I always feel a little lost in the afternoons when Jeanette and family go on a holiday – for a few days anyway until I get used to it! My afternoons always involve Bradley and Connor … extra murals, homework, etc
I’m sitting in the study right now with the usual pile of boys toys which includes, still, a selection of ‘baby’ toys. I have already given an Aids childrens home a couple of bags full of toys and clothing (I keep spares just in case the weather changes or for accidents of any nature!) but I still have more. There are no babies in our family in the near future so it’s time to get rid of stuff. I gave Connor’s teacher a pile of books for the class library which was rather depleted (she said last year’s children were rather a destructive and naughty bunch!)
Amongst the toys is this old Fisher Price ‘ding-a-long’ .. we call it that. It belonged to my son, Carl, given to him when he could barely walk .. 37 years ago
It has a history … because it was a much loved toy. The ding-a-long went everywhere Carl went. When he was a toddler, we lived in a cottage on a small holding. The cottage had it’s own large fenced garden and had it’s own entrance from the main road. It had an old farm gate which we hardly ever closed .. there was no need. There were some outbuildings (used by the owner of the property) and beyond the fencing was bush. African bush of long grass scattered with the odd acacia tree.
Carl would often follow our dog around the garden and I would always know where he was by the sound of the ding-a-long. I knew he was safe in the garden, well reasonably anyway. We had had a scare with a poisonous snake (a rinkhals) which slithered unbeknown to me, toward the patio where I was sitting with the two littlies, but spotted by our dog, Rastus. A battle insued between dog and snake, with me grabbing the children, running inside and closing all doors and windows and watching helplessly through the closed windows. Rastus was the victor with the snake slithering away. Rastus was unhurt thankfully but I bathed his eyes with milk, just in case he’d been spat at – I didn’t know what else to do ! Anyway this isn’t about that incident at all .. it’s about the toy !!!!
I remember a day when I couldn’t find dog nor child! In a panic, I searched and called out around the garden, down the long driveway and in the long grass. I eventually heard the ding-a-long in the distance, in the long grass at the back of the property !!! I don’t remember how they could have got there .. there must have been a hole in the fence or they crawled under it – boys will be boys and dogs will be dogs !!
Another incident was even more scary !! I didn’t know my little toddler son had disappeared until I saw a black man walking up the drive way hand in hand with Carl! Ding-a-long in Carl’s other hand playing it’s happy tune as it trundled over stones and sand. Happy face, happy boy! He had gone on an adventure on the big road with trucks and cars !!!! He had gone for a walk on his own … with his favourite toy!! I am so very grateful to that truck driver for stopping his huge truck when he saw toddler and toy, taking him by the hand and bringing him home. An angel. Carl has had angels ever since, watching over him.
Those readers who live here or who know the area will know the road – Beyers Naude Drive in the vicinity of the now informal settlement area !! – that is the main road my toddler son went walking with his ding-a-long. The dog took a break that day, but an angel came to the rescue.
To add to the many tales the ding-a-long could recall, if it could talk, one would be the time I ran over it with my car and it remained perfect!!! Not bent or buckled in any way. Toys are not made like that anymore
What do I do with the ding-a-long .. keep it for yet another generation ?