Monday, January 19, 2015

My 71 year old dad and his hole in one

My 71 year old dad got a hole in one on Saturday. 153b meters-7 iron. Ball pitched 1 foot in front of hole and bounced in (you can see the pitch mark in the photo).

That same day, I was recovering from moving house. With 3 kids. The wriggly one-year-old either strapped to my back or trying to get her hands on scissors or razorblades. My exhaustion was bone-crushing and I wondered when my skin had gotten so worn out. The message from my dad seemed to come from the same world as the little white feather that floated onto my hand the previous day while I was scrubbing the concrete with paint stripper.

My father is a proud sceptic. I'm at peace with that. Still it's interesting that the odds of a non-profesional golfer scoring a hole in one are 12,500 to 1, which is more unlikely than being struck by lightning. When I think of the fact that he got a hole-in-one before, when I was a little girl, it makes me slightly tearful.
But my favorite part of his story is this.

"This was my first game in over a month and I started so badly (7 over after the first 4 holes) that I had thoughts of my golf days being over. Then some magic (Maxine!) happened and I finished the round 10 over, including the 1 on the 8th hole. I never carry a phone on the course but found my phone on me and so was able to share the event with the family as it happened".

The fact that he had personal liability insurance must have made those celebratory drinks that much sweeter.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Two strangers - a Muslim and a Jew - embrace on a cold dark street

On Saturday I was walking home in the pitch dark with my two young kids. Being South African, I'm naturally security conscious. I ran through my self defense training; my adrenaline was slightly spiked; I constantly scanned around me. Where I grew up, walking alone in the dark is just not done - and for good reason.

Outside one house I spotted some unusual objects that I could barely make out in the dark. "Mum, what are you looking at? We're freezing!" My boys urged me to walk on. I stalled and saw that it was a miniature grand piano; a tiny desk and chair; a doll's pushchair. Feeling suspicious, I picked up my pace and we carried on walking. But something inside me has changed lately and I'm no longer able to walk away when I smell magic. I turned on my heel and marched back. "Muuum, c'mon!" said my boys. I lifted up the piano and yelled "thank you" towards the house. A woman came outside.

I felt awkward. Maybe she was intending to load the stuff into her car! Maybe she thinks I am stealing! Maybe she will feel sorry for me for picking things up off the street!
"Are you sure you want to give these away?" I asked. "I can see they're valuable, you'd get a lot of money for them on eBay."
"You want them?", she asked excitedly in a thick Arabic accent. "Please, take! Take it all! Thank you so much for taking it. It's really just in the way!"
"I would love to take the piano. Are you sure you don't want to sell it?"
"No, please take it! My children don't want it anymore".
"Thank you so much!" I replied excitedly. "Can I give you a hug?".

One of my favourite songs is "Through Heaven's Eyes" from the movie, The Prince of Egypt. That night, if you had looked down from heaven's eyes, you'd have seen two strangers - a Muslim and a Jew - embracing on a cold dark street. And that is the stuff that never makes the news.

Friday, January 9, 2015

"Don’t be concerned about the perceived laziness of others, instead focus your energy on thinking up ways you can shine, and in turn become a leader who inspires others". -  Richard Branson
This morning I was in Northwest London's infamous back-to-back traffic. The most pressure-cooker driving environment I've ever experienced. I indicated to reverse parallel park into a space. The driver behind me slammed on his hooter aggressively. My nerves became jittery, my blood started to boil and my middle finger twitched. Instead of pulling a sign at him, I took a deep breath and tried to focus on calming myself. Slowly I maneuvered into the tiny space. Somehow I managed to park perfectly. My middle finger was twitching harder by now. But instead, I did something even more unusual than my fluke of a parking move. l made a peace sign and mouthed the word "peace" at the driver, who was now window-to-window with me. To my astonishment, he smiled and gave me a thumbs up! I'm starting to believe we can "find magic everywhere". This blog is a the story of my journey.