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Oom Koos' Dobermann...

Andre S

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Anecdote about a farmer.

Reading Mrs Muperspan's joke about the farmer reminded me about my late father, Oom Koos.

The story goes back to the early 1980's in the then Northern Transvaal.

Now Oom Koos had a reputation in the local community of being a good farmer but somewhat difficult character, to put it mildly.

Oom Koos had a beautiful crop of boer pumpkins and butternuts. From a distance, the two hundred hectares of white boerpampoene looked like snow on the fields. The market prices were high and Oom Koos was looking forward to start reaping his very lucrative crop within the next two weeks. He estimated a value of half a Million Rands which wasn't too shabby at all.

Then disaster struck. Hail was not uncommon to that particular part of the Waterberg but such an early and devastating storm was a surprise no farmer would have welcomed. The perfectly round chunks of ice were the size of golf balls, killing some chickens and destroying young fruit trees in the process. Fortunately Oom Koos was insured with Sentraoes, just like the TV advert.

The white 4x4 Toyota bakkie with Sentraoes logo pulled up to a large ranch style house and the crackling gravel driveway announced the arrival of visitors from quite a distance. Two soppy Dobermanns leapt out of their tractor tyre to welcome any visitor with much waving of the backside.

Now the insurance assessor was a particularly sly, ingratiating type, wearing very short khaki shorts and obligatory kooperasie sourced khaki shirt. One has to look the part when dealing with farmers. Needless to say this cheeky young upstart was not Oom Koos' cup of tea but he wasn't in a position to pull rank. Oom Koos was from the old school that said you couldn't trust a man who wore shorts to work.

Mr Kortbroek announced that his company was prepared to pay only for the actual damage suffered, that being roughly 10% of each pumpkin, which was the norm under these circumstances. Apparently it was quite a simple process to remove the hail damaged spot and market the other 90% of the pumpkin.

However, if you were Oom Koos you would have known that such an operation is relatively simple in the kitchen, but would require constructing a pumpkin processing and packaging plant within six hours or so after the event. The vegetables started their inevitable process of decomposition in the fields shortly following the aftermath. Besides, farmers tend to supply their pumpkins on a large scale to market in Johannesburg in large bags, not cling film or in refrigerated trucks.

For the first time in a long while, Oom Koos was beaten. He could either accept the cheque for fifty thousand Rands to cover some of his costs or go to court with expensive lawyers and test the case. Oom Koos took the cheque.

Now from where they were lying in their tractor tyre in the large car port, Hansel and Gretel must have heard some raised voices through the closed front door. It has to be said that, as German killer watchdogs, the pair were serious under achievers. Barking from a distance is one thing....

Oom Koos was understandably hostile and uncharacteristically restrained when he showed Kortbroek to his white Toyota 4x4 with the Sentraoes logo on the door. If he could have taken back the coffee and my mother's colonial-Afrikaans soetkoekies that Kortbroek had consumed, he undoubtedly would have.

Judging by the size of Kortbroek's backside and the amount of pulsating red and blue acne spots on his large, hairy inner thighs, he must have consumed many soetkoekies on his business travels to Northern Transvaal farmers. The fact that Sentraoes had given this youngster such a large and expensive 4x4 to swan around in, didn't endear the man towards Oom Koos. After all, Oom Koos had farmed for fourty years of his life and had not once needed the off road capabilities of a 4x4 bakkie. The vehicle was so high off the gravelled driveway, Kortbroek had to stretch and swivel his large flabby backside into the cabin.

It is unclear what exactly goes through an animal's mind at the best of times. Dogs are clearly very unpredictable. Of the two useless Dobermans, Gretel, the female, was the top dog. It is therefore even more unclear why Hansel had chosen this particular moment to explore his Germanic breeding.

It wasn't as much of a bite as a vicious nip of the buttocks. Given the sense of timing it must have taken for Hans to have acted at the very moment Kortbroek swiveled his large soetkoekie fed backside into the bakkie is evidence that this was a preconceived manouvre of devastating accuracy...

Then again, perhaps his timing was off by a milli second, because Hans failed to draw blood but ended up in stead removing a sizeable triangle of khaki polyester-cotton blend cloth from Kortbroek's large kooperasie issue shorts.

The man from Sentraoes was understandably shaken but Oom Koos was visibly shaking with laughter. Never before and never again did Oom Koos' Dobermann rise to the challenge.

One could say the moment made up for the lost four hundred and fifty thousand Rands. One could also say that dogs understand more Afrikaans than we give them credit for...

"vicious: 1 bad tempered; 2 spitefull; violent, severe; 3 of the nature or addicted to vice; faulty or unsound" The Concise Oxford Dictionary

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