new this month
weekend, we went...up Mount Dandenong Road, until the
forest closed in
-dark/uniform - and, then...opened-out again, briefly,
in to the right....
we turned in to Kirkbrae
You could tell it was
aretirement village - well before such things became commonplace.
Because, there were no young people there - or even any
middle-aged. Just the sweet/sour smell of old ladies -
and a few gentlemen...not that the war had left many to
the peace that this place promised.
And, you could tell
it was Presbyterian/Scots. Because the old ladies were
upright - bearing their burdens internally and, with no
shameful show... Nothing disturbed the peace of this place,
as their elders died - not unmourned - but the remainder,
nonetheless, refused to break down...under the weight
of deaths unending, in a place that they must (still)
now, call home...
My paternal grandmother
was one such, her beloved husband gassed & buried-alive
in the trenches...and, never, in full health ever since.
But he worked - of course - until, he died of the after-effects,
with nary an acknowledgement by officialdom that his death
had any relation to this service.
and, this was before my father was full-grown...and,
so, I never met the man
Mary Mabel was a marvellous
old lady, when I met her...and, I still remember her with
surpassing fondness to this day. She was conservative
- in the right way - but broadminded also...and she never
confused love with (foolish) indulgence, which lesson
I think I’ve managed to learn, finally...albeit
somewhat late in life.
We played draughts,
and ate strange biscuits never seen at home - sliced in
two, and smothered w/cream & jam. And, amidst such
beloved memories...I never remember her telling me off.
Nor do I remember my (bullying) elder sister ever being
present - despite the fact that she undoubtedly was. And,
this - perhaps - this is one reason why I remember Mary
Mabel in such a glowing light.
accused of being unfair, are vulnerable to such games,
especially when played by an elder sibling in full command
of accusatory rhetoric. But my grandmother was not. She
saw, exactly, what my parents could not...that these accusations
were invariably unfair to the honest - and never let my
sister get away with them, in her particular territory.
But, I’d hate
to think that my love for my grandmother was purely predicated
on such. And so, I prefer to remember her just the way
I once did...as loving me for what I was - a genuinely
nice kid, with no real flaws...and, one who could safely
sleep like a log, as he had no real sins to weep over...
but, I did meet his widow
this picture would not last-out puberty, sadly
was no fault of Mary Mabel’s...nor my own
throughout all the failures of my later lives - and,
amidst all their futile
- I look back, fondly, upon my grandmother’s
and...I, still, remain proud