They were back last Friday. Cousin Jim and his wife returned from a 3 week safari and I went to pick them up after work from outside the Stanley Hotel. Rhonda looked like she had slipped into and been retrieved from a vat of Ribena, a redhead’s tanning nightmare. In the meantime I’d started Imelda on the basics of making cocktails and she was now proficient in Martini’s and Tom Collins’. And they were both much nicer to Imelda, I think their sojourn in the spectacular butlered bushhomes of Laikipia and the Rift Valley had opened their eyes to the talents and homely charms of our Imelda. I hid my envy well when they described their stays at enchanting Lemartis and magical Ngerende. ‘I never knew places like these existed in Africa, I’d give my eye-teeth to live here,’ Rhonda’s exact words.
Our guests took me and George out to dinner on Saturday night. When my cousin asked we told him we’ve decided to cut out the booze and cigarettes totally from our lives. 8 days and 13 hours, cold turkey. Awesome. I said to cousin Jim and Rhonda and I think you guys should really think about it too. I was feeling the glory, oh the glory of the lord so I continued, ‘Especially for you Rhonda, unless you particularly want an underweight baby sporting a thin upper lip’. They both looked confused so I spent the next ten minutes explaining about fetal alcohol syndrome which I’d read about. When I finished speaking I noticed they both hadn’t touched their tumblers of Jack with just a splash of coke.
Then I said we used this website to help us stop the smoking. Because I’ve watched many movies moments like these come easy for me. I said, ‘Rhonda, you don’t want to ruin how you look. I’ve seen many, many beautiful girls who ruined their looks from drink and cigarettes.’ Mostly true but vibes borrowed, as film buffs will attest, from that scene in Casino with Joe Pesci (‘Nicky Santoro’) and Sharon Stone (‘Ginger’).
So I went to see them both off at JKIA last night. Just before they went through security Rhonda pulled me to one side and said, ‘What you told us about the smoking and the drinking, that’s pretty kick-ass Tamaku! Thanks so much and here’s something to remember us by.’ And I looked down to see her holding a little toy frog. ‘Please take care of Kermi until we meet again.’ Tears came to my eyes, I was so touched as I hugged my cousin’s wife and kissed her on the cheek: ‘Thanks Rhonda. You’re welcome anytime to stay when you come back to Kenya. I know you’ll beat the demons. You guys are awesome!’