May 18th

Tuesday May 18th, 1971
Limuru, Kenya
This morning I cut the table cloths for Kambaa and traced a design in the middle for each of them.  M.G. helped me by figuring out that if I traced over a piece of plastic it would not wear out the pattern so quickly.  At 10 o’clock we went out to the Assembly and had coffee with Tom and Sam.  I took some cookies that Robert had made.  Today M.G. used a big roller on the yard and left it sitting.  When the boys came in they decided to try and use it and it got away from them and rolled down the hill into the forest.  It was very dangerous for them to be bothering for they could have hurt themselves or someone could have been hurt.  We got a letter from Mom today.

Every family has its little idiosyncrasies.  Dad “helping” Mom with the tablecloth project is a perfect example of one of ours.  My Dad is one of the smartest men I know and ever since I can remember he has always been about finding a better way to do things.  Sometimes, as you can imagine, this has run contrary to the other person’s traditions, methods, or mannerisms.  From time to time sparks would fly, tears would fall, and anger would rear its ugly head when Dad “gently” suggested an improvement over the tried and true way to do things.  I cannot say much about this practice because I too am guilty of “overstepping” my bounds on occasion.

I have said before that Mom had taught Robert to cook many of her recipes this entry reminds me of yet another “Robert-ism”.  English was Roberts’s second language and sometimes we Americans have forgotten that our native tongue is strange to others.  Two of Mom’s favorite recipes were “Snicker doodles” and “Cowboy Coffee Cake”.  She left a note for Robert to make both items one day and came back to discover his reply in a note of his own.  Robert said, “Memsab, I have made the “snake-dollies” and “Cowboy’s Cake” as you requested.”  From that day forward Alan and I cannot see the word “snicker doodle” without thinking of Robert Ali!

The day the roller got away will live in my memory for many years to come.  Alan and I got the bright idea to roll a racetrack out in our yard with said roller.  We toiled for what seemed like hours (read moments) and then decided that things were flat enough.  We sought to rest the roller against a large tree that stood in our yard but missed in our aim and off the roller went down the hill.  Alan immediately let go but neglected to tell me to do the same.  I am being drug at a fast rate of speed directly toward our barb wire fence.  At the last moment I released the handle and let the roller go.  If I close my eyes I can still hear and see that infernal machine as it bounced and crashed its way to the woods below.  God protects fools we learned afresh and anew that day.  Thankfully, everyone escaped injury and lived to laugh about that story today!

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