“What a journey this year has been!” Servaas sits down with a sigh. “Love, relationships, politics, murder – you name it and it’s happened. And people talked about it, too.”
“Ja,” Gertruida says because she knows everything, “and it was interesting to see Oscar Pistorius topped the list of the most-read topics. The tragedy of fame was, in the end, the winner. That discussion beat Obama’s speech on telling our president he’s no longer a favoured friend by more than 2000 reads.”
“Those were serious topics, that’s for sure. But I found it strange that The Fable of the Lion and the Porcupine was so popular. I mean, it’s only a fairytale, isn’t it? But then the series of the psychological rape of Katie Malone also caught the fancy of many readers.” Oudoom sits back, happy that his Mandela sermon was so well received. “The other series also entertained a lot of people. The Bullet, The Wake, and Bianca’s story kept people coming back to read the rest.”
“Oh, yes! I remember Gertruida’s Journey, Operation Roar (PG 13), and Cathy’s Eyes, to name only a few. But I liked The Thing about Love the best, if I have to add my two cent’s worth.” Fanny, ever the romantic, hugs Vetfaan before continuing: ” You liked the story of the Midman, didn’t you, Fanie?”
“The list goes on and on, guys. But…now there’s enough material for a book. I hear the Afrikaans version is due for publication in 2014. It’ll be interesting to see what people make of it.”
“Gertruida, isn’t there a Christmas story we can leave the readers with? Something nice?”
“Well, there’s the story of the Christmas Cow, isn’t there? I love that story”
And so we come to the end of another year. The little town of Rolbos will celebrate Christmas by remembering the blessings of the past and with the steadfast hope that 2014 will be even better. They’ll attend Oudoom’s Christmas service solemnly before retiring to Boggel’s Place to reflect, to chat, and to hatch some strange and silly plans for the new year.
As the scribe who pens down the antics of the townsfolk, I seldom address my readers directly – but this is an exception: May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are in the 140 countries that visited this blog during 2013. My hope (more than that: my prayer) is that your journey with Rolbos contributed to a few smiles. I’d like to believe that the spirit of Rolbos is alive and well, and that people from all over the globe will embrace the message of love, forgiveness and kindness.
And no, in Rolbos we don’t say Happy Holidays or something stupid like that. Here we still hug each other before standing back, looking each other in the eye, and – blinking away a honest tear – telling our loved ones: Merry Christmas! May we never forget what this day means and may you all appreciate – all over again – the most precious gift of all: Love.