Joseph has been selling ice creams and ice lollies outside of my children’s Primary School for the past eight years. I did not know his surname. He knew all the children and would chase them back to the waiting area if they sneaked out the gate to the Car Park.
We would sometimes go on Picnics in the various Parks or my boys would be partaking in the Cross Country Meets and almost always, we would hear his little bell as he made his way through the crowds or across the lawns. My children could never believe that he would trek so far to sell his ice creams and considered me ‘Eagle Eye Mum’ when I could pick him out across a field from five or six other sellers.
Every day as we walked past he would call out to my kids, by name, and say ‘Good Bye’ my friend and enquire after my eldest who is now in High School.
We all cheered for him when someone donated a motorbike to assist with his deliveries and cried in frustration when it broke down, unable to do the long hauls between his home in Newlands and the schools and parks he frequented. I personally chased away the ‘singing’ ice cream van when they tried to come onto Josephs turf; after all, he was there first.
On Tuesday I was advised by one of his friends that usually only covers for him when he was sick, that he had been killed last weekend. No one is quite sure what happened but his shack burnt down to the ground in the early hours of the morning along with fifty others. Our Joseph did not make it out alive.
My heart is so sore for a man that I hardly knew but has been a constant friendly face in our lives for so many years. I fought the tears yesterday when I fetched my children and he was not there, just an empty space. I eventually gave in and let the tears flow last night as I could still hear his voice calling to my children.
It is now my turn to say to Joseph - Good Bye my friend, may your gentle soul Rest in Peace.
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