At about this time, 36 years ago, my sainted mother was busy getting ready to give birth to me. I ain’t even sure how old she was at the time but as I was the fourth son she had I’m sure the drill was familiar by that stage.
I was born in Brisbane, Queensland at around 21:00 hours, no dramas or complications that I remember or have been told of.
I’ve only a few vague memories of the place we lived at there. The boat the Ol man had, me nearly drowning in the pool out the back and that spooky sounding ice cream van that’d be weirdly driving the streets after dark.
I’d always howl like a banshee when I heard that goddamn thing’s eerie soundtrack.
We moved to various regional towns in Qld, Ingham and Forrest Beach being the earliest ones I have a better recollection of staying at.
It was there we went through Ma scoring big in the cancer lotto and then it was all hands on deck in an effort to provide for her treatment.
It was during that period we moved up to Normanton in order to run a business that provided a better income source for our needs.
The three youngest of my brothers spent our adolescence working in that business. With our oldest brother, being, well older, participating only periodically as he’d move away then return when things weren’t working out for him.
Those years were a knock down drag out fight that went on for more than a decade. Both of my parents demonstrated a stoicism that drove us through those times. The amount of time the Ol Man spent working nearly killed him.
Mum beat cancer the first time round and got to see her sons grow, see a couple of them marry and have grand children. She wasn’t so lucky the next time it started to play it’s hand in her life again.
So here I am sitting in my dog box, on another construction project, away from home, casting my mind back to those early years. You remember on days like this, the people you’ve marched that trail called life with and the times together no longer able to be shared.
Those people you call family.