Random Conversations

Delicious Conversation – Like a Warm Hug on a Cold Night

Delicious Conversation – Like a Warm Hug on a Cold Night

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Sitting on the deck, looking across the water of the Da Gama Dam, sharing freshly made carrot juice to support his body’s fight with cancer, my dear friend Bobby and I began each day of our final visit.

We originally met when I lived in Johannesburg in the early 80s, having been introduced by a mutual friend. I came back to South Africa after an absence of 18 years because Bobby’s cancer had returned.  He called to tell me the news, and I immediately told him I would be there. Soon, our morning ritual began.

When you know your time together is limited, each moment takes on an urgency. We felt compelled to share every detail of our life experiences, prompting us to question and to know even more. Every new detail, every new experience, added to an ongoing conversation that was absorbed on multiple levels. 

On that deck we also relived our past interactions, bringing a new richness and perspective to them after so many years, filling each other with the love that a deep friendship brings – and laughter. Laughter was with us from our first conversation to our last – lots and lots of laughter.

Our friendship started the minute our eyes connected. Bobby and his wife, Milly, lived in the lowveld area of South Africa near Kruger National Park, about a 4-hour drive from Johannesburg. My now ex-husband and I would make that drive as often as we could.

Bobby was an incredible artist, probably best known for his bronze sculptures – magnificent lions, cheetahs, and antelopes; charming warthogs; and a series illustrating the true story of Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy FitzPatrick.  In many ways, the history of his family is also the history of the community in which he lived. Milly was also an artist, and visits with them were filled with endlessly fascinating stories of their lives as I drank in the beauty of their artwork while sharing a few glasses of wine. My curiosity could never be sated.

When Bobby came to Johannesburg, he would take me to the foundry to watch his pieces being cast and to the gallery to see his work displayed.  He introduced me to the most extraordinary people – the writer Aubrey Elliott and the artist Keith Joubert, among so many others who each added to the richness of my understanding of the area and its people. A delicious lunch before he headed back home was filled with conversation about the day we had just shared – plus more laughter.

During our final visit, I continuously felt that my heart was full. I was showered with joyous unconditional acceptance, which of course I gave back in return.  I was my best self in his presence – and he probably would have said the same of himself.

I define a delicious conversation as one that is intentionally honoring of each person involved, and results in the elevation of the human spirit. I believe that it requires an open heart of each participant and the willingness to hear and express what is there without judgment.

What does that feel like? It feels like a warm hug that envelops you – one that you can emotionally sink into and enjoy. It leaves you wanting more. I still miss my friend, but he is with me as I write. I smile as I meet him again and again on that deck overlooking the dam. We revel in the joy of all we have shared – and we laugh.

Photos by Doug Holder on Adobe Stock (desktop and tablet view) and Anika Mikkelson on Unsplash (mobile view).

Cathy Joseph is the author of the Random Conversations blog and is currently seeking representation for her book, The Art of Having a Delicious Conversation.

© 2021 Cathy Joseph. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “Delicious Conversation – Like a Warm Hug on a Cold Night”

  1. I loved this!!! True friendship is always there. Through good and bad. It’s easy when it’s good, but you made your friendship with Bobby easy even when it was hard and heart wrenching. That’s a gift. The good time and especially the humor you shared made his life richer in every way. Thank you for sharing this lovely story.

  2. Beautifully written. Thank you for taking us on this heart awakening experience of love shared by two beloved friends.

  3. Thank you for sharing so much explicit, beautiful detail about your experiences with Bobby! Even with the sadness of his illness, you captured all of this beauty to share with us. There’s no doubt your heart was open to receive both the beauty of the environment surrounding you both, the richness of the love you shared, as well as the delicious conversations that continue to bring you warm hugs that envelop you. Very nicely done again, Cathy!

    1. Thank you, Mary! Our friendship was built on deep caring, respect, and an unbounded joy in each other’s company. Bobby was a master of delicious conversations.

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