Thursday, April 14, 2011

lack of inspiration turns rambling

My head feels all sawdusty and words, no matter how much I may want them to flow, are rusted stuck, like the wheel nuts on an old cumbersome truck, lying cockeye in the grass with peeling paint and a tree growing through it. 

We used to play in an old truck like this behind the carpentry workshop. It was an old yellow mercedes I think, the springs showing through the crumbling seats and listing to one side. It had a sortof trapdoor roof that gave us much joy, allowing us to pretend we were soldiers in a tank. It was littered with heavy maybe-one-day-this-could-be-salvaged junk, rusted bits of crankshaft that wouldn't budge, grooved unidentifiable chunks of metal whose powdery rust you could apply as war paint. The old worn gearstick was smooth and fitted perfectly in my small hand. I'd alternate between jiggling the gearstick back and forth, back and forth, clanging loudly and wildly hanging on to the steering wheel with my scrawny arms, gripping tightly and juddering along as if I was careering down a corrugated road, out of control. 

And what perfect hiding places for snakes and scorpions. Now that I have a child of my own I seriously wonder how my parents managed to keep from going white haired and frizzy with worry. People were always finding cobras and puffadders behind the carpentry workshop. Granted we weren't really allowed to play in that old truck and they probably didn't know we were there but seriously, what kid could resist? 

The truck, if I remember correctly, was yet another broken relic of my grandfather's sense of business. Which has been passed down the generations along with the crooked nose. We always were - and still are - blessed with an extraordinary inability to see the business logic of things (certainly the maths of it) - though this is countered with great dollops of enthusiasm , like clotted cream masking the fizzy taste of bananas that have been left in the sun just that bit too long. 

Like the camp he gave away in exchange for roof tiles he swopped that truck was for something. I forget what. 

My grandfather was always very frugal with Stuff. He always said 'don't get possessed by your possessions.'   He had so little, yet wanted so little. He had all he needed I guess. A great - if slightly off kilter - family who adored him, good health. A small rustic camp that he shared with his family in one of the most beautiful soulful, spots on earth.

Oh, I was going somewhere else with this story, but I got a little sidetracked with the whole truck as mind metaphor. I was going to tell you more about my grandfather. His history. If you're interested have a look here



Janelle said...

yeah! it was a mercedez (sp?) wasn't it!? of course your folks had no idea WHERE you were.... heh. x j

Red Dirt Lattes said...

I am wondering what it's like for you? Have you been able to keep that 'have so little, want so little?'? I miss that about Africa. I found my needs became much less, my wants my less. Now that I am back in the Western world I feel the pull towards possessions again and I don't like it.

Spiny Marshmallow said...

These are great. No it was a Rolls Royce Second World War something carrier. Nope. No idea where you were. Ha ha

Val said...

oh yes car wrecks and scrap yards are great places to learn to drive! some inspirational folk in your family eh?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like your grandfather had contentment. And what a gift that is!

Miranda said...

Janelle - mom says a rolls royce. Yes, I remember now. I knew it was something fancy-gone-rusted.

Red Dirt Lattes - I try. When we moved from Zambia to Tanzania we managed to fit everything into the back of our landrover. But that was before we had a baby and I'm sure you know how THAT changes things! I also find that even when I visit the 'first world' I find that I NEEEED everything! Good marketing they have over there!

Spiny - YES, thats right! And how did it come into our possession and how did it leave our possession, pray do tell!

Val - you bet! On both counts. Hey don't you wanna blog about your bike trip one day? Or have you already and I missed it??

Mud - he seemed to. Indeed, a great gift. xx

tam said...

It was a real war truck, man. Remember those dials and gauges? Nice one Mo.

JoeinVegas said...

Wonder about where your kids will be playing?