Here is my entry into this weeks "Sunday Scribblings"prompt. The word we will be writing about this week is "December". If you would like to have a look see at what other participants have written go to my side bar and click on the link.
Anyway, here goes..........
December brings expectations that I sometimes like, and sometimes not. I remember the saddest thing I ever saw at Christmas. I was parked in the main street.It was in the days when the phone box was placed on the footpath outside the post office. A drunk man was in the phone box sobbing and begging his wife (i suppose) could he come and see his children. She was very obviously opposed to the idea. So sad.
Our December expectations. Tradition, family, nostalgia for Christmas past, present and future. The way the media and movies and of course the way we envision it should all be. The reality is sometimes different isn't it.
Yesterday I went back to Wagga to visit my two youngest children as I won't be able to see them ion Christmas day, for the first time since they were born. That's OK, I guess I can be proud that doing my job as a Mummy has lead them to independence and their own lives and contacts. Though I am a bit disappointed. I know there will be many other Christmases to follow when we will be together.
I thought I would write about that.
My son Mike, my hubby Pete and I drove to Wagga on Saturday. It is a three hour drive from here and quite pretty no matter what time of year the route is traveled, but especially so just now as we have had lots of rain, courtesy of La Nina. It is usual for the countryside to be browning off at this time of year and harvest to be finished. Nope, not this year. due to all the rain and recent flooding in the area all the crops were still in the paddocks, unstripped and spoiled, not worth the hours usually spent to work the fields. After many years of drought the farmers were watching their crops grow beautifully then be spoilt by drought breaking rains. Around Jugiong and Gundagi, in fact all the way to Wagga, you could see the many places where the water levels had been high and debris was left hanging in the fences.
We took the back road across to Junee from Gundagi, just to sticky beak. My eyes and my mind were full of well loved memories along that road. The road runs beside the Murrumbidgee river until near Nangus, a few weeks ago I could have just about walked across it without wetting my belly button. Now I was looking at long grasses swept flat in the direction of the waters flow. Two years ago there wasn't even much grass left at all. At Nangus I passed the little garage/ store/ grog shop, where I ran out of petrol late one night. I knocked on the door and found a lady, Lorna, I knew from years ago whom I used to work with. Her hubby had to go around to the bus depot at a local farm and raid me some petrol from there to get me home to Junee. Strange coincidence.
Then towards Junee and past a property called Pine Point. A friend from the Wagga potter's club lived there for years. She moved to Canberra too, but died of cancer last year, Poor Rita, I treasure the pots that I have which she made. A few minutes further down the road you come to Eurongilly. Barely a village with a hall, a tennis court a couple of houses and not much else. Eurongilly has its own memories. I thought of the people I knew who came from this area, and the driving lessons I took my children on along the back farm roads there. Then a left hand turn towards Junee.
That corner there is Heffernan's farm, I remember I took my Mum and Dad mushrooming in that paddock and my poor old dad had trouble getting back over the fence.
There on the right is Brabin's road. She taught my children at the local high school, and her daughter Sarah was in my daughter's class at school all the way through. I wonder what Sarah is doing now.
If you go down that road to the end and turn left again you come out near the farm where my son had his first job.
Just down here and on the right again is the road to a friends farm. Brian is a bush woodworker and I went to a workshop one day out there. I really enjoyed that and came away with a hobby horse that I made which served me as a coffee table beside the swing in my back yard for many years. He was such a nice man, he used to come up to the hospital where I worked and he played his ukulele and sang to the oldies each week. He came to my farewell and sang to me. I hung my head to hold myself together then.
The trees all around here still bear the scars of the big fires which swept through the area a few years ago and caused havoc, they burned for miles and miles. They were started by someone throwing a cigarette butt out the window of their car along the Olympic way, on new years day. It was one of those impossibly hot, tinder dry summer's days that you get in inland Australia with a vicious drying wind to sweep the flames along. I will never forget that day.
The hill above our old house was called Rocky hill, not much to imaging what it looks like. As you round it into the town of Junee, there is a house on a few acres,we should have bought that house. Our old house is just below the lookout there. The trees have grown, the chook yards are still standing, but otherwise I though the yard was looking in need of some t.l.c. I know the lady who bought it, she is not a gardener. Oh, so many memories here. The house where my children grew up and where we lived for 14 years.
Down Hill street and half way up the other side of the hill we stopped at Ali's house. I know all her family, little towns are great like that. She had been ill and as she was sleeping I left her there, I will catch up with her again later. Down the hill, to the right is the main street, across the intersection is the swimming pool ans skate park and the old pub where they have the poker run. So many more stories, so many.
Then left at the end of the street and on to the Bomen road which leads you into Wagga, the black wattle trees along the sides of the road are lush and green but finished flowering months ago.
I was born in Wagga. Spent quite a bit of my life there, on and off over the years. I still consider it my home town. The water is still high in the river from the floods last week and you can see where the high water levels came up to. North Wagga was evacuated during the floods but it is open again now, the water didn't enter many of the houses. My friend Fran's house is just down there in that street on the right, she was evacuated. I hope her house and pottery studio isn't damaged.
The old Hampton bridge is sure dilapidated now, enclosed with wire to keep people off the unsafe decking and railings, she stood strong during this flood though. Good bones underneath the crumbling wood. Down river to the right of the bridge is my beloved Wirradjiri reserve, I have written about it in my blog before.
The lower part of the main street was underwater, not so much from the river but from the torrential rain that fell.
We went straight past the main street and turned left into Trail street. That house on the corner is a beautiful old federation style home. Over the years I have seen it go from almost destroyed , returned to its former glory again, but now it is a shame to see the lovely woodwork details dried out and peeling again.
On past the Wollundry lagoon the water level has dropped back almost to it's former levels and you would not believe that just a week ago it was flooding. The park is green and beautiful and the lagoon is adorned with water lilies in flower, pink, yellow and white floating peacefully on its surface.
Just across the road there is an old cannon, I climbed on that when I was a kid. Down that street there,The Esplanade, is a semi detached house my sister rented for a while. Traveling down into Best street on the left is that nice house I went to for a meeting about starting up an r.s.p.c.a. branch in Wagga when I was about 17 years old.
On the other side of the road is Mrs Graham's old house where I went each day to clean and look after her. Dear Mrs Graham, she had alzhiemers and would send me to the shop down the road each day I went there, to get 1/2 a billy can of milk. She did accept when I came back that it came in cartons nowadays though.
A few blocks further on down Best street and there is the house where my daughter lived when she first moved out of home, oh, it looks good now and has been all renovated. Over the road on the corner is Mr Grentall's house and across the other side of the traffic lights is Vic and Dragitsa's house.
Then up over that railway bridge into Edmondson street, past Mount Erin school where my niece went and then on the left Wagga high school. Into Mitchelmore street.
Oh there is Betty's house, another pottery friend. She is gone now too. Such a feisty old chook, but I loved her.
It is all the one street, from Trail street right through to Northcott parade, almost one side of Wagga to the other.
That house over there is where I got the flowers for my wedding bouquet.
Next block down is Saint John's, where I used to go to church in my teens. I knew that place well and down into Fernleigh road is Turvey Tops, the local shopping center.
But back in Mitchelmore street a few blocks down is Beltana Ave. Where I lived as a 2 year old, a 7 year old and again as a 15 year old, then until my wedding.My very earliest memories lie here. Still my Mum's house, old now but still a family home. My daughter and son live there now.
An exchange of Christmas presents and a romp with Ruby my son's beloved Staffie dog, then off the the RSL club bistro for a quasi Christmas lunch.
We left Wagga around 4.00 as planned and got back to Canberra about 7.00.
So that was my December trip with reminiscences. The closest to a Christmas trip I will be doing this December.
Merry Christmas All.
Enjoy your Christmas break,
no matter what your personal beliefs.