Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That's MY family!

She enters in shades and folds of emerald and although the years have moved on rapidly, her face seems to freeze time and hurtle us back to a childhood of grandpa hugs and wet granny kisses. The Smorenburg and Meiswinkel family is once again united in a swirl of the four South African provincial flavours and it is beyond wonderful. The location has changed and I search the space for the missing faces that have not managed to make it up the dusty Calitzdorp mountain and into the cool interior of my uncle Michael and Aunt Judy’s house, but nothing is really missing because the faces that smile back are filled with the faces left behind. Everyone gathers around the turquoise lady who takes one look at us and exclaims, “I’m old”. But the way she jokes, chats, moves and smokes shows that she is as youthful as the young adults who bustle about in the kitchen. Our dear aunty Bonnie, who I stare at intently in an attempt to pull from her face the warm body of my grandfather, her brother, whose presence I yearn for most at times like these. I am now 20 years old and crave my family and the escape that they offer. An escape into a private world, which will open to accommodate a stranger and I guarantee that you will end up with hands clutching at ribs in order to prevent them from bursting through giggling skin. And after you have left, the space will be filled with smells of Mathews cooking, the uncontrollable laughter of my sister, the powerfully gentle touch of my uncle, the sharp energy of cousin Kate, the riveting humour of both Papa and aunty Judy, the warm and watchful eye of Aunty Linda, the intense gaze and silly jokes of my brother Antal, the reassuring figure of uncle Ron and the clumsy wisdom of Mommy and as soon as I have spent more time with great aunt Bonnie and her daughter Margot, I will whip their characters into the delicious cream of my crazy family