But I got the call on Friday morning from my mother informing me that my Mitchell’s Plain aunty was worried about me. She wondered if she would ever see me again before as she put it “God came to fetch her.” The woman is all of sixty-three years old and healthy as a horse.
She was sure it was a boyfriend that was keeping me busy. Or that Facebook!
Mind you I was feeling rather close to my family who had Facebook profiles even though I hadn’t seen some of them for over 10 years and others only briefly at weddings and occasionally at my Mitchell’s Plain aunty’s house.
Facebook, she told my mother, would drive families apart!
What can I say, my Mitchell’s Plain aunty is seldom wrong! Except about the boyfriend part. Sort of!
What was I to do? I had to show some face!
So on Good Friday my mother, sister and three nieces and I did the trek together to Westridge, Mitchell’s Plain for the first time in many months.
We arrived at her house which reeked of pickled fish! My sister salivated and my mother headed straight for the kitchen for a bowl to take some home to my dad.
I was reconsidering the wisdom of visiting my Mitchell’s Plain aunty on Good Friday. My least favourite eating holiday.
She gave us all a hug and a plate as we entered her house. Dish as much as you like, she said. You see, my Mitchell’s Plain aunty is famous in our family and in her street for making the most abundant and apparently delicious pickled fish.
“No thank you,” I said and put the plate back on the table. ”I don’t eat pickled fish.” Even though I had never liked pickled fish before and this was a well documented family fact which gets forgotten every year, much to my dismay.
My aunty sat down on the nearest chair and looked at my mother with horror. I was actually concerned for her health for a second or two.
“This is because you spoiled them as children,” she said to my mother. ”No child of mine will say no to pickled fish on Good Friday!”
“But I’m vegetarian,” I responded. ”I don’t eat any meat.”
I might as well as told my aunty that I still supported the ANC. Actually I nearly did to distract her.
Instead I took the plate back and stacked it with hot crossed buns.
“Did you buy it at Woolies,” I asked. ”And is it Halaal?”
Oh how I missed my Mitchell’s Plain aunty.