As I look back now on what was a difficult journey of being banded together with extended family during Lockdown in Durban, South Africa, I can only feel a slight sense of relief that we’ve come through some of the most difficult days.
I can’t exactly remember the moment, or the time but my husband and daughter were out doing a monthly grocery shop to prepare for our hibernation during Lockdown. To put this into perspective… We live in a two bedroom apartment on the 10th floor with extremely noisy neighbors, No! I mean really… Especially the one family at the end of the passage. They have a large family of young, energetic boys and the mom, Well! I think she’s overwhelmed by it all. I won’t go into detail about what life is like living in the same space but let’s just say, as a chronically ill person, it can become quite overwhelming and overbearing. Oh! The joys of apartment living.
Don’t get me wrong! I love where I live. It’s close by the promenade where I take short, leisurely strolls watching the waves roll up on the sandy shores, surfers barreling waves and the local fisherman throwing their rods over the pier in the hope of ‘the catch of the day’. I can watch the sunrise over the ocean on a warm, Summer’s Day as I sit on my tiny balcony. I smell the ocean and hear the roar of the waves…
It’s calming, serene and beautiful – It’s magic! But this beauty will not suffice under a strict, level 5 lockdown Covid-19, Corona Virus pandemic, with noisy neighbour’s. So, on the night of 26 April, my family and I made the no brainer decision to live with family in a suburban neighborhood with a large garden, two dogs and freedom to have a backyard, lockdown dinner.
The time spent with extended family was fun- filled, cheerful at times, complicated and busy.
We spent days talking, playing board games, baking and cooking exotic dishes, watching movies and catching up on the evening presidential address of the state of the nation during Lockdown.
As a chronically ill person who suffers with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and leaky gut syndrome this was a challenge for me. I’m so used to living a life of isolation, eating a restricted diet, little engagement, paced activity and chores. Needless to say, the move sounded great at the time but was proving to be another challenge.
It all became overwhelming for me as I spent most of my days in a dark room, with headphones to drown out the noise levels. After some activity, my body was wracked with pain. So, I frequently had to lay down with heat bags and rest a lot.
Not everything was doom and gloom… I recount this beautiful day vividly and with fond memories, where my daughter decided upon having an extra special, extravagant lockdown dinner in the backyard. It wasn’t a particularly good day for me health wise but I really needed something to lift my spirits.
I smile, as I think about the evening.
It was warm and beautiful, and memorable.
We spent the whole afternoon carrying high backed chairs, setting the table exquisitely, with a crisp, white tablecloth and a gold – colored runner draped over the glass table. The grass woven mats set in their place, shiny silver cutlery with pearly white crockery, crystal glasses neatly arranged alongside stemmed wine goblets placed on the table. The table was looking gorgeous and elegant, a table fit for royalty, I think. It just needed a little something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Oh, yes! some plants. I look in the nearby shrubs and there… I find it! It’s a little vine creeper… Perfect! I string the creeper through, in and around the table settings … Voila! It’s all come together. My daughter, Rachel, strings the fairy lights across some nearby poles and my brother-in-law, Floyd, gets the fire going in the wheelbarrow, while hubby, Garth and my sister- in-law, Chantel, get the dinner going.
I’m so excited, everything’s coming together as planned. But wait! I hear a rumbling in the distance, the sky turns grey and dark, fluffy, dense clouds gather. Garth checks the weather report, all seems clear for now. So we continue to set up and wait with baited breath.
Everyone is excited, we’re all dressed up in our Sunday best. I borrow a beautiful peach, chiffon dress with gold trimming, from Chantel and slip on my comfy leather sandals . I slap on some makeup and quickly put on silver hoop earrings. I smile! We’re all ready for the much awaited evening dinner, it’s like an event of the year. It’s a time to celebrate, an opportunity to give thanks for all that God has done for us. Chantel shouting across the hallway: “Everyone get ready and meet me in the backyard so we can take some photos to remember this night!”. I laugh, we all laugh, she’s the official family photographer. Nothing happens without a snap, or two thousand when she’s around.
As we sit at the table, posing on a warm, Autumn evening- the golden sunsetting and a rustling in the trees- I hear a thunder clap! the tiny rain flecks spitting on my cheeks and a couple more, and then a few heavy drops. Everyone sighs! We try to convince each other that it’s just a passing shower and everything will be fine. So! we carry on in the hope that we can enjoy our evening in the backyard but it was not to be.
Oh my heart! I think a little tear trickled down my face mingling with the raindrops now heavily smacking down on my skin. Everyone scurries around, dashing and grabbing things like war is about to happen. We place everything neatly under the carport, while the rain beats loudly on its roof. Shoo! I wiped my sweaty brow… I’m grateful we had somewhere to place everything and continue to celebrate our dinner. The fire is stirring, the flames lapping and flickering, lighting up the night sky- It’s awesome!
Our bodies warming up as we set our meal down and fill our glasses to drink up the beautifully crafted and red grape, non alcohol wine- It’s thick and rich, smooth and syrupy to the palate. The dinner table is set with samosas and spring rolls as starters. We have a scrumptious and delish array of savory rice, a bright and colorful bowl of nourishing salad with yummy, butter chicken curry and a special assortment of treats with coffee for dessert. Everything smells so divine, I can’t wait to get stuck in! We snap a few more pics as requested by ‘you know who’ and in the background a Playlist of soul-stirring and soothing music is played on the tiny jukebox. We raise our glasses, give thanks and salut!
All is well… We laugh and chatter way into the night…We take turns dancing nearby the wheelbarrow fire.
It’s been a great family night, an enjoyable experience, one I will never forget and the lockdown woes suddenly pale into the distance.