Readings and quote from poetry reading on Happy FM 27th July 2021

(I didn’t get to all of these on the day

Road Train Dust. Written by Glen Parsons, 26th May 2021

The road is long ,

the road is tough,

the old bloody Utes body,

Looking pretty rough

twisting and turning

The Utes tray

With Old fence droppers lay in the back

Covered up by and old hessian sack

as it hit the corrugation,

I end up with rattling bones,

Singing Willies song

on that bloody road

The roadtrain in my mirror,

The road full of dust

As I pull over

to be covered in a trail of dust

Cattle crying out

It’s the market we go

From that roadtrain Dust

On that dusty road

Sibling Diversity

Four siblings considered

Same gender

Similar but oh so different.

Another four, as well

All the same gender

Similar but again so different.

The first group older women,

The second group men in their prime.

How does this inform us?

Genetic difference in both

Sisters and brothers share traits

Experience varies more.

No answers here, of course

Nature versus nurture never resolved

Questions always remain.

“Oh, I know the type”

Some people will say it

Many more think this.

But we never really know “the type”

Know our assumptions we do,

Conclusions reached without knowledge.

Commonalities are widespread

Similarities in our face,

Underneath all different.

Blithely many proceed

With their assumptions and bias

Not the individual considering.

No one of this is totally free

We all nurture prejudice in our core,

Awareness of this the biggest step.

Listening to others the path ahead,

How do they feel about what they say?

What have I learned about them?

Conclusions reached in haste

Always have flaws

Rarely hit the mark.

But even time does not suffice

Curiosity needs to remain

What more can I understand?

Brian Matthews, 11/7/21

Distance

From little ones we get so much

Their squeals, their joy,

That dreadful cough.

Noses seem to drip

A constant stream

Delaying yet another trip.

But do we isolate and avoid

These tiny germ breeders

No, the smiles and laughs are deployed.

Some can spurn this temptation

As with slobbering dogs

‘Nothing will invade my nation!’

But I truly fail to see

How such behaviour

Could apply to me.

The magnetic pull of a little one

Leads my best plans

To come undone.

Their joy in living in the now

Destroys my resolve

Changing this I can’t see how.

Reminding self to protect

A hopeless gesture

Which I invariably reject.

In unusual times we do face

Distance and disinfection

Our own health embrace.

Where we draw a line to choose

The contact we will have

And that we’ll lose.

Brian Matthews, 7/7/21

Cold Weather

The cold air crisp

The heater going

Dealing with the colder weather

Not much resilience I’m showing.

In my youth coldness seemed

A brief interruption

No real impediment

To that which I dreamed.

Now it sinks into my frame

Sidelining my motivation

Delaying that I wish to do

Seeking only the flame.

Vary we all do

In ways that we react

To hot and cold both

How we see the weather through.

But age adds another layer

As we move through life

Doing this and that

Less likely the robust swagger.

Brian Matthews 7/7/21

Memories

The Year Book’s out,

I’m with a friend.

This person, and that,

This memory and not that.

How it tugs at you,

The memories you have,

Or not at all,

It seems so strange.

Some things will stick,

A face and name,

And others it seems,

You’ve not met at all.

Thus it is with memory,

As with much of life,

We’ve not truly experienced it,

Without sharing something.

But memories which are shared,

Are so often somewhat different.

Objective reality seems a fantasy,

As does objective truth.

Brian Matthews 11/3/19

To My Once Wife

My calendar reminds me

That many years ago

My Once Wife drew first breath

And first faced the day.

Almost 50 years hence

We were wed

13 at the small event

Surely an omen

Of things yet to come

But four boys came forth

And almost 25 long years

Mixed with blessings and tears

Followed by times harsh

That distanced us both

But after some years

Reconnection did grow

Through issues shared

Family crises for one

Family events another

Until Now Wife can say

On a recent Christmas day

Let‘s have a photo

Of Brian and his two Wives

And all laugh

And photo shared.

It doesn’t always this way go

And some find it strange

But I am very happy

I can now share with her

On each special day

Brian Matthews, 1/8/2020

For Mum

My tears will be spent

But not the hole in the heart rent

Remember you we will

When the sun rises and birds sing

Your spirit lives on

Though your body failed

In every smile you shared

You will live on…

One of a kind

Such a presence

So full of life

That smile and laugh

Never to be seen again.

Memories flood my mind

Of childhood wrangles

And family occasions

Weddings of his daughters.

Living so far away

But always present for me

The long, long phone calls

And photos of his darlings.

Such tall tales he told

And most were true

The things he said

And what he did.

Such a quick ending

Gone in a flash

Like his father before him

A male family tradition.

He will be missed

He will be mourned

But he left his mark

Shared his love…

Brian Matthews, 18/7/21

The Narrow Path

We all walk the narrow wire,

Do we live or do we die?

No answers appear

Until one fateful day.

It is the natural course

That we all know

But when the curtain closes

Regrets litter the ground.

What could have been said?

What could have been done?

Questions left unasked

Never to be answered.

Rejoice we must

In what the person gave

The love they shared

Their acts of kindness.

Put aside perceived faults

Things that might have been neglected

We all have one life

A journey not a race to achieve.

Listen to the tales of others

Of words and deeds unheard

Learn about the life

Parts to you formerly unknown.

Brian Matthews, 27/7/21

A quote

“The more you live, the more you learn, and trust me, you never know who you might become.”

— Cause to Run (An Avery Black Mystery—Book 2) by Blake Pierce

https://amzn.asia/3YCJKMB(

Difficult Time 2

So, below is my draft eulogy for my younger brother Ian

Ian’s Eulogy

Ian Barry Matthews

28/10/1953 – 17/7/2021

I am devastated that me and South Australian Members of the family are unlikely to be able to attend my beloved brother’s celebration of life but wanted to say a few things to mark his passing.

Ian was present in my life from my earliest memories until just a few hours before his death. He was the little brother I played and fought with, the one with the imaginative games, the little pest who wanted to play with me and my mates. We built shangeyes (sling shots) and cross bows together, playing for hours, roaming our neighbourhood as kids did in those days. Sliding down slopes on bits of corrugated iron, tadpoling, playing marbles and NEVER snitching on each other. Ian had a gold filling in a front tooth for many years from a slingshot injury I inadvertently gave him (he told Mum and Dad he ran into a wall) and I still sport a scar between my thumb and forefinger from a carving knife incurred in a scuffle over washing and drying the dishes (I told Mum and Dad I was washing up and accidentally sliced it).

Ian always knew how to rile me, was a natural sportsman and even though almost 2 years younger so often beat me at games like table tennis which I thought I was pretty good at. He was a small kid and one of his favourite tricks was ducking below the table tennis table when his turn to serve, which annoyed me, then he would suddenly pop up and deliver a killing serve. There was much chasing around the table after these incidents and blows were frequently thrown. I clearly remember Mum running down the passage toward me broom raised while I hit a laughing Ian with me saying ‘I’m sorry Mum, I can’t help it’

I did realise, very young, that while Ian liked to rile me, it was not a good idea to rile him. He was so unflappable most of the time that it was too easy to forget this. A tomahawk narrowly missing my head, at one time, reminded me of this. You really didn’t want to get Ian mad. When we were at primary school and were about 10 and 8, the bully of our working class school, a huge (to us kids) Greek boy who nobody challenged, one day decided to pick on Ian, one of the smallest kids. Ian lost it and started swinging his fists at him. The much bigger boy just laughed holding Ian at a distance while his arms flailed. But the big boy dropped his guard and Ian knocked him out with one punch. Ian was never threatened after that and neither was I because if the little brother could do that what could the older brother do? Interestingly, Ian remembered neither of these incidents as an adult and I had the strong impression that he thought I was ‘making shit up’.

Ian was a great hockey player and he passed the love of this sport on to his family. I asked him how he got into it and he told me that when he started high school he went to try out for the baseball team (my sport) but got the times wrong or it was cancelled and so he tried out for hockey and never looked back. I heard many tales about his exploits from mutual friends and Ian. One day in a high school match, Ian (Matty as his friends called him) was disaffected with the umpiring and stood in the middle of the field, dropped his own shorts, and shouted at the umpire ‘Pull your pants up and give your mouth a go!’ He was sent off but he was unrepentant- he had a strong sense of fairness. When a little older and playing district hockey, top level, his coach benched him because he’d missed a practice. This was a summer competition which had fewer rule constraints than the then winter main competition and Ian marched over to the opposition where he was welcomed. He scored the winning goals. I don’t know if his coach benched him again.

Ian, as most of you will know, was very intelligent but the constraints of formal education were not for him and he was fortunate that one of the senior teachers at Woodville High School, Mr Phillips, was also the Hockey coach and this saved his bacon on many occasions. It didn’t protect me, though. In 4th year high school (year 11) I was sitting in class and our Chemistry teacher came in for his lesson. He settled in, looked up, saw me and said ‘Matthews – out, I’ve had enough of Matthewses for the day’. He was Ian’s class teacher and had a double lesson with Ian just before mine. I didn’t really mind as I just continued reading a novel as I would have done during the lesson anyway – my noncompliance just wasn’t as visible as Ian’s.

We went our separate ways after our childhood, though Ian was always in my life. He ended up working at Moomba for SANTOS for several decades and more and that was where he acquired the nickname ‘Jock’. He worked in the laboratory at Moomba when he first started, somebody one day called him ‘the lab jock’ and it stuck. As Ian and I look similar, though he retained all of his hair, I’ve had the experience over many years of men approaching me with ‘Gidday Jock’ and then regaling me with difficult to believe tales about what he said or did. Though he worked there for years he was never happy with their poor health and safety practices protected by a government that valued the revenue too much and fellow workers who accepted increases in money as trade offs for poor practices. This came to a head when Ian’s. ‘other half’ the man who slept in the same room and did the same job when Ian was on leave, died in an industrial accident. Ian ramped up his words, made a pain of himself, SANTOS claimed he had mental difficulties, though their own psychiatrist thought not. Eventually Ian got the largest payoff in known history and retired from there.

Ian met Bernie and his girls on a bus trip to Qld to visit me and family when I worked in Maryborough for three years. He didn’t mention this, at first, but his visits became more frequent and eventually all was revealed. I still remember Yasmin and Aleasha clambering into bed with me and my first wife Margie on and early visit. Not sure which one it was but somebody had bloody cold feet and I remember thinking ‘These kids are really friendly’ and I started to understand how Ian bonded so deeply with them.

There was that period that followed when Ian and Bernie and the girls bought and lived in a house at Ottoway near where our parents lived. Ian had been employed out of Adelaide and that’s where he was flown back to so this worked and the girls had the opportunity to develop a relationship with Nana and Papa, both now passed.

Once Bernie and Ian split up, Ian moved to Qld to be near his girls, act as a support person to both of Bernie’s subsequent husbands (I’ll keep these tales to myself) and to enjoy the warmer weather. He once told me he showered in Qld to get clean but in SA it was to get warm. I suppose such a long time at Moomba had increased his affinity for warmer climes.

Ian had a funny attitude to money. Another tale he didn’t remember from his childhood was one where he was in the practice of borrowing money from me. We had little money then and I carefully saved my meagre pocket money for things I wanted. Ian spent his as soon as he got it and was always taking loans from me. One day he said to me when we calculated what he owed me ‘Brian, you know I’m never going to be able to pay you back, don’t you?’ I replied ‘Yes’ and he said ‘how about we call it quits’, I agreed and he immediately said ‘ That’s great, can you lend me two bob’. I laughed and laughed and ‘loaned’ him the two shillings. He paid me back in spades several times as an adult and I know he was incredibly generous with his money to others, on one occasion when he lived in Currimundi paying for expensive surgery for an elderly neighbour’s dog because he knew the neighbour couldn’t afford this. I’m sure there are many tales like this out there and he didn’t brag about his largesse, I had to drag those details out of him.

I could go on and on and then you’d truly be reminded of my little brother. His daughters and his family in Adelaide loved him dearly and all are devastated by his loss. Yasmin, Aleasha and family, you’ve lost my brother but you still have me and the rest of my family and we are truly grateful for the joy you all gave to him

A funny last tale for you all

When Ian was at Moomba and he’d come home to Currimundi, he would enjoy the beach and nearby lagoons and would often sit for hours contemplating his lovely environment. He started to notice that he got some strange looks from people and realised that a guy in his age group doing nothing was suspicious. So, he bought himself a fishing rod with weights, no hooks, and a bucket (Ian did not like fishing and the suffering of the captured creatures) but he would sit for hours, line dangling, taking in the world, with people occasionally commiserating with him over his lack of success

I laughed and laughed when he told me this tale

RIP beloved brother

This was a song he once mentioned to me that he wanted at his funeral

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJUhlRoBL8M

Difficult Times 1

It has been a hard week, first losing my mother to pneumonia and the gruelling last days of her life, then to be informed of my younger brother’s death from a heart attack. This post contains a draft eulogy for my Mum, and I’ll make another post for my brother.

My Mum’s funeral has been suspended indefinitely due to COVID lockdown in South Australia and I’m unlikely to make it to my brother’s funeral in Queensland as state borders have closed.

No pity party here. Many around the world have had it much worse but it is helpful for me to share these thoughts with others until I have the chance to do so with friends and family….

Mary Eileen Matthews

10/9/1927 – 12/7/2021

Loving wife of the late Bob Matthews, loving mother of Robert Margaret Brian and Ian and mother in law, grandparent, great grandparent, step grandparent and great grandparent.

4 children, 8 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren

Married 8/3/46

Mum was one in a large family, common in her era. Her father had migrated from Malta before world war 1, her mother was a descendant of Prussian immigrants who came to South Australia in the 1850s. As the eldest girl in her family she took on many responsibilities at an early age and was, by all accounts, a de facto mother for her younger siblings. She had little schooling. She told tales of being rowed over the river Murray to school by an older brother in her very early years but not so many years later it was she who would drive her younger siblings to school in a horse and cart, then returning home to do chores and watch the cows so that they didn’t wander as the fences were poor.

Audio file of Mum in her final months

Her schooling was by correspondence and she admitted that when she received her course materials she would complete tasks by filling these in from the answers in the back. But while Mum had minimal formal education she learned many practical skills in childcare and domestic tasks both through her family commitments and the work she started at a very early age. Though a child of the Great Depression she said she never went hungry though, as an adult she would not eat rabbit. She talked about how it was one of her jobs to trap, gut and skin rabbits for the family and for many years this was their main protein.

Mum met Dad in Mannum. Their romance was short and he proposed to her one night when drunk. She told him she would if he came back and asked her again in the morning when he was sober. He did come back and they were soon wed. They lived in Adelaide for a time where my older brother Robert was born but then moved to Mum’s home town, Mannum, where me and my other siblings were born. Dad worked at Shearers, Mum reared children and they lived in a house not far from Papa Joe and Grandma Emma. They moved from Mannum to Adelaide around 1956, partly for work opportunities and schooling options but also, I later learned to escape perceived stigma over the tragic death of one of her sisters at the hands of an estranged boyfriend. Domestic violence is not a recent phenomenon.

In Adelaide Mum and Dad leased/bought a Deli in Alberton which Mum ran while Dad worked. After a few years they bought the ultimate family home in Rosewater where Dad set up a backyard engineering business. He would work night shift as a fitter and turner, have some sleep, and then work in his business. Mum was heavily involved in the business, managing accounts and working lathes. She also had other jobs when work was slow, reared her children, painted and maintained the house, and catered to Dads every need. He was a hard worker but Mum worked twice as hard. As her children grew Mum continued her work in the business and, when work was slow worked as a domestic at the Spastic Centre in Woodville.

Eventually, of course, we all grew up, Robert went into the army, Margaret worked in Insurance, I went to University very unsuccessfully at first and Ian worked in the paint industry. As we all moved out of home and on to creating our own families, Mum and Dad settled into a routine that allowed them more time to themselves, bought a caravan that they left onsite at the Mannum Caravan Park and they would spend a weekend there every fortnight visiting Grandma Emma when she was still with us, but mainly pottering, socialising and, for Dad, frequenting the closest pub. Mum was not a drinker beyond a very tame low alcohol option. Anyway, the fortnightly visits to Mannum continued and friendships begun in her place of birth remained important all of her life.

Once Dad passed away, Mum lived in the family home for a while but soon moved and eventually settled in her unit in Parkholme where she lived happily for two decades and a half before failing health and mobility led to her living at Villa St Hilarion for a number of years.

Mum played a lot of 10 pin bowls in her 40s and 50s, learned to drive in her early 60s after Dad had gone and joined various clubs and was often the driver for friends and family. She was very active into her 80s and only stopped driving after her first fractured femur when she became dependent on a cane and was worried she might fall getting out of the car.

Mum influenced many people in her life, was always willing to help others, and maintained a high level of independence until her last few years

I have two lots of props for my eulogy.

The first, ornamental hands, one with a finger missing, that remained in Mum’s possession for over 60 years. My late brother Ian and I saved our meagre pocket money for the better part of 6 months to buy these and give them to Mum for Mother’s Day when I was about 10 and Ian 8. Mum would never get rid of them, even though damaged. Gifts from family were important to Mum and she routinely kept things that were well past their use by date.

The second is a hand towel that will be familiar to many. Mum made clothes in her younger years, knitted and eventually settled on crotcheting the surrounds of hand towels she purchased so that they could be easily hung. These were regular and valued gifts to friends and family and it was only recently that she could no longer do this. Mum showed her love by doing for others and she did a lot for many over the years.

I need to thank my Sister Margy for her unfailing support to Mum for so many years. I also need to thank my first wife Margie for the company, support and kindness shown to Mum over those years. The staff of Villa St Hilarion also need acknowledgment for the kindness and support shown to Mum over a number of difficult years. And finally, to my wife Barbara who always ensured that Mum had some special treats and Mum’s last meal was sticky date pudding which Barbara insisted I take to Mum when she last went into hospital and Mum hoed into this with a grin. Thank you also to my cousins, family members , and old friends who visited Mum when she most needed company and I’m saddened that COVID limitations impacted so heavily in her final year and a half

Mum we will all miss you but know that your legacy lives on through family and friends who are all better for having known you

My tears will be spent

But not the hole in the heart rent

Remember you we will

When the sun rises and birds sing

Your spirit lives on

Though your body failed

In every smile you shared

You will live on…

Being Houseproud

https://www.victorharbortimes.com.au/story/7113144/why-not-adopt-a-spot-to-preserve-our-coastline/?cs=1537&fbclid=IwAR2mkWek75miDP33n4Jy9Rg1lJUn4qzaLtFs21lY-ShIoxXH0l3lKzCG8z4

This is something we can all make a difference with. I understand the concerns when people post of rubbish discarded, but if we each put a bit more effort into collecting stray garbage (rather than complaining) our environment would be so much better. That stray cup or wrapper we walk past with censuring thoughts; so easy to pick it up. Take little steps and the outcome can be amazing. …. Rave follows

Having car serviced in Morphett Vale, went for walk, discovered a skate park, rubbish everywhere, fast food stuff, car advertising, mainly. Found a big plastic bag, picked up everything I could find. Put it in the bin – totally filled it. The park remained much cleaner for months. The cleaner a place, the less likely people will discard things, thoughtlessly….

Similar thing at Carrickalinga lookout. Took an hour there and no bin so had to take to Myponga but …

I suggest we adopt the world and think this is a wonderful initiative 😀

Differences

Different but still similar

Speaks loudly of our race

Decrying experience of the other

Knowing that ours is the truth.

Discrimination an important element

A strength of our cognition

Serving purposes that allow

Clear identification and problem solving.

But it becomes a sharp axe

When applied to others

Cutting their ways to pieces

Abrogating responsibility for care.

It takes integrity to support

The right to express a view

That challenges your sense of self

Not fitting within your comfort zone.

Worse still the judgement

You are not worthy if this you believe

Regardless of whether it impacts

On others and their lives.

‘Live and let live’

Seems a very sound rule

But one so difficult to apply

When your truth is so apparent.

Retreat so many do

From the conflict entailed

Avoiding the pain of action

Revelling in the hazy mist.

Others step forward with zeal

Fighting the good fight

Sure that their view will prevail

And their goals will be realised.

Fence sitters are often decried

How can both sides be seen?

Everything must be black and white

Gray a colour not embraced.

And here I sit on that fence

Watching the turmoil evolve

Falling on one side or the other

As the fence violently shakes.

Not a more evolved person

Just an interested observer

In the slapstick of life

The battles never ending.

For far at the soldiers’ rear

Generals, politicians, media moguls,

Religious leaders, and others with motives apparent

Point the weapons and pull the triggers.

So depressing at times

And then a kind act of one to another

Can make the heart truly sing

Restoring faith in a flawed species.

Brian Matthews

29/12/2020