One day, when I’m old, grey (wait, I already am grey) and losing my marbles completely, I’m going to wheel myself out onto my patio in my gown and slippers, sit my great-great grandchildren down, fart without a care in the world to their whoops of delight and disgust and ask them whether they know the legendary tale about Popeye. Of course, they’ll say ‘whoooo?’ At which point, I’ll fart again, rub my chin thoughtfully, and simply continue with the story, which goes something like this…

Once upon a time there was this fair maiden who lived in a little white house. Her name was Cheri. Cheri’s house lay deep in the mountains where snow used to fall before global warming melted the icebergs and our hearts. And there, in that far off place, lived her companion and friend, Popeye. Now Popeye was a girl too. But she wasn’t a girl person. She was a girl dog – a Jack Russel to be precise. And everywhere that Cheri went, Popeye was sure to follow. But Popeye was very, very different from other Jack Russel kind of folk. You see, Pops once ran into a bit of trouble with another rather large dog who bit her in the face causing multiple maxilla fractures, eye socket fractures and rupturing her left eye. Her owners didn’t want a deformed dog and wanted to put her down thanks to her injuries. It really was a bit of a disaster because the growth plates in her upper jaw closed prematurely and all the enamel on her teeth became injured during the germinal stages. So the owners took their one-eyed, short nosed, funny teeth Jack Russell to our damsel Cheri so that she could put Popeye out of her misery. But Cheri wasn’t having any of it, so she adopted Popeye instead.

One day, Cheri arrived home and sat Popeye down. ‘Popeye,’ she said, ‘I need to ask you something and you need to answer yes, or no, not maybe.’ Popeye nodded cautiously. ‘Popeye, I’m in love with Oom Pieter from the farm down the road. I’d like to marry him. May I have your blessing?’ And with that Popeye went bananas, agreeing wholeheartedly, because it meant she’d spend the rest of her life running through the orchards with Pieter’s own pack of happy and hearty dogs. Cheri continued ‘and will you be my ring-bearer?’ Popeye thought about this for a moment – she wasn’t really one for the limelight – she preferred to let people do their thing while she kept an eye on Cheri. After a moment, she motioned Cheri to the fridge. ‘Yeah giiiiirl, sure I’ll be the ring-bearer, but on one condition – I need my own dress – now go open a Carling Black Label and chill.’

And so wedding day arrived. Hot it was, but not as hot as Popeye looked in her handmade dress. Cheri also looked hot. Pieter looked calm and chilled as he chatted to his groomsmen, waiting for the big moment to arrive. Cheri arrived, vows, happy days. After the wedding ceremony the whole bridal party jumped into cars and we sped off to Pieter’s farm. Now! Pieter and Cheri are a bit looney. They made their photographer man enter into a whole field of wild, roaming cows so that he could to take bridal photographs of them. The photographer man wondered if he’d ever make it out alive as the cows surrounded him from all sides, moo-ing and going on. Then Cheri and Pieter even sat in the field. The photographer man thought they were going to be eaten alive and die right there – with a whole bridal party wee-ing in their pants from laughter. Luckily Pieter and Cheri spoke nicely to the cows and they headed off to eat some fodder-stuff. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we travelled around the farm taking photos here and there. It was lekker fun with even lekkerer people.

Then it was time to go back to the reception and Popeye asked if she could stay behind on the farm with her dog friends and the cows and tractors. Cheri let Popeye out of the 4 x 4 and off she went merrily along to meet her mates with not a second glance back. At the reception the photographer man changed out of his gumboots so that he didn’t leave spoor in the hall for the cows to follow. Then after the speeches and the food and the dancing and the very good times, the photographer man and his wife jumped into their car and headed back to the city lights. The city isn’t as dark at night as it is on a farm. It doesn’t smell like a farm either. It also doesn’t have cows or sheep or orchards or bumpy dust roads with dams on either side. And it definitely doesn’t allow you the freedom to roam freely without a care in the world. Popeye, you picked your mommy wisely – stay just where you are. And keep an eye on Pieter – those cows outnumber him 100 to 1. I look forward to seeing you again once your mom inserts your brand new, awesome Titanium teeth young lady. Now go play and have fun.

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