When Tom suggested we return to Jabula for dinner last night, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, although we’d been there on Friday night with friends. It would be just the two of us, and we always enjoy hanging out at the bar. Since returning to South Africa in January 2021, we find we could be described as “barflies” when we enjoy hanging out with the locals at the famous establishment.
It’s not that we drink so much. We don’t. But the banter at the bar is always engaging and lively. We often say it’s like the bar in the Cheers TV series, which aired for 11 seasons between 1982 and 1993 and was a huge hit. I didn’t watch much TV in those days, although I managed to see it a few times and found it to be quite entertaining.
We always arrive right at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, when they open again after a mid-afternoon break. We grab our two favorite seats at the bar, order our drinks, and in only minutes, the fun begins as locals join us, many whom we know and others we’ll come to know over time.
We’ll never forget these fun times, unlike any others we’ve had anywhere in the world. Years ago, in the early 1990s when Tom and I first met, we’d often meet at a bar, Old Chicago in Minnetonka, Minnesota, on Friday nights when Tom got off work early.
My sister Susan, who lived with me at the time, and she and I would head over to Old Chicago around 5:00 pm to get a good seat at the bar and play the game “Net Trivia” on a big TV screen. We played hard and fast with a device in our hands while sipping on wine and eating buffalo chicken wings.
As mentioned in earlier posts, when we were stuck in lockdown in the hotel in India for ten months, my dear Susan passed away in August 2020 from a combination of comorbidities and possibly Covid-19. I never knew for sure if Tom would show.
Newly in love, I was on pins and needles waiting for him to appear but managed to stay engaged in the game nonetheless. Susan and I had lots of fun as we always did, laughing all the while.
We never knew for sure if she died from Covid-19, but Julie, my younger sister, who’d been with her for days when she passed, ended up with a severe case of Covid-19, three days later. It was a difficult time and still brings tears to my eyes. I will always miss her and felt so helpless at the time, unable to do anything to help. We live in sorrowful times.
Our goal is to think happy thoughts and be optimistic for the future. Hanging out with friends at Jabula is highly instrumental in achieving this goal.
Last night was no exception. We hung out with Leon, Lyn, and David at first. (Dawn was in Cape Town with her family celebrating her 70th birthday). Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around to see dear friends Janet and Steve, who we hadn’t seen since our stay in Marloth Park in 2018/2019. We all squealed with delight to see one another.
We knew they were returning to Marloth Park, at long last, after a hiatus due to the pandemic. We knew we’d hear from them soon. They’d just arrived the previous day and decided to head out to dinner at Jabula for a good meal and also to enjoy time at the fun establishment.
We chatted on endlessly, enjoying every moment. Our mutual friends Lynne and Mick will also be here soon when they wrap up their unforgettable birding cruise at the southern tip of Africa. It will be significant to all be together again soon with many amazing stories to share.
We feel fortunate to have such wonderful friends here and be a part of this fantastic life in the bush.
Be well. Be happy.
Photo from one year ago today, January 30, 2021: