Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tact is not her middle name!

African Christmas Decorations

This is the first Christmas in my lifetime that I will spend without my darling sister Barbara.
She was a funny, nosey, homely, busy body, with an amazing sense of humour who wanted to be everyone’s Mum and to solve their problems. She died earlier this year and I am still reeling.

But I write not to dwell on my loss but to tell you of just one of the funniest stories she left me with and there are oh so many! 

This one is happened at Christmas so is rather poignant.

The Lodge I used to run was fully booked out with most of our guests arriving from the Continent.

As is a common continental European tradition, we would have a very formal dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by a more casual affair on Christmas Day - bearing in mind that at Christmas in South Africa the day time temperature is usually around 35 degrees and roast turkey and Christmas pud may be a little heavy. For this reason I would prepare a Christmas Day buffet and we would relax together with the guests including my sister and husband.

Being the busy body that she was, my sister wanted to know more about the guests. I gave her their names and nationality and told her that one room was booked out for two guys. As I was unsure of their relationship I decided to put them in ‘The Family Room’ as this had two beds! 

Butterfly Christmas Tree at the Lodge

As I carried the dishes to the table, I watched with delight as my poor sister squirmed with curiosity as she was under strict instructions not to ask guests personal questions.

One of the two guys came from Hong Kong where I had also lived for a short while so the conversation was flowing easily. His "friend" was the biggest man I have ever seen and came from Austria. He was sitting next to my sister who, by this time, was twiddling her fingers and casting side long glances to see if I was watching her.

“So, are you married?” I hear her say with my radar. 
"No" says the perfect gentleman from Austria.
“Oh, really?  Is your friend married?”  
“ Do you have children, either of you?”  Now I know she is on a roll. 

At this point I decide enough is enough and ask my sister 'to help me in the kitchen'.  

“What are you doing!” I ask her. She hung her head and eventually asks if the guys are gay. 
“I have no idea as it is not a question on the booking form!" I snapped "so please don’t interrogate the guests". 

Lodge Table Decorations

Feeling the air is cleared we both return to the veranda and our guests. Barbara returns to the Austrian guy and apologises saying "I am not allowed to ask you too many questions-  so are you gay?"

There was a deadly silence which exploded with the deepest belly laugh I have ever heard from the amazingly tolerant Austrian.

He came back the following year with his girlfriend and asked where is friend Barbara was.
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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like my mother.
    Sorry for your loss. I lost my brother years ago (he was far too young to die) from brain tumours. I know how tough it is. That's a nice way to remember her though, by relating a little story about her.
    My brother used to spend his free time rescuing animals and sometimes gave them a home or found one for them. He was the first to report any animal cruelty too. The most masculine of men with the softest heart...