The answer is: you don’t, because you can’t. You cannot do forty years of succeeding at something, by grace and against the odds, justice in an event.
What you can do, is evoke a feeling.
You can use the hotel and its staff to showcase their best. You can take the hospitality normally reserved for guests, and lavish that on family and friends, the faces that inhabit your memories of forty years. You can dress everyone up in white, thereby visually setting the special people you wish to share the occasion with apart, if only for an evening.
Sitting at the table, your table, you can share jokes, stories and memories – but not all of them. You can remember, but not completely. You can say thank you, but never enough. You can take stock, but you will never finish counting the blessings.
And so, having taken the best of forty years and crammed it all into an evening, the time seems to have slowed down and sped by at the same time. And the feeling you’re left with is hard to describe. It’s love, but more. It’s gratitude, but bigger. It’s nostalgia, but something deeper than that. It’s the feeling that it’s all been worth it, and that we’re blessed.
Image credits: The photos above were taken by Elanie Fourie, Callie Fourie, Neel Potgieter, Louis Botha and me. Three cameras floated from hand to hand...