Thursday, March 15, 2018

LIFE AT 100 – MOTHER’S PARTY






Tiny tasks in life arise from time to time, creating small opportunities and little challenges. Mother’s coming 100th birthday, Tuesday, 27th February 2018, was celebrated on the prior Saturday for the convenience of those whose everyday commitments meant that a Tuesday attendance would not be possible. The luncheon event was planned in parallel with the Tuesday occasion, a second celebration that promised an array of letters from various dignitaries, and another cake. On the Saturday, the more formal day, the families of the four siblings were asked to speak in order of seniority. So, directly after lunch, I had the job of making a short speech on behalf of my branch of the family tree. When starting to write this piece, it just happened to fall into the pattern of a poem that reminisces on a life and one hundred. The process of writing, like that of designing, remains a mystery. One leaves oneself open to the muse in both situations: it happens.



For the historical record, a congratulatory notice was placed in The Courier Mail and The Shetland Times. Father was a Shetlander. The family has close contacts with the folk of these islands even though most still live in the south-east of Queensland. Dad came to Australia as a teenager and lived his life here, first in the Laidley district where he met mother, and in Brisbane, at Kalinga; then New Farm, and finally Tenneriffe, while always dreaming of ‘home.’ After Dad's death, mother moved from Tenneriffe to New Farm. She moved to Wynnum West when developer Tom Dooley, who had purchased the property from the Churches of Christ Care, moved the residents out of Glen Eagles in Moray Street so that he could redevelop the towers, originally designed as inner-city retirement accommodation by the Buffalo Lodge, into luxury apartments. The award-winning towers were designed by the Brisbane architectural firm Curro, Nutter, Charlton in the 1960s: seehttp://voussoirs.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/planning-failures-who-cares.html





This is the talk:

tuesday mother


ninety nine
         one hundred
               coming ready or not

life’s a little like this
it’s just not cricket

         well it
it is

the number
         100
is made special
         iconic
a
         significant landmark
in this sport
         as in life
         and
many affairs
         of state

in the bat-and-ball game
                  the century!
generates
         cap waving
bat swinging
         arm throwing
random running around
and
         copious group huggings
               in the extreme

we review the first
         100 days of power
in politics
as if they were relevant
               as important
         and
as significant
         as a life

we go over
         stories
and photographs
         of the century
likewise
         with enthusiasm
and intrigue
         100!
         amazing
those were the days

we play games
counting to
               100
number bubble
hide-and-seek
darts
         a double bull
it is
         a digital juncture
               a destination
an ambition


likewise
the number
         mesmerises us
in the everyday
         every day
as we cleverly
                  avoid it as
         99 cents
         in
a deceitful decimal game
making
         an
imperial mishmash
                  of
         metric pellucidity


so today
leaving us equally
                  astonished
by the count
         and the life
we gather to celebrate
mother’s coming
         100

it is a
landmark
         a digital wow!
just ones and zeros
the last ones
         and zeros
were at 10
                  1928
                  more than
32,850 days
                  ago
agog
         leaping
                  leap years

when one considers
the biblical three
         score years
                        and ten
her years are
the bright side of averages
            the right side

being a card player
this makes her
                  call
a winning
         six hearts
an appropriate reference
for her life
both cards and love
         seeing
that she could not
                  call
         no trumps
         if only!
we are burdened
with him

in cribbage
                  mother
is two thirds of the
way
down
         the second run
still with good cards
in her hands
         to yet come
up

in monopoly she holds
         100s
in transactional counts
from shrewd and
         lucky deals
in
the throw of the dice
                  the game of life

the cake has 100s
         and extra
zeros in 1000s
or should have
                           let's pretend
just for this unique
         celebration
this occasion
the century!
         it takes the cake

it is a special time
because we love
         counting and establishing
landmarks
marking life on land
         in time
         on time
1 . . 2 . . 3
tick . . tock . . tick
doesn’t it go quickly!

the stories over time
magnetise
us
         too
         like the box brownie
                              browning images
of other epochs

the time scale
the differences
                  alert us
                  to
the achievement
         the experience
the understanding
         the eras
years
their people
                  the change
now slick internet
then slate
                  flash
in timber frame
         with one side ruled
                  slow pencil
sharpener
         and scraps of paper
if you were lucky
a
crystal radio too
                  perhaps

but life was still
                  full

18 presidents u.s.
maybe
         hopefully
more soon
allowing for the successful
         six-trick
card call score
of 120
         and
a better world

prime ministers
23 u.k.
25 a.u.
making the bingo call of
                  clickety click
66 in total
presidents and prime ministers
                  us au and uk
ironically
         the angel number

era after era has been
                              seen
         lived
each celebrating
         remembering its own
         little
         100s
and 1000s
                  killed in wars
to end all wars
                  if only
if only

so
as with cricket
perhaps we should
         as good sports
                  all
be
arm waving
         body swinging
cap throwing
         copiously running around
         and
                  randomly group hugging
                           in the extreme
for mother's
         astonishing
health and well-being
her vitality and love
         of life
her coming
         100

no bingo call for this other than
It’s a bullseye! It’s a bullseye!
two 50s
or
90 + 10
top of the shop
            and
den
                           then what?

congratulations
         and
         a
happy birthday
         for
tuesday mother







SOME GAMES











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