It took exactly four hours. As my mother predicted. Four hours of kneading pasta, rolling it, cutting it, filling it and twirling the little buggers around my index finger, before placing them gently on a baking sheet. Four hours of hard labor and mind-numbing boredom, the tv humming in the background to offer some relief, the same exact way my mother does it.
I am a contented camper these days. In a simple “got-what-I-need” kind of way. I work on gratitude every day: reminding myself about the heaven that is a hot bath, the new issue of Living etc UK, the marshmallow Easter egg found at the back of the food cupboard, dipped in a cup of rooibos until it melted … the look on Jack’s face when I rub him dry with a rough towel after he has rolled in duck poop (bliss followed by more bliss as far as he is concerned). Nothing spectacular – but all, you know: nice.
I take Jack for a walk twice every day. He is like an alarm clock, starting to get restless and mumbling to me – then nudging me and eventually barking to get my attention at 12.00 and 4.30 pm every day.
On the weekends I try and take him to the beach. But during the week we wander around the neighbourhood – varying the route. And so have become familiar with many of the other inhabitants. Especially the animal life.
The Liesbeeck River runs off to the sea through a specially designed culvert a kilometer from home. There is a great park attached to it – and a wide field for dog exercising, softball and the like. The river is home to a number of bird species: guineafowl, seagull, crested ibis, occasionally flamingo, duck and my favourite – Egyptian Geese.
Over the years I have watched one of the pairs (they mate for life) bring up their goslings. They’re very family oriented – so the babies stay with their parents until they are well grown. Then they are encouraged to mate by being chased away by their dad. That’s if they last that long. One of my dog walking pals, who is a wild bird enthusiast, estimates that 60 percent of the babies die within three weeks of their birth – mainly through predators and getting lost. Occasionally the whole species will get hit by a virus that creates mutated babies. And then there’s natural selection.
And – as of Thursday – murder.
The guys in my family are all decent men. Both blood and -in-law. I can’t think of anyone who would make me hang my head in shame. I wondered this…