To parents who adopt

By Sue Trollip

This week I had an encounter with adoption, up close and personal. I always thought it was about the chance to give someone a perfect life. Why? I have no idea because I know there is no such thing.

I figured out very quickly that it’s a much simpler concept. It’s merely the chance of giving someone a better life. A better shot at being an independent individual, or more of a shot than they’d have in an orphanage in a third world country.

People spend a lot of time worrying about culture and displacement. But I say rather focus on being loved, having someone to love, a decent education, a loving shove up the stepladder of life.

Prince Harry has been in the news again with his Lesotho deeds, and no matter how much of a hair-raiser he is, to have a son with a heart that big, must make his papa proud.540f65ca875e8_-_prince_harry_charity_lesotho_misc

I take my hat off, I raise my glass, I give a shout-out to those who’ve adopted. Thank you for your stellar contribution in making this world a better place.

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Back to the Past for ‘Back to the Future’

by Susan Roberts

The movie trilogy of Back to the Future was in the news last month because we reached the 21st October 2015. In the second movie, this is the day to which the 1985 characters travel forward in time.

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There’s been a lot of speculation lately about which gadgets from this second film have actually become reality. Hover boards and flying cars remain a dream, but self-lacing shoes seem to be heading towards reality. Nike recently sent Michael J Fox the first pair of self-lacing sneakers which they are hoping to put into production.

Strangely, no one dreamed up mobile phones – which is just as well since that could have seriously ruined some major plot points. Who was to know back in 1985 that the youth of 2015 would all have their noses glued to tiny screens and be suffering from repetitive strain injury in their thumbs?

Co-writer Bob Gale explains that since no one can predict the future, a time travel movie of this type has to create its own parameters, so the writers invented a small town with its own local history and quirky deadlines for the time travellers.

It’s a great premise and carried out exceptionally well, with wonderful performances by Michael J Fox as teenager Marty and Christopher Lloyd as Doc, the mad scientist who builds a time machine out of a De Lorean car.

In the first movie, Marty McFly takes a ride back in time by accident to 1955. There he makes an innocent mistake which not only prevents his parents from falling in love, but puts him embarrassingly in his father’s rightful place. He finds himself fending off his young mother who starts falling in love with him instead of with his father.

As if that’s not bad enough, Marty only has a few days to fix what’s he’s messed up if he’s to take advantage of the only natural phenomenon that he knows about which will give him enough power to fly the time machine back to 1985. While taking care of all this business, he manages to teach the school bully a lesson or two as well.

In the second film Doc takes Marty and his girlfriend 30 years into the future, to 2015, to prevent one of their future children from making a bad decision. Once there they inadvertently allow the now 78-year old former school bully to mess with their own past, which means that Marty and Doc have to return to 1955 (the scene of the first movie), and surreptitiously re-enter the original adventure to right more wrongs and sort out the bully’s younger self, thereby adding another layer onto earlier events while trying to not disturb that re-jiggled history they just fixed in the first movie.

Complicated? Very. But enormous fun, especially if you have just re-watched the first movie and its events are still fresh in your mind.

The third movie goes back in time 100 years to the Wild West of 1885 and pokes gentle fun at the western genre while paying homage to Clint Eastwood and others. It also re-visits some of the themes which made the first two movies so memorable, and Marty meets the evil ancestor of – you guessed it – the school bully. Along the way, Marty not only learns to rein in his own impulsive reactions whenever he is called “chicken” by the bully, but imparts some sound advice to an early ancestor of the McFly clan about doing the same.

All three films are well worth seeing, whether or not you’ve watched them before. True to form, the school bullies in all three eras don’t seem to learn anything from their mistakes, but that’s the way with movies – every character has an arc, except the bad guys.

What becomes clear is that all three of these movies are less about time travel and more about family and friendship. About what brings us together and what keeps us together. About what is inherent in us and what we learn from the circumstances life throws at us.

The spark that led to the original story happened when the writers hit on the notion of how much fun it would be for a teenager to go back in time and see his own parents when they were his age. I’ve long had a theory that we are all nostalgic about the age in which our parents were young, because we hear them talking about the “old days” with such love and enthusiasm. At the time when the first Back to the Future movie came out, my father had just died and amongst everything else that was going on in our family in coping with his loss, this film was a reinforcement of all the stories he used to tell us about the “old days” of his youth.

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Time travel has always been a popular fiction theme, from writers such as H G Wells and Mark Twain to Audrey Niffenegger, on television in the form of Voyagers and Doctor Who, and with movies like: Kate & Leopold, Just Visiting, and this trilogy.

If you had the opportunity to jump into Doc’s De Lorean, what date would you punch into the time console? Like Marty I’d go back to the 1950s, to see what my parents got up to in their twenties. Where would you go?

Counting Blessings

by Jac Dowling

Before you decide not to read this, let me assure you that it’s not a tract or a sermon! Simply an audit of recent happenings in my life for which I have every reason to be profoundly grateful.

Two weeks ago, during a guest Friday tea at the library, my ‘seeing’ eye packed up – a fog descended and I was terrified that it was going the way of the left eye. Our optician saw me within half an hour, contacted a brilliant young surgeon who was just on his way back to the Bellville eye hospital – he stayed on, saw me, set my mind at rest and operated last Wednesday to remove the cataract and replace the lens.

Now, I asked him to go ahead in full knowledge that there was no standby if things went wrong; which is not a happy situ for any surgeon. The staff at our local Mediclinic were absolutely superb, right through to the theatre sister who sat next to me and held my hand throughout!! Wow.

So, the blessings began with all my family and friends who have given me their quiet support knowing how nervous I was of the whole thing … many of them prayed, and I believe it helped.   Not being a church-goer, I have, however, never lost faith in a greater spirit, but many of my friends are staunch members of local churches and went about their business quietly and, it appears, efficiently. Their messages during the last few weeks have shown me just how much they care. That has to be a singular blessing. Then Dr Grove who did it all – no blessing big enough for him.

I suppose I’m still slightly shell-shocked but needed to put it down and realise, yet again, how very special you all are.   And how humbly thankful I am to have so many friends who really DO care.

Thank you.

jac

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NOW I AM OLD

By Hazel Bond

Now I am an old woman I shan’t wear purple
Nor shall I wear a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.
Purple makes my skin look like I have jaundiceUSESan-Diego-Hat-Purple-2
And hats of any colour are anathema to me.
I have to wear a hearing aid because
What I hear is Summa Bin Laden when
What they are saying is “thunder and lightning.”
Now I go to bed at one or two in the morning
And sleep all afternoon, which charges my batteries
for going to bed at one or two the next morning.marshmallow
Soon I shall swear loudly, instead of under my breath,
at the packers who put all the heavy items in one basket
with tissues and marshmallows in the other.
And I shall send terrible curses to those who send me
hours of time-wasting junk on my e-mail,
and especially to those who send sentimental email-150x150
or superstitious stuff that has to be returned to them
and sent on to ten other people.
If they have already read it why in heaven’s name
Do they want it back ten times from ten more people?
Are they afraid that one day their inbox will have nothing in it?
It is time now too, to trip with my walking stick
Those who stand talking at the off-ramp of an escalator
When I am trying to step off of it.
And with the privilege of age I now write non-rhyming poetry
And inflict it on the few good friends
Who haven’t departed this life before me.