my st francis

The house is in a total state of anticipation.

Me ……….. well just to see if Frans has remembered.

Rosie ………. What outfit to wear, or rather which OUTFITS to wear on two separate occasions.

Jamie ……….. well we will get to this one later.


Now,  the history of vallies day.  Legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during third century Rome.  There was an Emperor at the time by the name of Claudius II.  Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those that were married and he outlawed marriage for young men with the hopes of building a stronger military base.  Valentine thought “bugger this” and chose to marry young couple secretly.  Emperor Clauduis II then thought “bugger him” and priest Valentine was fed to the lions or something.

Another legend has it that Valentine was an imprisoned man who fell in love with his jailors daughter.  The jailor thought “bugger this” and had the oke put to death.  Before he expired he sent the first “valentine”  himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it “your Valentine”, the same cards are still on cards today.

Throw old Cupid and his arrows into the whole equation and the whole of the 14th of February, worldwide, becomes a day of fun celebration of love.  Not for the priest or the jailed oke though!

Now, back to the present.  The schools take on the whole Valentines concept and the first thing they do is have a Civvies day.  This is when children ditch their school uniform and wear their own clothes for the day.  At Rosies school we receive a notice saying the kids must wear red and white, now to be quite honest I don’t really see the point because their uniform is red and white to start with.

In order to wear Civvies each kid must pay R5 bucks for the privilege.  I don’t know why teachers put themselves through this torture to start with, because, we have worked out over the years that the minute you take your kid OUT of school uniform AND send them to school that all the kids brains hook out.  No work gets done and chaos rules.

At Rosies school you can buy little ribbon thingies called “strikkies” .  These ribbons come in blue, yellow and red.  Blue = YOU ARE A STAR,  Yellow = YOU ARE A GREAT FRIEND and Red ……….. you got it = LOVE.  As a fundraiser you get to buy these ribbons at 2 bucks a pip and dish them out.

“So Rosie do you need money to buy some?”

“Nope I have bought 20 with my own money”

“So did you buy tons of blue ones?”

“Nope ………… 20 Red”

I shut up.

So off Rosie goes to school this morning with a top and jeans on but pinned to her jeans are a million pink hearts, she is armed with a smile and 20 RED strikkies.

Then to add to all this chaos of Civvies Day at school, both Rosie and Jamies schools are having Valentine dances tonight.

Rosies dance is a highly supervised school dance.

Jamie’s dance on the other hand is a BIG DEAL!  The girls dress up and the boys wear proper clothes and a tie.  The best girls have been booked as dates since last year, and the planning of the outfits have been months in the organizing.

“Have you got something to wear for the dance Jamie?”

“Yip!”  …….. pulling a few hens teeth here.

Now I know what is in Jamies cupboard, it is boardshorts, t-shirts and cycling kit ……. Well ………… mostly cycling kit.

“So what are you going to wear?”

“I have a tie ……..”

I leave it at this.

Two days before the dance we get some really bad news ……… he has been told by the girl he is inviting that his tie is the wrong colour.

I seize the moment, yip, you know the one where I can actually buy something to put in Jamies cupboard that is not boardshorts or cycling kit …………. Even if it is only going to be worn for one night.

So off we treck to Humansdorp to find the perfect clobber.  We walk into Markhams and there is a hoard of harassed looking Moms with their sons – all looking for the ultimate outfit – we are all in the same boat.

Then we hear the bad news ……….. Markhams has run out of red ties, and we have run out of shopping time.

And then I see it ………. One red tie, the last one left in Humansdorp.  One red tie and about 400 harrassed Moms who would love to lay their hands on it.  Only one problem ………. It is on the display mannequin in the middle of the shop.

I slowly …… very, very slowly start doing a Michael Jackson Moonwalk type movement towards the middle of the shop.  I don’t want anyone to see I am moving.

Jamie looks at me as if I have lost every marble in my head.


Shhhhhhhhhhh ………….

By now everyone is looking at me and a couple of the shop savvy Moms eyes follow my direction of movement.  Some of them see IT.

I dive at the mannequin, give it a good tackle and wrench the tie off its unsuspecting neck.


Jamie is speechless.

I am so proud.

I strut to the checkout with my prize in my hand, I have the last red tie in Humansdorp – R 75.00.

The rest of the shopping was quick and painless, Jamie wanted out of the shops – read away from me – as quickly as possible.  Trousers and a shirt were purchased, for once Jamie has a set of real clothes.

Well today is the day.  Two dances, Rosie is going with a.  we think a group of friends or, b. 20 recipients of Red Strikkies, and Jamie is going taking his carefully selected date.

“So Jamie, do we get to meet your date?”


We are shattered ………..”Why?”

He looks us straight in the eyes and says “Because you randomly embarrass me …….”

Who us?  NEVER!!!


2 thoughts on “THE RED TIE

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