Banging heads

The kerfuffle between David Warner and Quentin de Kock in South Africa reminds me of a story when I was just a kid. It’s basically been alleged that de Kock said some pretty unsavoury things about Warner’s wife, to which he reacted. The story I’m about to relate is different to that, but the outcomes where not dissimilar.

When I was growing up mum and dad were regular entertainers, with something on most weekends either at our house, or at one of our friends. There were about 3-4 families who would get together regularly, with others added to it as desired.

For us kids it was great. We knew the families well and were good friends with the kids of them. While the parents cavorted and carried on we did much the same at the end of the house. I was the eldest of us all, but the next two eldest were girls, and both attractive. It’s hard to say how long it went on for in retrospect, but I reckon over the space of about 5-6 years there would have been dozens of get togethers, sometimes formal, but often informal.

In the style of the day they were pretty loose affairs with lots of drinking, a bit of flirting, and a lot of entertaining comment. Looking back I remember the loud voices and the laughter, and on the stereo (or quadraphonic, as we had) Barry White and Neil Diamond were on high rotation. At some point we kids would be tucked away in bed while they partied on, and if it was at another house I still remember being carried to and from the car by my dad, and into the house and bed, full of sleep, but fondly enjoying the feeling of being sheltered in my father’s arms.

Anyway, it was on one of these occasions at our house that we kids heard a sudden, violent uproar. It was a few hours in and suddenly the night seemed to have turned nasty. There were raised voices of men outbidding each other, and the hushed, indistinct tones of the women trying to calm them down. Our ears pricked. We listened, trying to follow the mystery with our ears. A few more voices and the front door slammed shut, after which a low murmur reached us.

It turns out that the husband or boyfriend of one of mum’s new friends – freshly invited to the occasion – had turned to dad and, indicating mum, said “what’s a cunt like you married to a woman like that?”

In other circumstances, or coming from someone different, it might have been considered a joke in poor case. It wasn’t a joke though. My father was a hard man, and clearly this newcomer had not taken to him – I have vague memories of him as being a more bohemian type, counter to my father’s ruthless corporate edge. Not known for his sense of humour, dad reacted, but most of the reaction came from another of his friends who objected to this insult and bailed up the newcomer. Harsh words were exchanged, and there may even have been some minor physical contact.

The women were shocked. Mum, who this guy had obviously taken a shine to (many did), was aghast something so ugly could erupt. From what I was told the wife or girlfriend of the man was terribly embarrassed by her man’s outburst, but was comforted by the other women. In the end they were ushered out and, if I remember right, were never seen at another of our functions again.

There was another, happier occasion, were the men – including my dad – flung their undies on the roof of a friend’s house and raced naked in the inground. The women were disgusted, but as kids we thought it hilarious.

But that’s another story…

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