I enjoyed the meal served in the residence
on the Isle of the Ancestors,warm hearty food
Travelling by sea gives one an appetite
On finishing ,over coffee I spoke to others
who had travelled the journey on the chinese junk
Some were suffering the after affects of sea sickness
Looking quite green around the gills ( as the saying goes in
Faucon was one …Well if you will live in the wilds of
Tennessee then what can you expect Faucon !
Others travellers were looking for a rest in a unmovable chair I think
We were not staying long I was informed,
so I excused myself, rugged up against the cold and went out into
Never dark on the Isle of the Ancestors I am told
There is a morning and an evening but very little in the way
dark as dark
I liked this idea..more hours in the day to get things done.
I walked on the path that went up the hill toward the barn
I knew that’s where I would find Bert
He would be somewhere in the action of happenings and doings
and he was,welding torch in hand and goggles on.
Sparks flying as he stood at the anvil among items needing repair
Wheels from carts,big double iron gates,fire tongs,iron pot handles
He did not see me ,his goggles with their dark glass made my prescence indistict
I must tell him I have a jar of goggle glass at home he left when he went so suddenly on the 21.12.1976..its in the back shed.
Not the shed he worked in. Dad’s shed…that’s gone since 1992 I put up a new one way down the back of the yard..but all his nuts,bolts nails etc are still with me….bit rusty from the sea air.
I stood awhile just watching him,never one to sit idle (as he called it)always busy …but I did remember when television came he was the
first at night into the lounge to watch the news or any history program from other countries ( He had never left Australia) he liked to educate himself.
He saw me standing there,took off his welding goggles ,cut the flame to to the torch and looked startled as he realised who it was.
“For god’s sake girl” he said “Where have you been ?,I havn’t seen you for ages “…” I’ve been living in Port Dad” in the old house in Crichton Ave … ” Who’s with you ?” he said….
“Just me Dad ,just me” I said….Ok that’s great ,never one to be surprised was Dad..always took everything in life as it came ..only time he ever got worked up was when my Brother was in strife as a teenager..Like making a raft out of 44 gl drums and sailing out on Port Phillip Bay….He got one hell of a hiding for as Dad said
“Giving your Mother grey hairs”…Water police were not too happy either at having to rescue 3 teenage boys as the raft sank, on its way to Williamstown , only the main shipping channel to cross was their only worry
Time for a cuppa was Dad’s motto,so we sat in the old barn ,talked about the state of the country,the state of the world,socialism as a failure ,greed as a way of life and war after war ,history repeating itself and never learning said Dad
Get off politcs Lois I said to myself…..ask him what he has been doing all these years….I got the idea that he really had
no idea he had been here for nearly 30 years …
He was content….A meal, a bed, a job good health and no pollutents in his lungs from the factories and jobs he had worked on way back till retiring in 1967 ..giving him Asbestosis.
He looked well,ruddy complextion ,thick straight grey hair, same
strong chest and muscled arms….
A short man only 5′.4′ very athletic in his time
played football,great swimmer,runner and trainer of runners,boxer in the amateurs..never drove a car until he was 55….always rode a racing bike to his work …often 7 miles around the long way when the punt across the river was out.
We finished our 2nd cup of tea and as was his way….he got up and on with the work at hand ..excusing himself and promising to catch up with me in the residence later that night.
This did not upset me at all…I was used to a Dad who worked shift work all his life…he came and went at all hours.
If he wasn’t at home he would be at a Trade Union Meeting of the Boilermakers Society in at the Trades Hall in Carlton………….
It was the way in those days ,we thought nothing of it..It had to be done ,someone had to do it…. We were proud of our Dad
Mum was never afraid on her own at night…and I have inherited that ..I can live on my own in my home and not worry at all.
We never did catch up again that night,it was just a fleeting time with Bert my Dad, It was time to return
the Ferrywoman and the Chinese Junk was at the jetty and I had to go
One does’nt stay long on the Isle of the Ancestors…Its really just a visit to catch up with, as we are told by she who knows all…
A Dear friend
A person from your family
A sibling perhaps ,a lost child,
Or even someone who made a difference in your life
Someone who as they say :”Has gone to the other side”.
I walked down with the other travellers to the Junk and in no time we had set sail on our way back to continue the weeks that lay ahead in celebrating the Chinese Year of the Dog.
I knew all was well,I felt good .
He was the same Dad
He was the bloke as I had always known
Not perfect,who is?
But a good provider for Mum John and I
And I was to remember my promise to him,he once asked me over his favouite drink, glass of cold beer
that I would look after Mum …
He said ” You know if you look after her, you will have her a lot longer”.
I did and she was with us till she died on 10.7.1991 Age 87
She died in the bed she and Dad shared since they married in 1935
quietly in her sleep…..
My brother and I often say ” We would like to go Jessie’s Way”..
And that ends my visit to meet my Dad -I use an Australian expression
” I caught up with The Old Man” meaning your Father or you Dad…
Not a derogatory saying just a compliment to Fathers.
Lois (Muse of the Sea) 1.2.06