SAMVO Facebook post by Ben Opperman (8th January 2022)
Ok boys….and girls……Perth’s first two-comma-fô for the year that will be 2022 for the next twelve months done and dusted, albeit on the second Saturday of the new year. Not a bad attendance given the time of the year and the fact that it wouldn’t have been right to get everyone to ‘tree aan!’ a few hours after stepping into the new year the previous weekend.
A few regulars were AWOL, some on ‘afgedeelde diens’, others on holiday. Don Pengelly had to support one of his daughters swimming somewhere and couldn’t join the rest of us. Very noble of him…The morning was hot and humid already as we assembled at our usual spot in Kings Park with New Year wishes and stories of the now past festive season doing the rounds. Everybody seemed in good spirit and we were also joined by Maree de Villiers. Good to have had Peter Celliers, Lesley Wittstock and her daughter Jay Sprigg join us. Up the hill we went and down again. Some of the boys took to running up the hill and down again, some just down the hill. They were joined by Marlize Pretorius who also ran all the way and to top it off, went up and down the spiral DNA tower several times! The rest of us formed a LSD (Lam, Siek en Dooies) squad and made our way up and down.
Back at base the boys and girls settled into prepping and cooking the customary breakfast, something everyone is getting really good at. Some jumped the proverbial gun by prepping at home and only warming up their ‘food parcels’ before eating it. We’ll have to look into that……Covid was one of the topics covered as everyone went about their brekky prepping and cooking. Our hearts and thoughts are with those affected.
Why do this at all one might ask? Well, one will never know the true value of this once-a-month-activity but what is set in concrete is that veterans need to take time off to reacquaint with one another and thereby cement existing friendships and forge new friendships. We are in a foreign country that we now call home where things can get a bit rough at times but we share the same story from way back – we were soldiers once - we were and still are brothers in arms. We share the hope and despair of all the veterans back in South-Africa, their families, our families, friends…..the list is long. We will pass, it’s a matter of time and life will go on regardless.
On the group photo….Dave Stevenson, Andries Pretorius, Jess van der Nest, Wilma Higley, Dion Clegg, Marlize Pretorius, Philip Niman, Craig Goodson, Stephen Higley, Maree de Villiers, Dean van Vuuren, Christo Miller, Ian Higley, Peter celliers, Johan Burr-Dixon, Slade Healy, Ben Opperman and Garth Pienaar. Inset Vic van Loggerenberg who had to leave early. Lesley Wittstock and Jay Sprigg also missed the shoot for some reason unknown.