Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Seniors Book Launch and a Dulcimer

from w
A seniors writing competition culminated in a program yesterday at the Wool Museum and winners' books were given out. A couple of my contributions were published including a short piece which I will post here. Colin Mockett was the organiser and host - he's a local identity with a talent for singing, drama and writing. Shirley Power played the dulcimer and sang Australian folk songs at the event.

My story 'Midsummer Night' is not exactly cheerful so don't read it if you need a laugh.

Midsummer Night

We join thousands of people at Eastern Park, watching the fireworks during the Scandia Festival. I frown at the cost, thinking of the homeless elsewhere.

'But you've gotta have something exciting for the small children to watch in wonder!' says my partner who enjoys the spectacle. He points out Smorgy's and I notice a straight line of lights. I can see the cars moving above Western Beach and St Helen's Beach.

'Remember that Easter Sunday at dawn there, ' I say. We shared toast and marmalade and sausages on the barbie with a doctor and strangers after we watched the sun rise over Alcoa.

He says, 'There's the wheat silos. I wonder if the Captain Cook is still docking there, waiting for wheat. After the drought…'

'Could be.' Bad luck Pedro the Mate has boils and is in Epworth. We had packed up three boxes for the policeman's widow for Pedro to take to Fiji on the Captain Cook.
'He's probably flown back by now. And the ship would have gone to Melbourne to get wheat there.'

I can't see the You Yangs which by daylight look like floating islands. Like Mali Island in Fiji.

There are numerous lights in the bay, many flashing, yachts at anchor or boats skimming along. I wonder where Geoff's yacht is these days. Olelei I think it was called. He'd shown us over it one day when it anchored near the Yacht Club.

'It's a good place to live, ' I say.

Where else can you have a city beach, city streets, libraries, a university, surf beaches 20 minutes away, and the Otways? We'd been here twenty four years. We often walked down to Eastern beach from the Shenton manse in the early years. The Council has spunked up the place no end with rows of dance-fan palms, truckloads of clean sand.

'Remember 'Uncle' Jack?' I say.

The second day we arrived in Geelong with the boys and a dog Suzie, we had found the beach swimming pool, with seaweed under foot. On the day of Peceli's induction into the parish Jack was staying with us - Jack with his slick black hair, straight moustache, large rings on his fingers, and empty tinnies under the bed. The boys had gone swimming with Jack that day. Though he was fifty-five, Jack insisted on going down the slide, knocked himself unconscious, damaged his back. My eldest son, then 11, rescued him from drowning by putting him on an air mattress and someone called the ambulance. Jack spent months in hospital and eventually died one lonely night on the Princes Highway where he had wandered. They identified him by the rings.

The fireworks have built up to a spectacular finish, and subsided.

'Ashes always follow fireworks,' I say, remembering sad times.

It is quiet now except for bursts of music from the Skandia tent sites and the mulled conversations of people walking about. Soon the beams from cars streaming away from Eastern Park signal it's time to leave.


Blogger Penny said...

Congratulations Wendy, A lovely drawing and an interesting story. I didnt think it particularly sad, just life, I guess as I get older I am more philosophocal(sp!) about things.I have just nearly cut the top off my finger and no one home so sooky me had to deal with it on my own, so the typing is erratic.
I agree with you over Christmas cards, but I have cut them down to people I dont see but like to keep up with and who dont have computers! How do they live! The fires will contnue to be a worry with every hot windy day, a good place but a scary one to live in.

6:58 PM  

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