Sit­ting on a couch time ma­chine

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO OPINION - Val van der Walt

‘IT’S solid ball-and-claw im­buia!’. So said dad when he re­cently told me that he’s send­ing me my par­ents’ very first lounge suite.

That I didn’t want my liv­ing room to look like it is 1973, didn’t mat­ter.

Ap­par­ently my step­mom de­cided it’s time to up­grade so dad de­cided that I had to down­grade, and just in case I dared to sell it, he gave me a 45 minute speech on how long it took to pay Morkels, and that ‘you can­not buy solid wood any­more be­cause the Chi­nese have made pa­per plates from all the trees’.

He could have said it in one sen­tence but he kept on re­peat­ing him­self.

That the trans­port costs, for my ex­pense, came to dou­ble of what a new, mod­ern lounge suite costs, also didn’t mat­ter.

When it ar­rived I got re­minded that mus­tard-yel­low was quite pop­u­lar back in the seven­ties, even for couch cush­ions, so dad really didn’t lie when he said it’s in ‘orig­i­nal con­di­tion’.

With some se­ri­ous re­ar­rang­ing I man­aged to turn what was a com­fort­able open plan liv­ing room into some­thing re­sem­bling a cramped an­tiques shop.

As some sort of bonus dad also sent four TV trays: one with a pic­ture of an ele­phant, an­other with sun­flow­ers, and the other two both had Paul Kruger’s face with an ox wagon float­ing through the air be­hind his head.

All that was short was a wooden-box Bar­low Vi­sion TV with the Wal­tons show­ing…

Sit­ting down in the mus­tardyel­low folds of one chair I no­ticed a deep mark in the wooden arm rest.

Then I re­mem­bered how it got there;

I tripped my sis­ter one day and she fell face first against the chair, chip­ping her front tooth badly in the process.

I got a hid­ing of note that day. Then I no­ticed two more marks, smaller but deeper, and af­ter think­ing a bit I knew how they got there.

Dad pegged his knife into the wood when Ri­aan Cruy­wa­gen an­nounced on SABC news in 1983 that PW Botha pro­posed two new par­lia­men­tary houses, the House of As­sem­bly for coloured peo­ple and the House of Del­e­gates for In­di­ans.

Dad got very an­gry and said that we will have to get a wall and a gate or else we will have some­one knock­ing on the front door ev­ery five min­utes sell­ing snoek or av­o­ca­dos.

Mom then said that she likes av­o­ca­dos upon which dad pegged his fork in the arm­rest as well.

The couch re­minded me of my mother.

Af­ter sup­per when the TV trays have been folded away she lay on it and I sat be­hind her legs.

I had ac­tu­ally for­got­ten about it. On that couch, to­gether, we watched JR Ewing get shot and Mag­num PI do­ing the most fa­mous power slide of all time in his Fer­rari 308 ev­ery week.

It’s the only mem­ory I have of her be­cause we lost her early.

So. I’ve de­cided to keep the im­buia set just for that, even though my lounge now looks like that of The Rop­ers.

But the TV trays are go­ing to the dump be­cause Paul Kruger looks really mis­er­able.

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