I met her at a bus station in Turkey. She invited me to sit by her and struck up a conversation. Surveying my western appearance, she ask me in three words or less if I spoke German or English. I answered in one word. The next two word sentence was “London or America?” So far we understand each other perfectly. Then she told me she spoke “little English.” I replied, “No Turkey.” Well, that didn’t sound too intelligent, and as far as understanding goes, things went down hill from there. Eventually, by singing Happy Birthday to you and counting on her fingers she told me she was 75 years old. When I told her my age she threw up her hand, laughed and said, “too young.” I have no idea what she meant by that.
The other English words she knew were George Bush, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra. She wondered if I knew them. By this time I had resorted to the “smile and nod” routine.
Our final conversation drew in two bystanders who interpreted, and said she was telling me that there is a Turk playing on an American NBA team. How she got from Frank Sinatra to the NBA was lost in the translation.
By the time her bus arrived we had exchanged names, much laughter and a fond farewell to a moment in time that the two of us will never have again. I’m glad we made the most of it.
Don’t you just love the look on my husband’s face? This wonderful Afrikaans lady became a much cherished friend of ours as we spent several days in her home in South Africa. Here she is wishing Dick a long and prosperous life as we celebrate his birthday with her family.
She herself was 95 years old and had much to share in her aged and wise heart. Dick eagerly responds to her kind words in another moment in time that turned into a beautiful and lasting encounter.