Sunday, November 4, 2012

09: DeBeers Tennis Club and Baptisms

Unmarked photo, but probably the tennis club (however, these appear to be different people than those in the pictures below).

Elder Smith and I were members of the DeBeers Mines Consolidated Tennis Club. Other members were largely skilled craftsmen who directed native laborers. We would play a set or two of tennis as soon as it was daylight and then jog back to our room, shower, and do the missionary work. We had a primus stove which burned kerosene (called paraffin there) under pressure, for cooking and a small portable kerosene burning heating stove for cold weather. We tracted Kimberley rather thoroughly. My only convert there was Bill Massey, mechanic who worked on our motorcycle. A British Matchless.

Bill was attracted by our Word of Wisdom. He first met us by attending a meeting in the Town Hall addressed by President Dalton and by Elder Smith and me. We also baptized a Rousseau family. When we went to the Alexanders-fontein resort actually in their winter time to baptize them, the water was cold in the deserted swimming pool. Elder Smith, who was only about 5'6" tall, was to baptized Brother Rousseau who was a big rawboned Boer who had never learned to swim. When he had said the prayer, Elder Smith tried unsuccessfully to pull Brother Rousseau backward into the water. He even tried to trip him without success. I got down in and let Elder Smith duck me to show how easy it was and finally Brother Rousseau was baptized properly. Sister Rousseau was baptized by me without incident, and some children.

Herman Smith third from left; Clarence, far right.

While a member of the tennis club I won the men’s singles handicap title and was a semifinalist in the men’s doubles handicap. In the former match which lasted about two hours in hot weather, I as a novice, was entitled to 30 points of each game and 40 points (of only 50) in each sixth game. The other finalist was a man by the name of Marsteller who was a blacksmith in the mines (he had soft hands since the Negroes performed the actual labor). Marsteller had match point against me three times but I was able to outsteady him. He was sending everything to my backhand and my backhand was pretty consistent.

The following photographs are all unmarked, but some of the people are the same as those from the tennis picture, above.
Herman Smith, top right

Clarence, right

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