It is a hot Summer’s day. The branches of an old willow tree dance slowly in a light mid-morning breeze, touching here and there on the ground. The grass in the front yard is bleached to a yellowish tint. In the shade it is a darker green. Birds chase each other around, flitting through the tree, teasing and laughing in their chirpy way.
Only a few steps away, a table is set. A big plate of homemade cookies is centre staged. The variety is so familiar, one can almost taste it just by looking at it. There are custard creams, hmmm. . . it will melt in your mouth. Oh, and there are those ever popular spicy “outydse soetkoekies” with just a hint of brandy. Coconut bites, current delights, cinnamon balls, gingers . . .
To the back of the table, the preparations are ready for the variety of drinks that will be served to wash all these cookies down with. Mugs for coffee or tea, glasses for those who like milk or – another favorite – home brewed ginger beer. Inside the house the last of the morning chores are done in a rush so as not to be late.
It’s Christmas-holiday in South Africa and time for morning-tea. At last!
Dad gets served first. He is a big man, so of course he gets two cookies of every kind. Finally everyone is settled, each with a drink and a small plate of yummy. And while Mom’s hard work disappears down several throats, a little quality time is spent with the family.
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Every time I get a whiff of ginger, or see a bottle of ginger beer I remember this. To this day I’m still partial to ginger beer. And Christmas is almost here! So maybe this year I’ll hunt for all those cookie recipes and brew us some beer.
Originally published: 16.09.2010