As I’ve said in a previous blog, Mum and Dad had 5 of us… 3 girls and 2 boys – in that order. Very few photo memories once the boys arrived. I’m thinking perhaps the camera was broken sometime before Gerard’s arrival. Maybe Anne took it apart to see how it worked, she was like that…..
The wooden spoon….
Mum had many talents but one I remember well was her ability to repurpose a wooden spoon. They were weapons-of-not-so-mass-destruction on our bottoms! I used to high tail it (‘scuse the pun) to the swings when I knew I was in trouble and Mum’s skills on a moving target usually resulted in the wooden spoon being broken – on the swing, not the bottom. I can’t remember Dad ever smacking us and since Mum’s shot was usually off she didn’t often either. Dad may have given my brothers a good clip under the ear on occasion, deservedly for sure!
Mum wearing the pearls Dad gave her on their wedding day. The Foster Kid at the back. Helen in front of him, me then Anne. Dad built the swing and I still have it!
The infamous swing… on a good day! All dressed up in our Sound of Music dresses and a foster kid at the back. He was responsible for Anne’s broken arm. I remember when it happened.. he pushed her off the top of the couch – but I reckon he was just giving back some of what he got, Anne has her peaceful side but she won’t suffer fools!
Back to earth…..
It’s been 33 years since I last worked a harvest and as luck would have it I’m back in the tractor seat this year. 33 years ago was the very last harvest that my father was to see, we pulled out of the last paddock on 2 January 1981 and I started work for Qantas Airways on 5 January 1981 and there I stayed for 28 years and 13 days! Dad was killed in a car accident 8 months later and my life, though turned upside down at the time of his death, never allowed me to get back on the farm in any great capacity. In any case, Mum sold it 10 years later.
I’ve felt very overwhelmed by the opportunity I’ve been given this year, that it’s prompted me to share some of these stories. So here is my blog….(dreadful word by the way!)
I’ve been invited to drive the chaser bin for friends who live near Lockhart, a small town 60km west of Wagga Wagga. The only similarities this harvest has to 33 years ago, is the paddock changing rigmarole and the dust – it might not be exactly the same dust but it looks like the same dust – and it’s red!
Top: The tractor and chaser bin…. my office for the 2013 harvest at Lockhart, NSW.
Below: My view. Just one of many that take my breath away and take me “home”. This farm is about 100km west of where I grew up.
Mum and Dad had 5 of us, in a particular order. I’m the second of 3 girls and then a couple of smelly boys who I adore. Aside from the odd occasion when I was tempted to kill my younger sister, our upbringing was a peaceful one. Dad sometimes said we were “drug up” but I beg to differ. I loved my childhood! My older sister, Anne, was and still is the quiet achiever.
I remember thinking the boys were fun to play with when they were little, then they turned into smelly, noisy, irritating, yukky boys and it stayed that way until I left home. Anthony (the baby) did and still does have a loud presence! I never stopped loving them though! Our reunions as adults are always filled with thunderous laughter, quick wits and childish irritations! At funerals we tend to save this behaviour for the wake to be respectful but our humour lurks close to the surface and it’s not long and we’ve found a safe laughing space. Most lives should be celebrated with laughter anyway. We’ve become far too accustomed to funerals. The cycle of life I guess. Thanks for having us Mum and Dad!