Saturday, July 17, 2004

Hazelblackberry: Tally ho!

Dear Nick,
 
Quite recently I learnt something rather fascinating to me.  After the war my grandfather, the Fuehrer, planned to take the whole family off to some other country.  Zimbabwe (Rhodesia then, of course) was top of the pops, but he also considered Nauru and Papua New Guinea (Lord, what vision!).  The Zimbabwean option really captured my interest.  The Fuehrer was fond of a safari suit.  I could just see him, thusly attired, striding through a lush farm field, pith helmet firmly in place, checking on the crop's progress, administering the occasional thrashing and tending to his neat moustache, which Ern always insisted hid a map tattooed on his upper lip; guide to a secret treasure trove in Borneo.
 
But Don Mary talked him out of it.  Let's be frank about this: Don Mary probably shrieked him out of it.  Not that I want you to think theirs was a loveless union filled with rancour and hostility.  Don Mary is a woman of forceful and forthright opinion, but she and the Fuehrer were married for fifty-five years and they had time to get used to each other.  In his later years - ie, when he was getting old - the Fuehrer was known to morosely remark that Don Mary showed the cat more love than him.  And while it may be true that she would add a little hot water to the feline's milk dish on a chilly winter's morning, she could also be relied upon to subtly slip the Fuehrer a prune or two with his brekkie when he found himself in some difficulty.  She ministered to him, is what I'm saying.  And unlike the moggy, the Fuehrer never nipped Don Mary on the thigh if dinner was not procured quickly enough.  Not that I know of....And now that I give it some thought, this is a line of inquiry best left here and never mentioned again.
 
When Bloody Ern told me about the Fuehrer's plans he looked rather wistful.  I could see he had been captivated by visions of another, unknown life.  But what other life would he have wanted to replace his sunburnt childhood, running away every weekend to camp and fish in the mangroves and on the tidal flats with his best mate, Cossack Jack?  Maybe he was just thinking of all that free baccy.
 
And perhaps that, and not the maligned Don Mary, is what put the kibosh on the Fuehrer's dreams.  He had a big family habit to support and before he'd even reached the promised land he could see the profits going the way of a Cheech and Chong film.
 
Grumpy says it doesn't matter.  With the way the world turns, we would have found ourselves back here in WA anyway.  On the lam.  But I don't know.  I can see Ern stalking his enemy through rich green tobacco plantations, armed to the back teeth, clad in his best warfare sarong.  "Surrender, Baby Girl?  Not on your life!"  Well.  Quite.  The only part of the picture I can't figure out is what kind of smoke would be dangling from his sun-cracked lips: would it be his beloved Camel Plain, or would he have honoured the family livelihood and been strictly and literally a Roll Your Own man?
 
It's a mystery for the ages.
 
Until next time, Nick.
 
 hb






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