“Gunship Calypso" by John Edmond.
A Rhodesian-born folk singer and retired soldier who became popular in the 1970s for his Rhodesian patriotic songs.
He reached the height of his fame during the Rhodesian Bush War.
A song we used to sing on a night when we might be at a base, and able to have a few "Chigoolies". (Beers).
One can only imagine the cake company dealing with Donna. She in her beautiful
swirling robes, Nefertiti nose, dramatic Egyptian make-up and confident
requesting a chocolate cake decorated with military camouflage icing and a Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter she had bought at a Hamley's Toy Store in the
V&A Water Front. "The only toy helicopter gun-ship in all of Cape Town!", she proudly proclaimed.
She had to get a cab from Claremont to the Waterfront, to get the helicopter. Deliver the helicopter to the cake shop, and have the cake shop deliver the cake to Jonkershuis Restaurant in Constantia
Donna wanted a place where she could cast the Black Pearl from her wedding
ring into the ocean. Symbolically returning the pearl to its home. Where
she would one day be.
I thought we might go to the end of the harbour jetty. Where the water is deep, and there is no way that the pearl could ever wash ashore.
When we got there the entire area was fenced off, and instead there was a complex of helicopter sheds.
I pointed out the Huey: "That used to be my Office in the Sky" (When I was in the Army I flew in both Allouette's and Huey's)
I wanted to take some pictures. While I was doing that -Donna was insaide talking to the Operations Manager. SETTING UP THIS!
After this we ended up driving out to Kalk Bay for lunch, and walking out to the red light beacon at the end of the pier, where she herself eventually became Foam on the Sea.
Discovering the Huey
Amogst the gifts Donna had left me was this Silver Box in side of which was a whole seres of unimaginable goodies!
She would have figured I needed two tickets... One to do a recce with, like WE used to do - visit a restaurant for a drink and check it out, before booking a table... Second ticket for ME, to "Do Our Job".
I took this enevelope with me on the first flight, so that I could open it on my return landing. So exciting to see what HAS Donna done next?
Flight II. The operator called me to say thay had space on a flight booked by a group. I took it. It was Friday afternoon. I left work... what the hell.
Just a bloody coincidence again.The Pilot is an old drinking buddy of mine. Francois and Franco. Both ex-Rhodesian military. Keep your eye on the ship's cavity behind Francois. It's Important.
Francois served as Captain in the Rhodesian Air Force 7th Squadron at
about the same time I was serving as Flight Lieutenant In the Army's 3
- 7th...Theres Donna's Seven Again - you'll see.
A group from Saudi Arabia. Their husbands were here on business, so they were doing touristy stuff. They were blown away by being accompanied on their flight by two ex soldiers.
This is the story of how I come to be on this flight? About how my Shiny
Wife did what she loved doing - even while she was punching out...
Surprising me "With Something Beautiful"
This cavity at the rear of the cabin accommodated the Door Gunner. To distribute Donna's ashes, this is where I will be seated on this second trip. Where the others passengers cannot not see me. Perfect.
After my first recce, I came home and did a ritual for Donna with her ashes, and her Little Mermaid. Her ashes have to be in this small tight bottle so that the down-wash from the blades do not rip the bottle out of my hand.
After being blown away with the restaurant staff presenting Donna's wild birthday cake, and singing Happy Birthday