Like all couples, Steven and I have every day ordinary conversations about the goings-on in life. About the kids, their school, our hobbies, news and politics, maybe even plans for the holidays. You know, almost like we are a normal couple living in a normal suburb somewhere in South Africa.
But we are not a normal couple. And we definitely do not live in a normal suburb. We live in Kruger and that adds some interesting topics to our list of conversations.
Like asking Steven if he has had a shower after sampeling a dead hippo. Or devising a plan to get the vervet monkeys to move to the neighbors yard and speculating what predator the vervets are shouting at.
Like both of us rushing outside because Alex yells he has seen a ‘slang’. And me yelling “I have the snake tongs you grab a bucket!”. The snake turned out to be a ‘slak’- A slug. Not a snake, Alex, but thanks that was a fun exercise in how to get both parents out of the house in a fraction of a second.
Then we have the special times when Steven shares his experiences of the previous trails week. Which is always nice for me because I have not been on trail with him for such a long time.
Yesterdays events and the following conversation has been the craziest one we have had in a while though. It all started when I was packing some clothes away in our bedroom and Steven came in. The section ranger had just phoned him and asked him to assist with a leopard that had been seen inside Berg en Dal restcamp.
A big cat in one of the restcamps is serious business and needs urgent attention so while Steven was jumping into his uniform, he quickly filled me in. We have been through a big cat in camp before (read my blog A lion on the highway and Lions In Lower Sabie), so I only needed half a word.
While Steven was getting his belongings together, I quickly put new batteries in his headlamp, got his spotlights ready, took out two bottles of cold water from the fridge and explained to the boys that papa had to go take care of a leopard.
Then Steven walked into the kitchen. His webbing on, his rifle for just in case and he was also carrying his big heavy winter jacket and his gloves. It had been a nice, warm summers day. And the nights really do not get cold anymore now in the middle of December so I asked Steven why on earth he was bringing his winter jacket.
“Because I might just need it my love.” He answered me. “But it isn’t that cold today my lovie?” I said. While Steven was fastening his fellies he gave me a meaningful look. Aaaahhhh. Light bulb moment. “You don’t need your winter jacket because of the cold. You need it, because if you get mauled by a leopard it doesn’t hurt as much if you are wearing a big jacket….”
Steven got up and kissed me. “I’ll be ok my love.” He said. “Besides. That is my favorite jacket.”
Steven left as it started to get dark outside. In the door opening I watched him as he closed our newly fixed front gate behind him.
Well, that is a conversation I never thought I would have! I said to myself. I just hoped that Steven and his jacket would come home in one piece. Being a rangers wife is not for sissies.