Categories
8_Nostalgia

Food Glorious Food

We used to buy our groceries from Freddies Cash Store, straight across the road from our bottle store, seen in the picture. Freddies was owned and run by Grace Schimper (round as a beachball, thick glasses) and her sister Edna Bisset. Grace unmarried, Edna divorced with two special kids a bit older than us – Petra and Ray. Rey?

Milk would be delivered in big tin cans on the back of a grey Morris Minor pickup by Joan and/or Vera Simpson; they were unmarried, lived on their dairy farm, Joan slept on the open veranda year-round. Later in glass bottles – who delivered that?

Our meat we would buy from Paul Raath, then from Louis Schoeman, ex-dashing, polo-playing bachelor – thought he was the Prince Imperial, says my Ma! Now he was the father of five wonderful kids, the older ones our age, and good friends of ours. Dad says Louis once snorted to him, speaking of his lovely wife Cathy, ‘Hmph! All that woman wants is babies, babies!’ I think he was probably just bragging!

Food was also available at the big Ross general dealer store – a forerunner of the supermarket? – where friendly Charlie Ronalds was the grocer. Later Harrismith got Sonop, our first supermarket.

~~~oo0oo~~~

I thought of this old-time food shopping while reading an article on supermarkets in The Atlantic. How supermarkets have changed the way we shop for food. I thought this passage was very good:

At the very least, you have to marvel: How did we take something built to satisfy the simplest human need and make it so utterly baroque? The supermarket does not “curate.” It is a defiantly encyclopedic catalog of our needs and desires, each and every one of which it attempts to satisfy. With nothing but a can opener, you can get a “turkey dinner in gravy,” “chicken shrimp and crab stew,” “saucy seafood bake,” “chicken and turkey casserole,” “prime filets with salmon and beef,” “bisque with tuna and chicken,” “ocean whitefish dinner with garden greens in sauce,” or a “natural flaked skipjack tuna entrée in a delicate broth.” And that’s just in the cat-food aisle.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Categories
1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia

Crisis Averted

The Church of England, Vrystaat Outpost of the British Empire Division, in its small sandstone building in Harrismith – off the beaten track, not even in the shadow of the tall, imposing Kerk of the Chosen People in the square which sat smack in the middle of Warden Street, interrupting the flow of traffic, forcing ox-wagons and – later – automobiles to go AROUND it – had a big problem:

Dwindling membership and a severe shortage of people able to serve the Queen and the Home Country – oh, and the Lord – as deacons.

Not a new problem, this shortage had occupied the minds of these good Anglican, Anglophile Colonialists even before the darned Nationalists had taken over Colonial Rule in 1948 and the death of their dear King George in 1952. Long gone were the days when the mayor and a few councilors might occupy these pews (and speak English at town meetings!). Everyone who was anyone now sat in the Kerk pews of a Sunday and listened to thundering donder n bliksem sermons of power and guilt (and what one could quite legitimately do to the sons of Ham) up the road.

Part of the problem was those families who might cough up good English deacons sent their sons away. Hilton, Michaelhouse, St Andrews, Treverton. You know, good Church schools (yes, some of them might be Methodist, but one has to make do out here in the Colonies). Trouble was, these good schools’ chapels cured them of any desire to spend more Sundays on cold, hard wooden benches. So what to do?

A thought: What about young Clive Oswald? An approving murmur started up among the little group of Church elders, a quiet buzz . . . He had recently returned to the district to join his father and mother on the farm. Young, good-looking, polite, capable; why, it was like manna sent from . . .

“Has his shadow ever darkened the door of this church!?” boomed a voice.

Belonging to Joan Simpson. Dairy farmer; Long-serving deacon; Anglophile; Known for sleeping on her bed on the open porch of the farmhouse she shared with her sister Vera. Year-round, even in Harrismith’s freezing winter. And for delivering milk in big metal cans on the back of her grey Morris Minor pickup – made in England, what. And for wearing khaki trousers at all times. Occasionally a dress to a MOTH do or high church. She’d served in the war, and was still now serving in defence of what was right.

Well, that settled that question. Tabs Fyvie was safe. England expects every Church of England in the Provinces to do its duty and die quietly, fizzling away with dignity.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Joan is probably in this picture somewhere:

MOTHs names
– Platberg MOTH Shellhole, Harrismith ca.1960 –

Luckily Joan probably hadn’t spotted Tabbo patronising the Anglican Bazaar, or she might have mollified her stance and he might have been sentenced to carry the collection plate for decades.

~~~oo0oo~~~

kerk – stepping stone to heaven; compulsory

donder en bliksem – fire and brimstone