The Church Fete

My mother is a church-goer, unlike the rest of my family. She has, for the past ten years, tried to get me to come to the annual church fete. I decided this past Saturday to be the dutiful daughter and go. I therefore found myself at the Anglican church early on Saturday morning, ambling through the bric-a-brac that comes with such things. After noticing our childhood tea cups for sale on the second hand goods table outside, we headed into the hall, the smell of bacon tempting us.

The church ladies were bustling about in the kitchen off the church hall creating said frying bacon smell that’d make the mouth of even the most avid vegetarian water. For R25 you could get two eggs, tomato, mushroom, bacon, two slices of toast and a cup of tea. We sat on the outside stoep of the church hall overlooking the garden and cemetery with its higgledy-piggeldy headstones which was, in turn, overlooked by huge trees that had seen many things.

It was peaceful, despite the fact that, below the graveyard, the Saturday morning traffic of Main Road roared past, taxis hooting, people spending money, the traffic lights going through their monotonous red-orange-green motions.

Inside the hall were the tables piled with home-baked cakes, milk tarts, a lady with a gas stove making pancakes and a table laden with books, records and CDs, just as I’d remembered from childhood church fetes (minus the CDs). “Half those books are from our bookshelf,” muttered my father behind us.

Behind the book and CD table was a friendly man who looked at the choice CD I’d picked entitled “I love you so, in the Latin Way”, complete with photo of g-string bikini clad babe in Rio de Janiero on the cover and said, “That’ll be R10.” I guess I should explain at this point that this was the birthday present to top the previous birthday presents I’d got for SJ  – An Illustrated Guide to Line Dancing, one year; Baby Spice: In My Pocket (Unofficial Spice Girls, in My Pocket Series), another, and various other awe-inspiring gifts on the in-between years. This one was a winner.

Terribly pleased with my purchase, I headed out to the pot plant stall which my mother was manning. My mother has always been green-fingered, but I hadn’t realised how very knowledgeable she is on plants! There she was, sun-hatted and dressed in the Mothershuckers Oyster apron I’d bought for her last Christmas, doing a roaring trade.

“I thought it was very suitable for the church fete,” she said, smoothing the apron.

I showed her the CD proudly and expressed my amazement at the good value of everything. My housemate had bought a pile of records for R2 each.

“He was a nice guy,” I said. “The dude selling the CDs.”

She looked down at the g-stringed buttocks of the Brazilian babe on the CD’s cover and laughed. “He’s the parish priest.”

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