I’m officially bringing in the side-kick in this blog. She got a little mention as being cute and chubby in the first blog, but she grew, she started to walk and talk.
My side-kick was the one that I wore the silly hats with. The one that came from the same place, but was blond and fair and the one that was constantly dressed in the same clothes as I was, that no doubt, our mother had spent many hours sewing or grandmother had spent weeks hand knitting.
Any of you who are an eldest child would know the benefits of having a younger side-kick. Someone to train up and who was happy to take the heat when you may have been misguided in your judgement. Someone that you could send first to tell mum the bad news about an unfortunate incident because they were littler and cuter than you. Someone that you could fight with until you wanted to rip her hair out, but would defend you in any battle.
She is one of the few people my age who know what a Muscovy is and can appreciate how much they repulse me, and one of only a few who know the strange little obscure things that shaped my early life….the familiar smells and sounds that are forever captured in my head.
Speaking of smells….no, I haven’t got to my brother yet! Any of you who may have had the need to visit a Department of Agriculture office in the 70s and 80s would be familiar with the smell that you would encounter on entering the front door. Visiting the Leeton office to see our dad was a highlight of a day, once you accustomed yourself to the smell on entering. I think it was a combination of grain, printing/typewriter ink and preserving alcohol.
The office had a fabulous assortment of reptiles and spiders preserved in assorted bottles on the front counter, ready to thrill small children and a reference for concerned members of the public to use when they captured a questionable creature in the back toilet…..and they had a refrigerated bubbler in the office that blobbed and bubbled every time you released the water! We were always thirsty when we reached the office…
These were the days when regional towns had a State Government agronomist. Field days, books and snail mail where how things were done and you had no choice but to verbally communicate with people if it had to be done quickly…..I am kinda feeling a pang of regret that this time is gone….that will last until I want to find out something quickly on my phone or text someone to say that I’m running late.
For us, as a Gen-X, we were fortunate to remember life pre-computers, pre-mobile phones and we had to listen to hours of stories from our grandparents who had experienced life pre-electricity, pre-washing machine, pre-car even, but in technology, many of us now spend a good percentage of our time, whether it is for recreation or work. We couldn’t just flick through our phone and pretend to listen while we were scrolling through Instagram….and did I mention how fabulous our music is!
So…lesson one that I have just taught myself through this recollection.…I need more preserved animals in my office? I thought that a fibreglass cow and a worm farm would do! Something to work on perhaps. I think I have a theme happening. Antlers and chook processing in the first blog. Preserved creatures in the second…that might be it for the dead animals. You never know what might pop up!
A second lesson is to embrace a moment, recognise the importance of verbal communication……and take time to smell the roses….or the alcohol preservative? That’s a weird lesson.
My third and last lesson…look after your side-kick. They can never be replaced.