Well it has been a day for reflection, contrasted with mad hurrying.
Today I bought more vegies for the vegie patch and dug a new bed, only a small one, and cleared out the grassy weeds in the rain. I planted a brazillion leeks - I bought a punnet of them and oh boy if only half of the blighters grow, we'll have more leeks than we know what to do with. The old man never grew leeks - he liked to grow peas and beans (I loved planting them and watching every day for their new leafy shoots to appear. I was cruelly disappointed on a number of occasions cos it turned out I had planted broad beans) and he grew the most disgustingly woody carrots ever. I still remember gagging on the carrots and the only broad beans that were any good (to him) were the enormous ones with pods that were over an inch long and had amazingly tough skins. I learned never to grow the seeds of butternut pumpkins (we call most squash pumpkins except for the ufo shaped ones, which are squash) crossed with zucchini. Looked like butternuts, tasted like zucchini. Blah. Zucchini were meant to be grown two feet long and tough, so tough mum would scoop the flesh out and stuff them (with rice and yummy stuff, not toy stuffing!) and put them in the oven. I still wouldn't eat them - I got fish fingers instead :-) Also those spaghetti squash? Noone would eat them in the family and of course we had hundreds. I remember summers of legs scratched from the pumpkin vines rambling across the back yard. He grew good pumpkins, I must say.
I bought some more stuff to paint the fibre room with - nifty gadgets. Gosh I love me some gadgets. The old man only had rollers and brushes to paint with. I have gadgets!
I drove my car around and cursed at the traffic. A spot of rain and most of the other drivers suddenly turn into old women driving 20kmh below the speed limit. Cursing at traffic is a family trait but my language is a lot less blue than my father's.
I talked to a place about spending my inheritance on a new kitchen. Gosh they have nifty kitchen gadgets, drawers, runners, pull out stuff these days rather than sticking and jamming stupid wooden runners. My father did some good and tidy woodwork along the way but wooden runners no matter how well made still stick and jam.
I won't show pics of my father in his later years. I won't go past 1989 actually, even though he had another 10 good years left at that stage. The colour pictures show my father as I remember him best - an older man but still vital. When I look through the photos that I still have to scan before I give the collection back to my brother, I can see that suddenly in the early naughties there was noone home. The change in the smile is quite amazing - one smile is deliberate, the other seems like a reaction to the camera. It is sorta odd, because for me that is when my father effectively died, not when his body finally gave up the ghost a year ago today. But I can't mark that day, the day when his memory left him because it was such a slow process. I can mark the day his life ended.
Mum and Dad on their wedding day in 1951
I have my father's length of face and probably more his eyes, but I have my mother's awkward teeth, baby fine blonde hair and her moles. Hope they don't miss them. LOL I tend to quirk my head to one side like Mum has in one of the shots. Wonder if that is a learned/copying thing?
My aunt and my half-uncle are in the shot too. I cut the other members of the wedding party out since they were not family and I have no entitlement to their images whatsoever. If my family sees these pictures online, they might kick my butt. Or they might not. DOes it really matter that I am sharing them with you?
Christmas 86 - I've cut out non-blood relatives and sliced my oldest niece in half. One of my sisters has a mullet!!! Can you recognise me?
Christmas 89. Oh boy. My aunt is starting to look ill. She had breast cancer and it was probably already starting to spread at this stage. She thought it was more benign lumps. This was our last Christmas with Margie. The next year was our last proper Christmas, the last one with Mum. I slaved in the kitchen cos she couldn't. I discovered how hard it was to be Mum and how much you missed out on. No Christmas has been the same ever since. My whole family still noticed the difference, except for the kids born afterwards. I reckon it took about 10 years for me to get over Christmas.
Yes it is all about ME. Me me ME! It is after all my blog. My thoughts. My reactions.
I do miss my father. Same with Mum. Heck, I had a dream last night that I was going to be late home and I really should ring Mum cos she would be worried. Stuff Nathan - he didn't count but making sure Mum didn't worry was important! But I don't miss the people my parents had become before they died - death was a blessed relief for all parties at that point. The end of this life had come. Is there another life? I dunno, but it seems amazing to me that life can just end like a light switch being turned off, and all that that person was is gone. How does that happen?
Mum and Dad, RIP. Your ashes have a little plot and plaque with a view of the Dandenongs and some nice roses (if they've been replanted - the beggars died). Father always said buy a house with a view cos the view will help sell the house. Well we have no view, but the oldsters can still see the mountains, just from a different angle than Home.