SAMVOINT Facebook post by Ben Opperman (4th September 2021)
What a beautiful morning in Kings Park we had for our Spring SADF two-comma-fô! The temperatures didn’t exactly match your typical Spring mornings but who cares? It was a bit chilly as the veterans turned up one after the other….all dressed up against the cold.
Of course….there were a few veterans who braved the chilly morning with ‘kortbroeke’, one with a t-shirt and no jacket! Nice of Lesley Wittstock and her two doggo’s to join us. From where we usually assemble we could see mist rising off the ponds down below. Lucky for us no wind!
We set off up Riaan-se-koppie on the dot, the cold biting into our hands…pain first and then nothing. Up to Tim’s Tower we went, touched the steel. The decent was mercifully easier and we had the sun on our backs. Life got better and it got a whole lot better when we switched on the barbeques and started our brekkies. Soon everybody was talking and laughing. Rugby, Afghanistan and Covid (in that order) were the big topics amongst the veterans. Christo Miller got a taste of just how sneaky those pesky Magpies can be when one swooped down from nowhere and relieved him of his Ouma’s rusk as he was about to put it in his mouth. It didn’t touch him at all and the sneaky bird flew off and landed a safe distance away to enjoy it’s bounty.
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 remember all those who at the call of duty, paid the highest price. In a sense they are the lucky ones unlike the rest of us who were left to grow old and the years to condemn.
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.
Lesley Wittstock went off with permission I must add before our group photo. Those left (in usual order) were veterans Dave Stevenson, Johan Schoeman, Craig Goodson, Dion Clegg, Vintcent Redpath, Dean van Vuuren, Don Pengelly, Philip Niman, Ron Lee, Jess van der Nest, Johan Burr-Dixon, Christo Miller, Ian Higley, Craig Howard, Ben Opperman and Garth Pienaar kneeling.