Monday, December 1, 2008

Nothing Says "Happy Thanksgiving" like a Sand Storm

After my ironing was completed from the wash the day before, it was nearing lunch time. As we enjoyed our lunch of carbohydrates, we saw a sand storm approaching in the distance coming over the neighboring hills and through the valley. (Kigali is spread over many hills and valleys – Rwanda in general is referred to as the “land of a thousand hills.”) Rob woke a bishop who was cat napping on the porch and told him to come inside and I ran to our bedroom to close our windows as Malu closed the windows in the front of the house. We watched it come closer and turn everything it closed in on a dusty brown. I wanted to grab my camera and take a picture, but it would just have been of brown fog, not a thrilling photo op after all. The wind tussled and blew the tin roofs of our neighbors and howled passed our windows. In a matter of about 15 minutes it was all over. Strange. Why there was a dust storm is beyond me. It’s the raining season here and we had just had a good soaking rain a few hours earlier. The sand storm prompted a family memory of Rob’s that the bishop couldn’t help but overhear and it amused him greatly. When Rob’s parents were newly married they shared a holiday with Fran’s parents. Rob’s dad, Ted, and Fran’s father assumed the role of master grillers. Before the meat was done it began to rain. They decided it would be a good idea to load up the bed of the pickup truck with Ted and the grill as Rob’s grandfather got behind the wheel in search of clearer weather. Ted continued to grill and turn the meat in the back beckoning his father-in-law to slow down, which was understood in the front cab as a plea to “go faster!” It is an infamous Hartley family holiday story; which I myself may not have believed if I had not stumbled across an old family photo of a young Ted Hartley happily perched in the bed of an old blue truck next to a giant grill.

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