part one: the getting there
10 is the number of vehicles it took to get the 4 of us and our camping trailer/tent to and from my youngest brothers wedding.
Our Jeep literally blew a gasket 2/3 of the way there. Leaving us hot and pissed off at a small filling station late afternoon Friday. It felt bleak until we realised that the carloads of dread-locked ukulele-playing smiling people pulling in around us were going the same way - to the wedding!
We shared orange ice lollies and break-down stories and 'how do you know so 'n so's' until my middle brother and sister-in-law pulled in - unlikely cavalry in their small red car stuffed full of hired sound gear.
The garage was managed by a small town gem, a friendly guy who seemed to want nothing more than to get us back on the road. He quickly arranged for us to hire a buddy's big Colt bakkie for the rest of the journey and enthusiastically started helping to unhitch the trailer.
When his eagerness resulted in the jockey wheel coming off in his hand, he quickly arranged for another buddy to pop round with his welder, while Husband looked ready to blow a gasket of his own and my brother and I stifled an extremely ill-timed and unadvised fit of the giggles.
This was back when we were still laughing.
We elected to send the girls on ahead with my brother. We knew Granny was waiting at the wedding destination and as it was getting late and we'd been on the road for 4 hours by then we thought it best to get them out of the equation.
Thank god we did.
Having swapped the girls for all the sound gear they set off, the welder got to work and shortly after our back-up vehicle arrived.
It was ... dodgy, to say the least.
Back on the road we wiggled and jiggled, reminding ourselves that we didn't have much further to go, grateful for being back on the road.
The sun was properly setting as we turned off the tar and on to the winding gravel road - a good 45 minutes 'til we got there.
Maybe longer, we thought, as the Colt repeatedly jumped out of gear on the corrugated dirt, the trailer sliding and drifting alarmingly behind us.
Things were tense, and stifling hot in the cab, all the windows closed against the billows of dust, visibility poor and tinged blood-red from the last of the dusk. I was grateful I couldn't really see the immense drop at my side.
Up the last big hill, up and up, gears jumping, engine whining, trailer balking. We knew the Colt could do it but 'can you see the needle for the temp gauge?' Husband shouts above the rattle.
Up and up we push, both his hands on the wheel, mine on the gear stick, eyes jumping between the road and the dash. 'Where the fuck is the fucking needle??'
And then flatly, 'Nevermind' as clouds of steam emit from the bonnet, white and starkly visible against the orange and brown of dust and despair.
The Colt blew a gasket 11 km from our destination.
I hitched a lift in with more wedding guests passing by and a kind uncle and hero brother went back to fetch Husband and the trailer.
My beloved mother had fed and bedded our children. Someone made us cups of tea and silently delivered them to us, pitching our tent in the dark.
Husband went straight to bed, deaf to the djembe drums and reminiscent laughter around the campsite.
I should have done the same, already on my first set of meds for pharyngitis and broken from the days challenges, but I needed to unwind a bit and instead walked softly around the campsite in the dark, gazing up at the stars, enjoying the soft mountain air and getting excited for the real business of the weekend: the wedding!
to be continued ....