It is my favourite time of year. Spring time in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the time when I miss Africa most. For me nothing quite compares to the sights, smells and sounds of spring on the Highveld of South Africa or in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Beautiful lilac Jacaranda blossom, the call of the Woodland Kingfishers returning south for the season and the sweet, wobbly newborn antelope, zebra and wildebeest….. pure magic!
Still my favourite time of here too as we take time for preparations for the coming festivities. It is a time of remembrance for me and keeping time honoured family traditions and rituals.
So Labour weekend this year once again saw the kitchen abuzz at Mom and Dad’s place. Out come all Granny Sybil’s recipes and the mixing, mincing and endless stirring begins. On the to do list the lemon curd, the Christmas fruit mince and, of course, the brandy laced Christmas pudding. All exceptionally delicious! And need I say that the no sugar way of life has no place at this time…. hmmm.
Granny Sybil was my paternal grandmother. A single mother bringing up her two sons on the outskirts of central Johannesburg in the 50s, 60s and 70s. My earliest memories of her all revolve around the kitchen – baking, preserving and the best Sunday roasts ever. Christmas was always a veritable feast at Granny Sybil’s house. But also the garage. There always seemed to be some car or bike engine in various pieces strewn around the house and in the garage thanks to my dad and his brother.
She was a strong woman who had given up much of her life to earn a living and look after ailing parents. She married late and finally found a few years wedded bliss before her husband became ill and passed away leaving her with her two boys to bring up. I have always felt a sense of awe about Granny Sybil – her sense of family, her duty and obligation to her husband’s family, her love for her boys and then us later on. It was a practical love and always involved making or preparing something for us. Her knitting was also legendary in our family. I remember she also always took the time to wear a pretty house dress, apply her lippy and get her hair set in curls.
And so, Granny, it is that time of year again where we hope to honour your memory and all that you were and still are to us.