Legacy – Ring My Bell and Remember What It Sounds Like

If you’ve ever read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that my ideal is to be remembered when I’m gone. I believe the things you do in life dictates the legacy that you leave when you die.

At toastmasters I was doing my CC10 (the last speech in the competent communicator manual before you get an award for competent communication), and my topic was on this self-same subject. The title of that speech was: “What’s in the Box?” My friend who was mentoring me gave me a box with a bell, and at the end of the speech, I would whip off the lid and out pops the ringing bell. I said we must not be afraid to ring our bell, show what’s in our box, and make sure we are remembered.

As I drafted that speech, I thought of how mean people can be, but when you die, people say wonderful things about you. I used the scenario of a fat lady who worked with me; she always drank too much Coke, ate too much, etc, and the staff gossiped about her. I guessed that if she died, people would sing a different tune.

She did die, I think two years ago, and I was at her funeral. The attendance was very scant, and at the end that was the thing that broke my heart and caused me to cry.

I hope that when I die, I will be remembered; though my voice is still, the clanging of my bell must live in the hearts of all my friends.

Enough issues for tissues now. I think tomorrow I’ll tell you a joke. 🙂

Complications With Objects

Yesterday, objects were the objects of my objection, my frustration and annoyance. So yesterday’s one-word prompt was quite appropriate for me.

I’m trying to only use the amount of plugins on my blog, and chuck the rest, making more space for other things. So then I went into sharing settings and tried to drag objects from one box to the other. But with jaws there are so many keystrokes, and 99% of the time it doesn’t work, and the one time I actually succeeded, I dragged the object into the wrong box. It took me the whole of yesterday afternoon and some of today to fail. Eventually I swallowed my pride and asked my mom to do the dragging. It took her less than a minute.

I guess my objection is not with the objects, but with the fact that certain things are ten times harder for a blindy to do.
Daily One-Word Prompt – Object

Skippy the Rabbit Gets a Shock – A Children’s Story

Once upon a time there lived a family of furry white rabbits. They lived in a hole in the ground.

Skippy the rabbit was smaller than his brothers, Hoppy and Jumpy. He was also a little bit clumsy, because a wild dog hurt his leg while chasing after him when he was a tiny, fluffy bunny.

As the rabbit brothers grew older, it was time for Father Rabbit to teach his sons what he knows.

“First we will start with basic things, like hunting for food. Let’s go find some lettuce.”

“You are too small. You won’t be able to hunt for food,” said Hoppy, looking at Skippy with a big, fat sneer on his face.

“I can,” answered Skippy. But when he had to fetch a pile of lettuce leaves, he was so nervous, trying to prove them wrong, that he dropped his lettuce leaves on the muddy ground and had to start all over again.

“See, you can’t,” said Jumpy, as he pulled Skippy’s ear.

“Now, let’s learn how to give our enemies a big fat kick if they dare come near us,” said Father Rabbit.

“You can’t,” sang the brothers.

“I can,” answered Skippy. But as he tried to kick his bad leg gave in under him, and he fell with his face in the mud.

“See, we told you you can’t,” said his bruothers, as they practiced their new kicking skill on him. This caused him to fall back in the mud.

By this time he was no longer white, and big wet tears streaked down his brown, muddy cheeks. When Mother Rabbit saw the state he was in, she scolded him. Poor Skippy. Could things get any worse?

“Today I am going to teach you one of the most important skills a rabbit needs,” said Father Rabbit. “One day you will be grown-up like me, and you’ll have to build a house for your family. You will need to build a hole. Let’s start.”

Hoppy and Jumpy dug two deep and cozy holes. “Look at that,” they said to Skippy. “You won’t be able to do that,” they laughed.

“You’re right,” said the miserable Skippy, and lay on a grassy patch. He lay there, crying, until he eventually cried himself to sleep.

“Toohoo, toohoo,” he heard. As he looked up, he saw Beady the owl. “Go away,” he snapped. “I was sleeping.”

“Toohoo, toohoo. Whoo are yoou?” said Beady.

“I am Skippy the small, useless rabbit that can’t do anything right.”

“Toohoo, toohoo, is that really true?”

“Yes. I can’t hunt for food, I can’t kick, and I can’t dig a hole.”

“Toohoo, toohoo, a wolf was watching, toohoo. He saw your family live. He knows where your hole is, and he’s coming tonight. Toohoo, toohoo!)

Beady left Skippy there to think about what he said.

“What will I do? I’m useless,” he asked himself. “But I have to try. I love my family.

So he used all his strength, and soon had a deep and cozy hole.

“Next, I have to get some food. My family better not go hunting, in case the wolf gets them,” he thought.

So he gathered together all the lettuce he could. “Hmm, that looks nice. Thanks for the meal,” said Springy, a rabbit from another family.

“No you can’t eat this,” said Skippy. “Our family is in danger, and we need this food to survive.”

“You don’t get to tell me what I can’t do, little mouse,” said Springy, trying to grab the lettuce.

Fwapp! Skippy balanced himself nicely and gave the bully a mighty kick, sending him rolling in the mud. “Sorry, what was that?” he grinned.

Skippy got his new home ready and ran to fetch his family. “Come quick,” he said. “A wolf saw us train and knows where we live. We must move.”

“Where will we go,” asked Mother Rabbit.

“Just come,” said Skippy. “I will show you.”

In the distance they heard the howl of the wolf. Suddenly they believed Skippy, and ran with all their might.

They found an impressive hole. “I wonder who built this,” said Father Rabbit. “I did,” said Skippy. “No way,” said the brothers

They saw the food laid out. “Hmm, I wonder whose house we’re in. There is so much food here. Where does it come from?” said Mother Rabbit. “I brought the food,” said Skippy. “”Stop telling lies,” his brothers snapped.

“It’s true,” said a voice in the corner. “I’m Springy, and I saw everything. I saw Skippy build this hole. I saw him fetch all this yummy food. I was hungry and tried to take it from him. He gave me such a kick that I’ve been unconscious till a few minutes ago.”

“Skippy, you can,” said Hoppy and Jumpy.

“I’m proud of you, my son,” beamed Father Rabbit.

Skippy was shocked. “Wow. It’s true,” he said. “I really can!” He went to sleep with a big smile on his face.

Moral: You may be smaller, uglier, different from your friends. You are still you and that makes you special. That makes you a winner. You can! Don’t believe the people who laugh at you. Believe that you can.

Sentimental – Nah, Not Tonight

o here I sit in the sweltering, humid heat of Amanzimtoti, too hot to sleep, with a cooling breeze rushing through my security bars. While I do that, I have a chance to pay some blogging debt. I committed myself to writing at least one post a day, and the rest is laggish history.

The one-word challenge for today is sentimental – but I’m not in a sentimental mood tonight.

The word does however bring to mind a song; the title goes: “So won’t you please play a song, a sentimental song …” When I think of this song, it triggers a memory – a memory that changed my life, my family’s lives, and eventually brought me to this cottage by the seaside with the breeze blowing through my security bars.

It’s a memory of an interview which my brother was going to – an interview in Durban. We were all at home waiting for his call. When the call came, this song was playing, I remember a mixture of sadness and joy. On the one hand my brother was starting a new life, on the other hand our family was separating.

Who would’ve thought I’d eventually follow? Not me. My previous landlady did, though. On the first week in my cottage (not by the seaside), she told me that one day I will move to be closer to my folks. “Never,” I emphatically told her. “My life is in the city.”

And here I am …
Daily One-Word Prompt – Sentimental

Dream Job

I’ve often asked myself this question: If you could hand-pick your dream-job and your working circumstances, what would it be?

My dream job – can you guess? – would be in the music industry. Not in the front lines, but behind the scenes – better yet, behind the keyboard.

My title: Since I’m not in the music industry at present, I don’t know what to call it. See my job description and help me find my job title.

My job description: Help singers put together their music. I would work out their backing track – intro, chord arrangement, instrument arrangement, you name it.

What does your dream job look like?

Secret Spring

A secret spring of happiness
Lives inside of me
It bubbles up from deep within –
A joyous energy.
I need no man to help me find
This precious spring of glee,
No need for friend or soulmate
For it lives inside of me.
No need to hunt for happiness
This is a fact so true,
No person can complete you,
For this spring is in you too.
So let’s open up the sluces
That the spring can bubble free
Let’s infect with happy juices
All who choose misery.
Daily Prompt – Secret

A Leap Of The Imagination

Daily Writing Prompt – Leap

I remember how as a child I was told that I had a vivid imagination, which will go away once you get older. “Then I never want to grow up,” I would reply.

I did grow up however, but still I find I have a vivid imagination – OK, maybe not like the one I had those days, but still pretty active.

I can conjure up scenes of my perfect job, my perfect life, etc, building the dialogue as if writing a screen-play. I can differentiate fact from fiction though, so don’t book my bed in the crazy farm just yet. As Matchbox20 put it: I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell.

This got me thinking, though, of other things we were supposed to lose when you mature.

Playing is a good example. But why? When I did my facilitation course, I was told that play is actually a good teaching method. I discovered it to be true. In my work as braille instructor I have encountered many tense people, worried that they might not feel the minuscule dots, or others that are coping with the loss of sight. I simply whip out my box of dominoes or various other tricks, and activate the fun button. It puts people at ease, keeps lessons stimulating, and yes, sometimes there is a point to the game. Apart from that, I think turning mundane tasks into a game can take the bore out of boring, leaving space for interest. Be imaginative – give it a thought and try it.

This brings me back to my original point: imagination. Why should we lose the use of imagination as we age? The reality of life is sometimes pretty hard, stark and cruel. I’m no shrink, but I think maybe your brain also needs a place where it can cuddle up and hide a little bit. OK, so some of us reach for a book in that moment, but hey, the author needed imagination to create this book which captivates you.

So let’s take a leap. If you like, go and play leap frog on the grass. Or maybe not. At best, take a leap into “the world of pure imagination; living there you’ll be free if you only choose to be.” – from Willy wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I know I haven’t been blogging much of late, so I’m challenging myself to take that leap. Where will we end up? Follow me and let’s see. 🙂

The Lesson Lion Had to Learn – A Children’s Story

One day King Lion decided to call a meeting of all the animals in the jungle.

"I have decided," he said, "that we must decide who belongs in the animal kingdom, and who doesn’t."

The animals were quiet. Some were angry. Some were afraid. All were waiting to hear what King Lion’s next words would be.

"I have decided that all animals small enough to be stepped on are no longer part of the animal kingdom anymore."

Nellie the elephant smiled. "Then thank goodness I’m not king," she thought to herself, "or I’d be the only animal in my kingdom." But she didn’t say anything, because in spite of her size, she was rather shy and timid.

The small animals started to cry. "Why"" they asked King Lion. "Why don’t you want us in the animal kingdom anymore?"

"Because you’re useless, that’s why," he roared angrily. "My word is final. Any further questions, and I’ll eat you up!"

But Reepicheap the field mouse was not afraid.

"King Lion," he squeaked, "one day you will find out you made a big mistake. Small animals are not useless."

The meeting was over, and the animal kingdom was not a happy place.

On one fine day King Lion went for a stroll through the woods. He was in a pretty good mood, and roared a song on the top of his lungs. (Don’t tell him, but most of the animals think he roars terribly false!)

While he was strolling merrily along, he felt a sharp, twanging pain in his foot. The roaring stopped, and he looked down to see what happened. His foot was caught in a trap. He pulled and pulled, but his foot was stuck.

For hours he stood like this, pulling until he was blue in the face. But no go. His foot was still stuck, terribly sore and full of blood.

In despair, he started to moan and cry. It was a terrible sound coming from the king.

Reepicheap, being in the area, went to see what the terrible noise was. He found Lion in a terrible state. "What’s the matter, O King?" he asked.

"My foot is stuck," the lion moaned.

"I can help," said Reepicheap. "Let me gnaw through the rope for you."

He started to gnaw. In no time at all, the lion’s foot was free. He roared with delight. "Thank you, Reepicheap. Thank you!" he said.

"Pleasure, my king. But, can you now see that small animals are useful?"

"Yes, little field mouse. I can now see that I made a mistake. I shall call a new meeting. Please tell the little animals to come too."

At the meeting King lion said: "All animals, big and small are welcome in my kingdom. I have learnt a lesson. No matter how small, useless and unimportant we may seem, or how big and clumsy, all of us have a place in the kingdom. All of us are useful, and there might be a day when you may find you need my help, or I need yours. Let’s all be a happy animal family."

The animals were all overjoyed. They were dancing, skipping, slithering and flying all around King Lion. Nellie blew her trumpet and waved her trunk with joy. Never before has the jungle witnessed such a party as the one that happened the day King Lion learnt his lesson.

A Jetsetter’s Photoless Photo Album — Worcester

Worcester — no, not the one in England, but the one in the Cape, holds some bitter-sweet memories for me. It was there where I experienced the pain of being labelled “not good enough to succeed”, but also happy memories of special people and good times. Though the place has evolved somewhat since I left, let me tell you about the Worcester I remember.

It’s a small town in the Hex River Valley — a beautiful place between the mountains. It was stiflingly hot in summer and icy cold in winter, adding to that miserable state the fact that it rains in winter. Because of its location, right in the valley, virtually every street had to have a gutter; this prevented flooding of the town.

I remember nicking chappies from the café. I remember the negosiewa where I used to buy about three handfuls of almonds for R5. And I remember the chico the clown desserts we always ordered when we were treated to a meal in Spur.

I remember that every hostel purported to have a ghost or two. In the boys’ hostel, the resident ghost used to wash their backs – or so the story goes. No ghosties did me any favours, thanks. 🙂

I’ll never forget some of the teachers. Since Worcester is where I went to school for the most part, these colourful people are a part of the town. Here are some of my snapshots:

Mrs. Van Rooyen: Some of us in our class used to infuriate her; we used to ask her biblical questions that were impossible to answer. We used to say very heathenish things just to rile her up. I bet she thought I’m destined for the hot place.

The top snapshot though is when she asked one of the other pupils in my class for a toffee. He didn’t want to give it, but because she demanded it, he reluctantly did. She sat at her desk, lustily chewing the toffee until … a shriek; she broke her tooth.

Mr. Hartmann (Sir): Always such a diehard gentleman, hence the nickname Sir. He was my primary school English (and some other subjects which I can’t remember) teacher. He had a soft, rich voice, and a terrible Afrikaans accent, which, in a predominantly Afrikaans school, earned him some serious mockings. Now, there is a lot I can tell you about Sir – and I think I’m going to do just that.

The first stand-out incident I remember was one day during my standard 3 year. I was dating a boy named Neville. One day during games time (it was end of term), Sir surprised me into laughter when he said: “Neville, I see STARS in your eyes.”

Then: I think I was in Standard 4. Me and a friend were walking around the school premises in the vicinity of the hall chatting when I heard a loud explosive sound one should not hear in public (no need to say more, I hope). We stood surprised, wondering where the sound came from.

While pondering the mystery, we heard it again – much louder this time. Now bear in mind: I was just an immature little girl. And here’s what I did:

I clapped my hands and shouted: “Well done! Well done! Louder! Louder! There was a hushed silence, and then a rich, well-manicured voice said: “Trrracy, you ARE making a noise!” Well, my cheeks nearly burnt a hole in my face.

He tried to be professional at all times. But us pesky pupils made his veneer slip a little. Sometimes more than a little.

I remember one day seeing him really angry. He couldn’t pronounce “diere” (animals) and it came out like doors. So, unthinkingly, a fellow pupil wrote the word as he would pronounce it.

I’ve never heard him laugh until one particular day. He was helping me prepare for a debate, and I wanted to say “I am in favour of”, but said “I am in flavour.” He roared with laughter and so did I.

There’s much more I can say, but I’ll leave the poor man alone. I bet he doesn’t want to remember our terrible class anyway, what with the grey hairs we probably brought about. So on to the next victim.

Mr. Wright: First up, one day while we were writing our exams, he did some acrobatic trick, jumping from desk to desk. Unfortunately, somewhere in all of this, he misjudged the distance and hit the floor. No silence after that, just side-splitting laughter.

I was supposed to mention that he was my primary school maths teacher. Whenever we got our multiplication tables wrong, he would say: “Ha! Tables are for the birds! Why learn tables? Tables are for the birds!!”

I remember for some reason a double maths period was cancelled. Good old Trasles did a whoop, a shriek and a jig and shouted: “No horrible maths today!” I didn’t feel so elated though, when I found him standing behind me, and heard the hurt in his voice.

Now that I look at my album, I realize just how fat an bulky my Worcester album is. So, I’ll save some for later – else I’ll be writing a novel. So stay tunedfor more Worcester weirdness. 🙂

A Jetsetter’s Photoless Photo Album – Kwa Thidi Malo

Today I must confess: I’ve had a truly yucky day which started that way before I even left the door. So I have no inspiration whatsoever. But, since I’m getting ready to jetset again, an idea popped into my head, which turned out to be a pretty good one in my opinion.

It’s a fact: I’m a jetsetter – in other words, I love to travel. I’ve just come back from my parents, and this weekend I’m off to visit my besty in Burgersfort. So, I’ve decided to make a photoless album of some of my favourite jetsetting experiences; today is my first instalment.

It’s said a picture paints a thousand words; I’m going to paint with my thousand words. 🙂 The place I have in mind is a farm called Kwa Thidi Malo, somewhere near Rustenburg. It’s a game farm, with rustic wooden furniture made by deaf people in the area.

I went with a colleague, and our bungalow was separate from the rest. I remember the nice chats, and the cups of cappuccino we shared. Not to mention the fun and the laughter.

I must first tell you before I go any further: on the Sunday before the trip, I took a tumble and cut my head open on a wooden bannister. I was rushed to the doctor, and had 16 staples in my head, making me look like I had half an alice band on. Needless to say, this resulted in a lot of jokes during the next week.

The purpose of the Kwa Thidi Malo visit was to introduce the teachers of the newly-Founded Christiana School for the Blind to the world of the fused-globe brigade. Part of the programme took place at Kwa Thidi Malo and the rest happened at the school. It was the first night …

Our hosts organized a braai (barbecue) for us on the first night. The liquor flowed freely, and most of us got pretty tipsy (some more than others). 😀 The highlight of the evening was when the principal took custard and poured it over his baked potato. His reasoning: He thought it was white sauce or gravy he said. “But never you mind, the flavour is delicious.) I never let him live that one down.

The place as very much in the bush, and because there were not much facilities, we used to eat our meals at Melinisa (a restaurant in Rustenburg). They make the best omelettes (I love omelettes). Anyway, the next snapshot was taken when coming back to Kwa Thidi Malo after supper one night.

Anyone who’s been on a large bus with a bunch of crazy people should know it’s a lot of fun. So on our way back, we’re having a blast, playing dumb blonde tour guide with raw Afrikaans accent, among other things, when suddenly there was a collective intake of breath and the bus went quiet. My colleague went deadly, butdeceptively, calm.

Driving on the way to the farm, you drive through the bush on a narrow path. Lying outstretched, its body right across the path, was a huge snake. Apparently, it looked like the head of the snake was right there by the bus’s window. Blindness definitely has its benifits.

I guess I didn’t do the scenery much justice, and I don’t think I can. Imagine a place where silence is what you hear all around, the buck are grazing, the bugs are bugging; Africa – wild and untamed. Admittedly, it’s not a unique description, but it’s what I remember.

There. This post has definitely lifted my spirits. Now tomorrow, I think I’ll dig in my photoless album again. 🙂