Thursday, March 17, 2016

St Paddy's day—a birthday remembered

Today is St. Patrick's day. This time last year the then PM annoyed the Irish by extolling Guinness in his Happy StPD speech. Classic move.

It's also the birthday of my now deceased foster grandmother—who died as theboy was in-utero, so about nine years ago. She would have been 104.

I was working in a remote region on this day some dozen years ago and I can remember sending a birthday fax to her retirement village showing a pic of me (drawn) dancing a jig whilst wearing one of those Leprechaun hats with the belt buckle on it. 

I wonder what the admin staff in the front office thought when it churned through?

As irony would have it she was a lifetime non-drinker having escaped an abusive marriage to a thuggish drunk when younger—and never married again or had children of her own. 

She became part of our family's life when we were living on a cattle station in Western Australia, as a live in nanny (slash) helper in the '70s, but then stayed in our lives until she died, visiting for 2–6 week stretches every two or so years after she relocated to Victoria.

Her mind stayed sharp until the end, though she would cycle partway through all the names of us boys until she hit the right one when she talked to us; "Oh, hello, X, ... er ,Y, ... um, Z!"

I can remember once tapping her on the shoulder then ducking low so she'd spin around and see no one there. Only it didn't work, she'd looked down then rapped me across the shoulder with a wooden spoon. 

Last Xmas I shared stories of her with my older brother who confessed to having done hand brake turns at the bottom of a big hill in our then mini to freak her out after picking her up from the bus station, her likely clutching onto the handle of her pull along wheeled trolley in terror.  

She would have loved theboy I think; his exuberance and total cheekiness would have been both appealing and vexing I suspect.

So I raise an e-glass and e-toast in her memory—she was a classy old bird.

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