Tag Archives: eulogy

A Twist of Fate -Friday Fictioneers 13th January, 2021.

The curtain raised. We all stood to attention and managed a macabre applause. The band had been blown up in the NYE Paris terrorist attack. In a freaky twist of fate, they’d just ducked outside to have a cigarette, and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Meanwhile, their instruments which remained exactly where they were, had survived unscathed. I’ve heard that bass player, Sebastian Gordon, intended to quit that night, and that was going to be his last cigarette. Tragically, it was, although it wasn’t how he’d planned to quit for good. It wasn’t how they’d planned to stick together either. Either they’d been born under an unlucky star, or It was a twist of fate.

….

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields at https://rochellewisoff.com/. This week’s photo prompt was kindly contributed by Dale Richardson.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Farewell to the Family Car…

It was a long, long time coming and extremely overdue. Yesterday, our blue, 2001 Nissan Pulsar was ceremonially collected by the wreckers and carted off to heaven.

A few days ago, I’d been overjoyed that Geoff had finally gotten around to getting it towed away. It was finally going to be scratched off our never-ending to-do list.

However, when the moment finally came and this massive tow truck pulls up outside our place to cart her off, it was a different story. Indeed, I was more reflective than expected and both Geoff and I formed a guard of honour of sorts to see her off.

We’ve been through a lot with that car. We bought it new in February 2001 just after we’d got engaged on Valentine’s Day, it just so happened that we bought the house in about the same week. Things were on the way up back then. All our Christmases had come at once, and we were impervious to future bad luck. We were engaged and invincible! We’d come through our bad luck and it was all going to be smooth sailing from here. None of what I now know to be the regular ups and downs of life, that precarious journey along the snakes and ladders, and far away from the laws of gravity which dictate that what goes up, comes down.

it’s been about 18 months since the car was last driven. In that time, it’s been superseded by the two luscious red Alfa Romeos. I don’t know what it’s taken so long for that car to go, However, there was something about me needing to clear stuff out before it could be hauled away, and Geoff needing to arrange to get it picked up. I’ll also blame Covid, even though it was awaiting pick up at least a year before Covid came along. I should also mention that my husband grew up on a farm in North-Eastern Tasmania where deceased vehicles simply rusted into the dirt. However, we don’t live on a farm. Moreover, my husband is collector of cars and you could say one more just blended into the landscape, even if the landscape was just a suburban back yard. There’s also this other factor that we’ve almost had the blue Pulsar for 20 years and it has simply become part of our landscape…here but not here.

Seeing the old girl off, brought so many memories to mind, especially bringing the kids home as babies from the hospital, which is such a massive event for all families. Huge. Yes, the kids had come home in the blue car. Fallen asleep in the blue car. Fought in the blue car. Thrown up all over the back seat in the blue car. My husband and I had argued in the blue car, and at least he’d driven off in the blue car in a few heated moments. However, what I hadn’t remembered til tonight, was that we drove home from our wedding in the blue car. I’d totally forgotten that. I only remember pulling up at the Church in the Mark IV Jaguar convertible. I was such a princess and it might’ve only been for one day, but the memory remains (and I still have the tiara to prove it.)

So, by the time the old girl was being hauled up on the tow truck, I almost felt like dragging her back. Giving them back their $150.00 and saying I’ve changed my mind. No! The blue car will stay with us forever. Can become some kind of water (or even rust feature) in the back yard. After all, all those memories are so precious. They need to preserved and it felt surprisingly sad to wave her off. Yet, at the same time, our place is getting buried alive in cars and it had to go. Time to cherish the memories and the photos without its physical presence.

Still, you know that just like saying goodbye to Bilbo the family dog who had been with us for 12 years from the time our daughter could crawl, the car also served us through a long, and monumental time in our lives. From when our son was a baby to being just one year out of school. By this time, it was our back up car and we’d bought a younger red Pulsar, which I unfortunately wrote off in the hospital car park a few years ago. While I’m not a real car person, the family car certainly takes you places and some how becomes more than just a car. Indeed, how many people recognize their friends by their car? How many people become their car. or it becomes them? There’s some strange psychology in that. Indeed, there could well be an entire branch of psychology dedicated to cars and their owners. It would be busy.

I wonder if any of you have had a car for a long time and it saw you through a lot? Or, do you have a special car with some stories to tell? How do you relate to your car? Is it just an A to B job? Or, a character car which is something special? I should mention that we also have a Morris Minor, but that’s another story for another day.

Best wishes,

Rowena

#AtoZchallenge – We Are Donne.

Phew! We have finally reached the end of the April A-Z Challenge, and in a curious fusion of the contemporary Madden Brothers with 17th Century Baroque poet, John Donne, We Are Donne.

We studied John Donne’s poetry at school and both of these poems are the perfect accompaniment to my Letters To Dead Poets.

Death Be Not Proud –

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Bust of John Donne

Photo: Matthew Black.

Thank you very much to everyone who has accompanied me along this journey. Or, simply popped in now and then. Your company along the road has been much appreciated and it’s been fabulous travelling along this “road not taken” together and to bring our islands together into a connected community…even if our paths never actually cross in “the real world”.

More than kisses, letters mingle souls.
John Donne
Love and Best wishes,
xx Rowena

Family shadow Byron Lighthouse Easter 2014

Our Family 2014- Byron Bay Lighthouse, Australia.

 

 

An Oasis of Gold: Sunflower Seeds MH17

A sunflower
among sunflowers
in a sprawling field,
her face shines
brighter than the sun.
So glorious,
her luscious, golden smile
weaves its magic:
captivating poets, painters, dreamers…
as well as a wee child’s heart.

Stretching her green leaves
ever upwards,
her time has almost come.
Thousands of seeds
all set to burst
into the azure sky.
Spread their wings.
Fly around the world.
Grow new life.

Yet,
in her very prime,
when her seeds were all but ripe,
devastation hit.
Slashed from her roots,
brutally cut down,
all but decimated
by the exploding metal bird,
she was gone.

Seeds of hope.

Seeds of hope.

Her seeds scattered
across the scorched earth:
tears wrenched
from her broken heart,
fused with molten metal.
Once so filled with promise,
now,
they’re just
part of the wreckage.

Yet,
plucked from the ashes
and sheltered in the strangers’ hearts,
those precious seeds
flew to foreign fields.
Found life in the Australian soil,
where they now stand tall:
still captivating poets, painters, dreamers…
as well as a wee child’s heart.

Beneath the Southern Cross,
they stand…
Ukrainian sunflowers blooming
in the Great South Land.

Rowena Newton
19th July, 2015.

To read more about these sunflower seeds, click here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/seeds-of-love-plucked-from-devastation-flight-mh17/

A personal message from Sydney Morning Herald's Chief Foreign Correspondent,  journalist Paul McGeogh & Photographer Kate Geraghty who sent me the sunflowers.

A personal message from journalist Paul McGeogh & Kate Geraghty who sent me the sunflowers.

Richie Benaud…Oh What a Ripper!

Yesterday, Australia lost a very much loved, living legend, when cricketer and commentator, Richie Benaud, passed away aged 85. Richie Benaud was the “voice of cricket” and as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott said:Richie Benaud “was the accompaniment of an Australian summer, his voice was even more present than the chirping of the cicadas in our suburbs and towns, and that voice, tragically, is now still.”

There’s a fabulous cartoon by Shakespeare here:http://www.smh.com.au/sport/the-fitz-files/a-marvellous-man-and-a-true-gent-rip-richie-benaud-20150410-1mi854.html

Even though I’m not even close to being a cricket fan, Richie Benaud’s appeal went way beyond the pitch. Indeed, after commentating for so many years, he felt like something of an aged Uncle or Grandparent who chatted to us throughout the game, telling us what’s what. Like so many embarrassing dads, he had his own unique sense of style and a way with words that was legendary. Indeed, when you checked out the crowd at a cricket match, you’d find more than a couple of look-a-likes in the crowd. Golly, some of the interpretations of his hair, were almost as incredible as the man himself.

To see his loyal fans decked up in force: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/benaud-boys-pay-tribute-to-the-international-man-of-cricket-20120104-1pkog.html

A crowd full of Richie Benauds think the play is "marvellous"!!

A crowd full of Richie Benauds think the play is “marvellous”!!

Anyway, as I said, I won’t and can’t even pretend to be a cricket fan.

Indeed, I hated cricket growing up. Every Summer, my brother and I conducted our own fierce battles off the pitch as we fought for who controlled the TV.  I swear my brother could have spent an entire summer watching and playing cricket, which as I’ve found re-reading an old journal, drove me absolutely round the twist.

Back in the day before remote controls, that meant grabbing hold of the rotary channel  selector in one hand and the on and off switch in the other and somehow fighting off your opponent with any remaining body parts without letting go. It’s funny because even though a vehemently detested cricket at the time, that still remains the Golden Age of cricket for me and I now sing along with “Come On Aussie, Come On” choking back the emotions as I remember Dennis Lillee “pounding down like a machine”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qJLi5y2d2w

That said, I chuckled when I heard Richie Benaud talking about the upcoming Summer:”We won’t miss a ball of the cricket”. Thinking back to my brother, I now realise that things could have been an awful lot worse and I hope Benaud’s wife, Daphne, enjoyed being married to the game as well as to the man. She pretty much had to love cricket.

Richie, Richie and Daphne

Richie, Richie and Daphne

All I’ll say, is thank goodness for the Internet and two TVs. Geoff a serious cricket fan as well.

So, as a fleeting tribute to an incredible man who I’ve felt has been living in my lounge room for so much of my life, here are a few of Richie Benaud’s Classic Quotes:

BenaudEarly“The key thing was to learn the value of economy with words and to never insult the viewer by telling them what they can already see” – on commentary.

“And Glenn McGrath dismissed for two, just 98 runs short of his century” – on the Australian fast bowler, famous for his ineptitude with the bat. Just as well he could bowl!!

“Put your brain into gear and if you can add to what’s on the screen then do it, otherwise shut up”

“What I want most from being a television commentator is to be able to feel that, when I say something, I am talking to friends”: talking about his audience.

“There was a slight interruption there for athletics” – referring to a streaker.

“When my hair is long enough to be cut, I go to my wife’s hairdresser, and she generally ways for it.”

“I once said to (Australian all-rounder) Keith Miller how disappointed I was to have made my debut in the same year as Bradman retired. How wonderful it would have been to have watched him play at the SCG in 1940 and then to bowl at him on the same ground. Nugget remarked drily that everyone has one lucky break and that may well have been mine.”

Benaud said of his mother, “She improved my love of vegetables by introducing the phrase, ‘You can’t go out and play cricket until you have eaten all your vegetables.'”

Before I sign off in typical Richie Benaud style, I’ll play Anthony Lloyd-Webber’s Memory which was Richie & Daphne’s favourite piece of music, performed by Debra Byrne:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-osxc7JKXg

Condolences to Benaud family, especially his beloved wife, Daphne. From all accounts, they had an incredible partnership!

I will give Richie Benaud the last word:

“This had been a presentation from Nine’s Wide World of Sports.”

xx Rowena

RIP Richie Benaud.

RIP Richie Benaud. This was the old test pattern, which used to broadcast in the good old days when the TV went to sleep.