John Wayne, Coronary Care and Africa

In 1962 I went to the Lyric Theatre in Kitchener to see Hatari!*, a film starring John Wayne and directed by Howard Hawks. I was 12, I was alone, and I fell in love with Africa. From then on if anyone asked me if there was any place in the world I wanted to visit, Africa was on my list. But it was on a “someday list”, on the border of fantasy land. The other destinations on the list seemed possible: Europe, Disneyworld, the Rockies. Africa? Not so much.

Flash forward 27 years and I’m lying in coronary care with a heart rate of 240 (no that’s not a typo) and scared witless. It’s amazing how focused you can get on those “someday” fantasies while machines beep around you in a medical ward 70 miles from home that looks like something out of Dickens.

A fortieth birthday, a shared bottle of wine, and my friend and I were contacting travel agents and planning a trip to Kenya and Tanzania.

Twenty-nine years later was it John Wayne’s Africa? The Africa of my dreams? Yes it was. We saw wildebeest, elephants, zebras, cheetahs and lions. Buffalo woke us a night running outside our window and hippos serenaded while we had a picnic. We went to Arusha and I saw the same tribespeople that had featured in the film. It truly was a dream come true. I played golf on Mt. Kenya, watched the sunrise over the Ngorongoro Crater, drank Tusker beer and I brought home a feature film in my mind that (I hope) I will never lose the technology to replay.

Have you had “someday dreams” that came true? Are you doing something now to make that someday happen soon?

*In Swahili, hatari means danger.

4 thoughts on “John Wayne, Coronary Care and Africa

  1. YES! On many levels, I understand. I not only visited my dream but live here full-time. It is all I dreamed and more and getting better every day.

    Join the list of people who did not get to the end and say, I wish I had… 🙂

    • That’s so wonderful, that you are living your dream. Yay for you! It’s a nice list to be on, but there are still a couple of dreams I’m working toward. And that’s a nice place to be, too.

  2. Good for you, Heather, for making your dream reality. What a thrill!!

    I’ve always thought that Ireland seemed like such a beautiful country, but as to whether or not I’ll ever see it for myself only the Universe knows for sure.:)

    • Thanks, Laura! I hope the Universe finds a way to transport you to the Emerald Isle. I had a friend who actually got to live there for several months, and she loved it. She was considered quite a hero while she was there because they had about an inch of snow, and she was the only one who would dare drive in it.

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