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Jo'Burg Days: Try This One For Size

Barbara Durlacher tells a tale of diappointment, and plans for an interminably long holiday.

“1970 has been a very good year, Bob. I’ve just got the figures from the accountant.”

Walking into Richard’s office, Bob handed him a sheaf of papers.

“Think we might consider a trip overseas at Christmas. Would you and the family like to join us? We’re thinking of going to Austria. We’ve heard that the skiing there is fantastic and the hospitality wonderful.”

So, in due course, Trish and Kathleen were off shopping. Bob said the girls could buy whatever they needed for the holiday and outfit the kids as well.

Then, a few days later, when Bob arrived home from work he was carrying a large beautifully- wrapped package with a colourful ribbon bow.

“I’ve bought you a little present my darling. Hope you like it!”

Intrigued, Trish jumped up saying, “What is it? What it is?” and eagerly reached for the box. Tearing off the ribbon and paper, she opened the box. “Oh my God! A Mink!! How absolutely beautiful… Darling, darling, darling – thank you, thank you, thank you … How fantastic! Just wait until Kathleen sees this!” and draping the fur around her shoulders, she dashed to the bedroom to view herself in the mirror.

Next morning, still flushed from the ‘thank-you’ sexual activity the night before, as soon as Bob had left for the office, Trish got on the phone.

“Kathleen, you’ll never gues what Bob bought me yesterday.”

“What is it?” A rather bored Kathleen asked routinely.

“A blonde mink stole,” replied Trish gleefully. “You’ll have to work on Richard now. Get him to give you one as well.”

Some weeks later, after considerable work on Kathleen’s part, Richard phoned her at home one day and said, ”Kath, put on your best dress darling, and meet me downtown. We’re going out to lunch and then I’m taking you to try something on for size.”

Delightedly, Kathleen got ready, fixing her face and hair to make herself look as pretty as possible. “Gosh, I’ve put on weight,” she murmured, “Wish I was as slim as Trish. She always looks so lovely, no matter what she wears. She seems to be able to eat whatever she likes and never put on a ounce, while I only have to look at a glass of water and I’ve put on a pound. But it doesn’t matter, mink looks good on every woman, no matter what size, and it’ll be perfect for the holiday in Austria.”

Lunch over, Richard courteously handed Kathleen into the car and, and they set off. “What do you want me to try for size, darling?” Kathleen queried.

“Wait until we get there,” Richard laughingly replied, “You’ll see!”

They drove down Jules Street, passing the used car lots on the way until, almost at the end of the long street, they drew up outside a sporting goods shop.

“Here we are, darling. Only a few minutes more and then you’ll see the wonderful present I’m buying for you.”

Walking into the shop, Kathleen waited while Richard talked quietly to the assistant. After a quick visit to the back of the shop, the assistant returned carefully balancing a large canoe on his head.

“Here we are darling, try this on for size,” said Richard. “Take off your high heels and hitch up that tight skirt,” motioning the assistant to look the other way, “then put your feet together and kneel down in the middle of the canoe. That’s the professional way to paddle a canoe and the way you’ll be sitting when we go down the Orange River together.”

“But I thought we were going to have a skiing holiday in Austria, with Bob and Trish,” Kathleen shrieked furiously. “And what about the mink stole you were going to buy me?”

“What mink stole?” queried Richard.

“The mink stole you’re buying me for the holiday in Austria, of course!”

“My dear old girl. I’ve never said I would buy you a mink stole. That’s the very last thing I would consider spending my hard-earned money on. We’re going for a wonderful holiday canoeing down the Orange River, just the two of us, camping in the wilds, far away from all this stress and noise. That’s the kind of holiday I’ve been working for all year, not going off gallivanting on some silly, superficial luxury skiing holiday. I want to do something honest and real, where I can relax and enjoy myself, and not have to worry what my business partner and his family are thinking and doing all the time. Got that?”

Crestfallen, Kathleen nodded, and together they got back into the car and prepared for the longest holiday of their lives.

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