Its been a week of life. Of death.
We lost dear Jo-Jo. Just when we thought the battle was won. She died waaay too young - she was only bloody 30 - but was one of those distilled, concentrated people. You know what I mean? Like VERY nice, and VERY bubbly, and VERY positive and VERY beautiful and VERY, well, just fabulous. I did not make it to the ‘celebration of her life’ in the UK but I hear a friend of hers there said that ‘Life is all about quality and not quantity’. Aint that a fact.
When someone like that dies it almost makes sense, you know? Like yes, you came here, you touched our lives, you were almost too good to be true. Those angles up there missed you and wanted you back. I know people always say this sort of thing when someone dies; say all the positives but in this case its really true. This chick was special. Chin chin my dear, chin chin.
I wanted to put a picture of her up here. To celebrate her, the gorgeous gal. But I don't think its my place to do so.
And now facebook? What do I with her on Facebook?
But its also been a week of laughing. Of joy. Of life. Of best friends and chuckling children. Of food and teaching and reading and learning. Of enjoying and breathing and LAUGHING. We must appreciate these things. Oh yes we must.
This week I also wrote about my grandfather who, too, touched people’s lives like nothing else. Another one of those angels-on-earth. It was his birthday and I wrote a story about him. To him. But didn’t post it. I’m not sure why. Ha! I mean post it on the blog, not post it in the mail to the Afterlife. Heh heh. Maybe I will post it (you know what I mean). I want the world to know him. Yes, bugger it here it is. We called him Bonkar (a mixture of grandpa and bwana Carr, I think. One of those names that children make that stick)
Happy birthday Bonkar. I hope you are enjoying life on The Other Side. What’s it like there? I’ve only glimpsed it once when Quentin called me that time in my dream. It looks pretty cool. Do you see Johnny ever? Oh and thanks for sending mom back when she died on the operating table. She said it was an amazing feeling An “Oooh, I seeee, I get it” kind of feeling. That it was such a relief. She said she saw you and you stepped out of the light and told her to go back, she wasn’t finished. I wanted to thank you for that.
I still really really miss you – we all do - but am enjoying life very much so am happy to wait a while longer until I see you.
You made such an impact here. You are still talked about. Everywhere I go in Zambia “Oh, you’re Norman CARR’S granddaughter? Ay he was a great man. You are lucky to have known such a man. I remember……” Everyone has a story to tell. A good, happy, positive story about you. Of course people remember you because of the lions. But they also remember and talk about the contributions you made to conservation, safaris and the people of Zambia.
My memories of you are somewhat less grand but very funny. Like you sitting in your little wooden house, COVERED in insects, with plastic bags tied around your feet, instead of wellies. You were not a man for luxuries.
That time the hippo chased you and you ran, LAUGHING, and leapt over the wall. Sprightly for 70!
Teaching me how to cut bread straight
Your whisky and soda’s in the evening.
Your wicked sense of humour. You hung on until April Fools Day to die. Was that on purpose? Your second favourite joke (after the cats eyes) How does the Eskimo steal the polar bear’s food? Kick him in the ice hole.
Your new-word-a-day for us kids
Your “what’s that bird call?” “what’s that track”
I don’t get a chance to go and clean your plaque (you know, on your grave, not your teeth!) so often now that I live in Tanzania but the elephants still go past there every evening and when I do go I always see bushbuck and banded mongoose scurrying through the leaves. And the baboons, of course.
Oh and I saw an old Kakuli at Lupunga Spur when M proposed. Was that you? And the rainbow? You’d approve of M. He’s your kinda guy. No nonsense. He also carries a notebook in his pocket, like you told us to. He’s good to me. Kind.
Tam wrote about you today too. A lovely post. You should go check it out http://fleeingmuses.blogspot.com/2008/07/this-ones-for-grandfathers.html
And you know this, coz you wrote it in one of your books – its what Tam read at your memorial. But this one is for you. For Jo-Jo. And for Johnny.
I have sat in the shade of a magnificent evergreen trichelia on the banks of the Luangwa River and watched the impala come down to drink, materialising from the shadows one by one on the fasr bank as though by spontaneous creation; I have watched a skein of sacred ibis, in perfect arrow formation, flying down a river which the setting sun has turned to a shimmer of molten gold; I have seen a magnificent kudu bull on an anthill, silhouetted against a dawn sky; I have smelt the fragrant scent of the wild shrubs at sundown, when the world hesitates before handing over to the lords of darkness; I have lived with the night noises – the eerie plaintive call of the hyena, crying with the pathos of a lost soul in purgatory, and the music of the King of Beasts proclaiming his undisputed rule over his domain; I have seen a pure white impala.
All these and many more idyllic memories return to me and I cannot help but contrast them with the turmoil of Regent Street in the rush hour.
I know I have no regrets.