If cows can fly, anything is possible

2013-02-25 00:00

A NUMBER of strange things have happened in our town recently. The first is that the roads have been fixed, with 1,5 million potholes covered.

I am at a loss as to tell you what chaos this has caused. We are now able to drive at a reasonable speed through the residential areas. And the chaos? Six accidents in the past month.

The cause? No stop signs. They were put up, but they were stolen immediately.

So although the indwellers know to stop at certain points, visitors to the town zoom around, playing bumper cars with the locals. I have come across many a group of people recently sitting on the pavements mid-morning in the sun, not picnicking, but getting over the shock of their collision, shattered windscreens around them.

And more bizarre was watching a cow escape from a two storey cattle truck. I imagine it had sent up a prayer minutes before, at which point it realised there was an escape route up and over. Richard Scarry-style, cars coming and going screeched to a halt to avoid being hit by a falling cow. In movie-like slow motion, she fell through the air like a leather sack filled with concrete.

Miraculously, she survived the fall. She stood for a moment recovering and assessing her options. Behind her was an old age home. Not an attractive one. To the side, the OK grocer. There would be food, but would they let her eat it? In front of her, the Hervormde Kerk. Realising that her prayer had been answered, she set off there. I presume, to give thanks.

And even more bizarre, a couple of days after the cow fell from heaven, I was at home on the farm. We don’t have a river running through our land, but we do have a road. Not too far from the house either. Joba called me to come quickly. There, before us, a truck was driving along that very road, and as far as it went, it was somehow setting fire to the land around it. I started the fire alert SMS chain: Gert, Kobus, Tuis, Danie, Pieter and then not being able to do much more after that, I watched as the flames caught dry thorn trees and burst into oversized, terrifying Catherine-wheels — explosions of flames that licked the telephone wires, raced to the labourers cottages and threatened to bring apocalyptic chaos to us all. The wind was blowing away from us, but I knew if it changed and if those 40 foot-high flames leapt the road, I would have seconds to get the children out the house and away to safety. Not sure what else to do, with tears streaming down my face in shock, I got the garden hose out and tried to make my own little fire break in front of the house. It was a bit like hoping a good pee would put out the flames of hell. Fortunately the fire swept towards the railway line, which acted as a fire break, protecting both our home, and the labourers cottages.

I discovered later that the truck was filled with dry animal feed and smoking labourers. A bad agricultural combo. In an attempt to save the truck, the workers were off-loading burning bale after burning bale onto the verge at the side of the road. “Heave ho, here you go... have a fire, poof! Heave ho, here you go... have a fire, poof!”

And still yet more bizarre, we had a thunderstorm. And Herman and the children and I were sitting in our kitchen, which still has the original old coal stove in it. And Herman, who likes to sit with his elbow on the coal stove rail had just pulled his arm away and was about to walk out of the kitchen, when the lightning struck directly above us. We know it was directly above us, as there were no elephants between the light and the crack. And we also know it was directly above us as somehow the lightning came down the chimney and struck our old coal stove and sent a strange and terrifying blue flame into the kitchen.

It severed the space between Herman and I, which must have been all of one metre. It was a bit trippy, like a Star Wars movie featuring only Darth Vader’s lightsaber.

And it shocked the hell out of us. From now on, if there is a storm, we will all gather in the lounge and remain there until it is over.

A bit like Herman’s ouma, who in this very house, during thunder storms used to draw the curtains, cover the mirrors and chant incantations to the Lord to spare her.

I used to laugh when Herman told me that story. But no more.

If cows can fly, anything is possible.

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