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Gone are the carefree days

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I remember all of us wanted to sleep in the boot of the car. No matter whether it was Cape Town or Pretoria, it was still a long journey

Picture: Daniel Saaiman

SO WE ARE entering the silly season and Christmas is but a mere 19 days away.

I remember as a child looking forward to this time. Sure we didn’t have three months of summer holidays, but the almost six weeks that we had was sure to be pure bliss.

One thing I can say is that we were never bored. We would either be getting excited about packing up the station wagon and heading for either Cape Town or Pretoria – wherever my gran found herself at the time – round about the 16th of December.

The car trip was no fun I tell you, even though it was a station wagon, I don’t think any car could be big enough for four girls and one boy.

I remember all of us wanted to sleep in the boot of the car. No matter whether it was Cape Town or Pretoria, it was still a long journey.

The only crap was that if my brother got to travel in the boot he would be in there on his own while if it was any of the girls it was two at a time.

Now I need to point out that not only did you have to share the boot with your sister, but a lot of the luggage and the most important cooler bag.

But woe is you if you start scratching around in that cooler bag and opened up one of the containers. Trust me, my mom would smell it right in the front of the car and you would get a tongue lashing of note. Thank goodness you were right in the back so that you couldn’t get the backhand.

Once we had reached our destination there were really no days of boredom. If the holiday destination happened to be Pretoria, we had the cousins to keep us occupied. Boy, we could hardly contain ourselves when we were dropped off there. Not only did they have a swimming pool, but they had this amazing doll house where we could lose ourselves for hours. The imaginations really ran wild and we would play with their dolls and their tea sets – it really was any girl’s dream making the pretend tea and food to eat.

Then there were the times we spent in the swimming pool, burning to a crisp, but that didn’t bother us in the least.

We were young and we were carefree. There was no such thing as bothering with petrol price increases, load shedding and the economy coming out of a recession. All we knew was that we had enough petrol in the car to get us to and from our destination, wherever that took us.

It really is hard sometimes being an adult and having to deal with all this – not knowing how you are going to get through every month.

A recent article stated that middle class citizens – which is probably 90% of you reading this – are broke within five days of receiving their salary. Some people have even joked, “Five days? Ha ha try a couple of hours after the money is paid into my bank account.”

This is our reality now. This is what we have to look forward to on a daily basis. Gone are our carefree days and not having to worry about who gets to lie in the boot.

But, the good thing is we have managed to make it work. Regardless we survive and our celebrations might be muted somewhat, but there is still a lot of happy memories.