The black Saab is packed to capacity as we roar off in the dead of night to Kestell, that mecca of silence and stillness and, uh peace, I guess. We aimed to fix that in our 1961 Saab93. Riiing! ding ding ding ding Riiiiing! – that’s the two-stroke engine you can hear.
Steph, Larry, Pierre, Tuffy and Me. Warmly dressed against the Harrismith winter chill, we’re packed shoulder-to-shoulder, hardly able to lift our elbows to down the 455ml can of beer we each have. The sixth one we’ll share. Tuffy’s empty can goes clanking along the tarmac before Steph has even hit third gear. Glugged.
After cavorting on the gravel main street of Kestell and losing a tyre off the rim on one of our laps around the Groot Klip Kerk, we head for Jan van Wyk’s place (we had fixed the tyre at Jakes Grove’s garage). Jan’s farm is a turn-off to the left on the way back home. He’s the sitting hoofseun at Harrismith se Hoer, 1970 edition. It’s 4am and there’s something we need to tell him.
Tuffy tackles an ox en-route.
Driving down the farm road with its middel-mannetjie the passenger-side door suddenly flies open as we drive past a few cattle blinded by our headlights. Next thing we know there’s a dust cloud and some concerned moo-ing. We stop and Tuffy gets back into the car dusting his brown/khaki grootjas (greatcoat) off with a smug look of “that’ll teach them” on his dial. Long toms always went straight to the clever-and-brave lobe of his brain, especially when he downed them in seconds flat.
Arriving at the homestead all is in darkness. The dogs sniff us as we tiptoe into Jan’s room and wake him. Maybe we aren’t quite as stealthy as we think, as a voice comes from down the passage “Jan, maak tog vir hulle tee”. His Ma. They always know what’s going on.
As we leave we spy pa Hertzog’s big Chev Commando parked in the open garage with a few big sacks next to it. Mielies, probably. Takes a bit of effort but we manage to raise it and push the sacks under it, leaving the rear wheels just off the ground. The beer is obviously still circulating, making us innovative, witty and irresistible.