Barry’s back with a tale about a most unusual lunch back in 1962…
Barry Edge writes…
It’s October 1962 and we had just moved into our new home in Nollamarra (an Aboriginal name meaning Kangaroo Paw), and a time when many families still placed great store in being together for Sunday lunch – with beer or wine for the adults and cool drinks for the children.
I’m not too sure how they came to know my mum and dad – or the circumstances leading to the short friendship of no more than eight months tops – but the memory of one particular Sunday lunch invitation remains indelible on my psyche. In fact, it still bemuses me that our two worlds collided in the first place.
My dad was not an outwardly demonstrative man, but one smile from him was akin to the morning sun melting away tensions and inhibitions. It would not be unusual to see him talking to complete strangers as though they were of his own family. However, he was very quick to spot those whose intentions were anything but honourable and in doing so would immediately shield both himself and us from them whilst, at the same time, explaining his reasons as to why. What’s more, He was rarely wrong.
In hindsight I can only but guess that it was one of those occasions outlined above that he first met a young couple, their three children and an Alsatian dog. However, no guesswork was needed as to why we drifted apart.
The young family lived approximately 10 kilometres further up the track with the nearest shopping centre for them located in Nollamara where, from time to time, our paths would cross.
Approximately eight months had gone by when we were invited to Sunday lunch and to spend an afternoon with them. With some reservation dad accepted.
We arrived around midday and found ourselves reeling from culture shock. Whilst there had been the suspicion the young family were a bit ‘rough and ready’ nothing we had witnessed in the short time knowing them could have prepared us for that encounter. Folks, they were living hillbilly style: the kids were running around half dressed and barefooted; chickens wandered in and around the house; a goat was tethered near the back porch; cats were all over the place; and an aggressive rooster flew at us because we had stepped too close to its territory.
Oh, and did I say house? At the very least it was a roof over their heads. Doors were virtually non-existent, the kids slept in one room, mum and dad in another, whilst a third room served as a common living/dining/kitchen area. Dishes were unwashed and piled high in the sink and the state of the cooker simply sent shivers all over.
We’d been chatting for some time when our host came in and handed a parcel to his wife who, in turn, started cooking. In no time at all she served up ham and eggs – so she said. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little here. The eggs never had chance to cook ending up on our plates all runny, and the ham was anything but pink in colour. Then again, the state of that frying pan would just about change the colour of any food cooked in it.
It wasn’t a pleasant repast by any stretch of the imagination and what was left on our plates was eaten by the children.
Eventually we retired to sit on the porch to relax and let our meal slowly digest. Did I say slowly digest! That’s not what my queasy stomach wanted to do.
So there we were, so-called relaxing on the porch: the kids running around half dressed and barefooted; the chickens still wandering in and around the house; the several cats wanting to jump up and sit on our laps; and that blasted rooster still flying at us because we were too close to its territory.
Hang about, something was missing.
Remember me mentioning a goat being tethered near the back porch? Remember that? Well, the goat was gone: the peg was still in the ground; the rope that had tethered the goat was still attached to the peg; but the goat was gone.
My enquiry as to whether the goat had been allowed off the peg to roam around was met with muffled laughter. Yes, it had been let off the peg – but not to roam around. In fact, its roaming days were well and truly over.
Yes folks, we had eaten goat and eggs.
Not surprisingly, that was the last we ever saw of them.
See you later…
September 16, 2018