The wind howled into the Knysna Estuary, giving it an appearance of an irritated sea. We were on the way to the Simola Dog Show 2013 and Nerene Buchan, from the Pet & Pool Warehouse, had just smsed me that they were speeding up the show before the gale blew the tents away. Dee Manning, our volunteer driver, and i hoped that we’d make it in time for the kids to see the wide variety of dogs that were bound to be strutting the lawn.
In the car were 5 kids, aged 6-10, from Judah Square; Vuyo, Benjy, Jehoven, Nicole and Empress. I love is that it’s so easy to make them happy. Just sitting in the car was enough to excite them, make them point in wonder at things passing by, make them giggle and laugh.
We caught the last 20 minutes of the show. The smallest ones were scared of the dogs but that soon gave way to joy. For the most part, in the township of Khayalethu where the kids come from, dogs do not look as healthy or as varied in appearance as these.
Nicky Schwedler offered to paint the kids’ faces so we moved to the foyer of Simola, escaping the wind and the wonderful male volunteers from the crowd who were hanging onto the tent. The foyer is astounding! In the centre, it drops down a floor to where a lounge is roofed by a large chandelier and kept company by a large statue that had young Empress asking, “Is that Mandela.” I informed her that it was the famous golfer, Jack Nicklaus:)
Empress was intrigued by the cat in the golf shop and all the kids were impressed at the super-sized koi (the family from which goldfish come from) in the pond outside. It seemed appropriate, in that moment, that koi are symbols of love and friendship in Japan.
They were amazed by the golf course and, in particular, the swimming pool that perches over the green landscape that stretches to the Indian Ocean. The air was freezing yet i still had to disappoint their begging with, “No, you can’t swim now.”
Little things count! These kids remind us of that. Riding up and down 1 floor in an elevator was fun. Having a pee in beautiful toilets and using fragrant hand-wash was fun. And getting rides in a golf cart in the parking lot was super fun – thanks so much to the Simola employee who took the time to do that for them! He was a star.
The day owes thanks to Nerene (Pet and Pool Warehouse) and Natasha (Simola Estate). And Nerene kindly pushed cash into my hands and said, “Take the kids to lunch.” We did, stopping at Fishbone in Long Street for chips and toasted sandwiches (that was Dee’s good idea). A good day and good people was summed up by the waitress, who i forgot to tip, who bought each of the kids a giant sucker:)
PS: You can see more photos of the dogs on Love Knysna.