Creatures of habit


When my grandmother died at the age of 92 the family re-united at the church in Wakkerstroom after an absence of over 35 years. It was something of a homecoming for all of us, because this was where our family had been christened, married and buried for 150 years. We were part of the place.


I had gone through Grandma’s phone book after she died to see who should be invited to the funeral. As is often the case with very old people, I had to find that there were very few people left to invite. Most of her family and friends had long since passed away. It would be a small funeral.


I was told that in olden times families had customary seats where they always sat and that it was unthinkable that any other person should dare to sit there. “Did our family also have a designated spot?” I asked my great aunt. She smiled when she replied, “Yes, we always sat right there.” I followed her gaze to the second bench from the front. “And the Kolbes always sat there,” she added. I looked and saw that it was the bench right next to the Labuschagne bench.


When the family came in I carefully watched them. Even after 35 years or more, they all went straight to their age old places. The Labuschagnes to the middle bench and the Kolbes to theirs. I had to smile. There were so many memories. I always had the same place at the dining room table – and when I visit my parents I still assume the same seat automatically. In school I still look at the playground and look for the bent pine tree which was always “my” spot.


We are homing pigeons, we humans. Creatures of habit to the last.