Masculine Conversations

Masculine Conversations

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Home is Where the Heart is

The Botswana Kalahari Desert (image from

Excerpt from The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the first in one of my favorite feel-good series, by Alexander McCall Smith:

"So I left the mines . . . and came back to Botswana in 1960. I cannot tell you how full my heart was when I crossed the border back into Botswana and left South Africa behind me forever. In that place I had felt every day that I might die. Danger and sorrow hung over Johannesburg like a cloud, and I could never be happy there. In Botswana it was different. There were no policemen with dogs; there were no totsis with knives, waiting to rob you; you did not wake up every morning to a wailing siren calling you down into the hot earth. There were not the same great crowds of men, all from some distant place, all sickening for home, all wanting to be somewhere else. I had left a prison - a great, groaning prison, under the sunlight.

When I came home that time, and got off the bus at Mochudi, and saw the kopje and the chief's place and the goats, I just stood and cried. A man came up to me - a man I did not know - and he put his hand on my shoulder and asked me whether I was just back from the mines. I told him that I was, and he just nodded and left his hand there until I had stopped weeping. Then he smiled and walked away. He had seen my wife coming for me, and he did not want to interfere with the home-coming of a husband."

1 comment:

  1. That is a beautiful quote, Ike. And do you know what is the most beautiful part of it to me? It is the shared understanding of the two men, and the related empathy of the second man. That is the stuff of true friendship, that kind of recognition, that kind of knowing. Next week I will return home myself, after long travels; I cherish the anticipation of seeing you again, son.