Today I want to write about my father-in-law. His name is Willem.
Many of our Woolcrate customers will attest to the fact that I have learned a lot from him and many of you will recall me saying: “My father-in-law used to say…”
I have learned from him that the Afrikaans saying “Haas jou langsaam” means to think things through and not to act too hastily, in other words ‘make haste slowly’. This has always been a challenge for me because I tend to get totally carried away. My enthusiasm sometimes overshadows my judgement. So, after 28 years of calling him “Pa Willem” and with some degree of maturity, it has become a habit to sleep, pray and think things through carefully before jumping to conclusions or into new ideas, albeit very tempting to do so sometimes.
This 2022 Highveld winter has literally made a mark on Pa Willem’s hands. The hands that toiled for many years for his loved ones and the same hands that painted numerous nature scenes from his beloved Kruger National Park, are suffering severely from winters hands, or the medical term “chilblains”.
Chilblains (CHILL-blayns) are the painful inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin that occur in response to repeated exposure to cold but not freezing air. Also known as pernio, chilblains can cause itching, red patches, swelling and blistering on your hands and feet.
I have never knitted or crocheted gloves. I do not know how to. But I can read a pattern and I can ask advice from others people.
So, this weekend I started to knit fingerless gloves for Pa Willem. Remember, it has to be fingerless because of his constant working and tinkering around their house.
I am happy to announce that I am about halfway through the second glove. But believe me, the adjectives to describe them range from unsightly and unattractive to utterly hideous. The stocking stitch pattern appear uneven, the increases look different from those on YouTube and the colour wool that I initially thought was sensible, now simply looks dull!
Nonetheless, I think he will wear it – the same way young parents display their toddler’s works of art on the fridge door. Because every time he sees them, he will know that I love him, appreciate him and have learnt a lot from him. I am grateful for the son he raised that became my husband, the wonderful Oupa he is to my children and that he calls me “dogter” – not “skoondogter”.