This month marks 40 years for my parents as hoteliers at the Transkaroo. The plan was originally to stay for 5 years, but now, many moons later, they are still there. To celebrate this occasions my parents decided to have a party for as many as possible of their family and friends that supported them through the years, built into their lives and were there with them through all the ups and downs over four decades.
The hotel was a beehive of activity for the couple of days before the big night. Ingrid, always smiling, has been at the hotel for 23 years. The day before the party she picked flowers from the garden to put in all our rooms. Kaatjie, the chef, with 21 years of service under her belt, with her kitchen team, crusted the lamb with herbs. They marinated the pork bellies and stuffed the fillet with pecan nuts. They made seafood salads and biltong cheesecakes. They made tiramisu, Pavlovas and panacottas.
Outside my husband was hanging the lanterns, my brother was setting up the sound system and my sister was laying the tables. My sister-in-law hanged the bunting and my aunt helped with the flowers. Friends rolled up their sleeves to help with the canapés and the spectacular looking salads. So finally, for me, this will be the lasting memory of the days before: how the staff, working long hours, always had smiles on their faces and pride in putting what is now a well-oiled forty year old professional machine to use in service of a party for their own, not hotel guests. And I will always appreciate the way in which the friends and family, who were after all guests to the party, made a hundred little large and small contributions towards making it work – letting the love that’s lasted for forty years come out from their hearts into their fingertips while helping.