Monday, October 11, 2010

Tannie Anna and the wheat fields

I loved the window in our bedroom. It was tall and thin, like everybody in my family. Outside the window, which had shutters on the inside, was a white wall with the tendrils of a new, growing creeper peaking up and the branches of a big tree above in which birds tweeted.

That’s all we woke up to, the birds tweeting and the wind howling through the enormous eucalyptus trees in the garden. I could’ve sworn I heard Tannie Anna’s voice too, singing, carried on the wind, notes from her red guitar dancing like leaves on the wind’s breath.

We’d met Tannie Anna outside the Spaza shop when we drove into the town on Saturday. The golden wheat fields spat us out into a tiny town with a good feeling. It was like coming across a kindred spirit. There are fifty houses there, the Spaza shop, a bottle store (synonymous with Small Town South Africa) and a tiny restaurant. If you need petrol, you have to go 20km down the road to find it.

Tannie Anna and her husband are a tiny, wizened pair. They could be 40-years old, or 60. The cheap wine that they sell at the bottle store in a plastic bottle resembling those containing vinegar has turned their skin wrinkled and their eyes rheumy. She carries a red guitar that makes her look even smaller and comes up to the car as we stop. The pair launch into an old Afrikaans folk song, their voices thin, but her strumming beautiful.

That evening I watched dusk come over while I read my book with a glass of wine outside on the stoep and G watched rugby upstairs in the bar with some locals. After the match they joined me, pulling me from my book. Weekend visitors, but they own places there. Lucky fish.

What can be better than a Blue Sky Saturday trip on an open road that stretches as far as your eye can see?


Angela said...

Nothing indeed.
You write such colourful descriptions, they make me think back to the wheat fields of my own youth. The smell and the sway, like an ocean in yellow...
You are such a good writer, Shiny, when will you write your book? I promise to buy it!

Shiny said...

Thank you, Geli. I'm not sure I have a whole book in me, though x

Miranda said...


Beautifully written, as ever. xxxx