Last night I accompanied Ian and Louisa to a friend’s house who was celebrating his birthday. Jack and his wife Jill hosted us in their recently purchased home on the Constantia Nek Road. That road can be a bit busy with traffic so to the uneducated passerby one would believe the houses are perhaps hold a slight negative to other houses in the area. As I discovered, to make such an assumption would be wrong.
We passed on through the road side gate and stepped into the house. Out the back door we came through to the patio and then a sweeping view of the Hout Bay valley with mountain tops circling us from all sides. The backyard must have been a hundred yards and flat; flat is often hard to find in Cape Town. The yard was equally as impressive in width and was bordered by white blooming flowers on one side and a fence filled with purple morning glories on the opposite side. The very back of the yard exposed itself to a creek, wide enough for Ian and Juliet to enjoy for a dip in the cool water.
Jack and Jill introduced their two boys, ages about 10 and 6, as well as two other couples and their children. Vanessa and Mark had two girls ages about 13 and 7, as well as a boy perhaps 9. The last couple proved to be of great interest to me after I realized the husband, Colin, was an employee of the Coca-Cola Company in Cape Town. Their two girls rounded out a group of 9 adults (Simon and Penny Waterkeyn, my friends as well, were on site with their 3 children, too) and 10 children. What began as a casual chit chat with Colin about the world of Coca Cola turned ever more interesting when he learned I had worked for one of the bottlers in the US, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc., based in Charlotte. Small world turned smaller yet when Colin told me had spent a week in Charlotte touring the bottler.
Smaller became bubble like when Colin spoke to me about the recent death of the largest shareholder and CEO, Frank Harrison. His son, James, I believe, had spent some time in South Africa the prior year and eventually started an organization to help some of the black Africans a bit further north, perhaps in East Africa. From friends at Coke, I received some of the news of James’ death earlier in the year and Colin confirmed the remainder. Looks like James, about 25 years old, got sick and his illness turned to pneumonia. He did not call for help soon enough and he died. I must find out in what country he died. Sad story all the way around. Colin told me that James had been looked after by another local South African Coke employee, an Afrikaner, whom Frank Harrison liked so much he invited over to the US for a bit of a tour.
Our day began about 3PM and did not wrap up until about 9. As with most braais, the portions were large and there was no shortage of protein. Steaks, lamb chops, boerewors, etc. flowed. We all participated in a rousing adult/child volleyball match followed by a game of rounders. Rounders is a bit like a merging of cricket and baseball – 4 bases, one baseball bat like baseball, but rules such as getting out meant you permanently sat out the remainder of the offensive effort and one could be out if hit with the ball and running towards a base. The competitive juices were flowing. The tall, trim blonde, Vanessa, had quite a good arm for a lady.