A SLAB of FRIENDSHIP
From time to time I will post anecdotes that I've written over the years. All are true stories, and many will be included in a future book called, 'A Free Spirit' - the life and times of Clancy Tucker on the run. This is one such anecdote about a mate of mine, John, back when I was a farmer. I hope you find these anecdotes entertaining or amusing.
In the late 80’s I returned to my home State of Victoria from Western Australia to run a farming property for an aunt and uncle. It was in the Goulburn Valley, a square mile of dirt but a farm with three water wheels and a very good water right. Although a great parcel of productive land, the farm had been sadly neglected. I looked on it as a challenge and loved every hard day. I soon met the locals and became great friends with my closest neighbour. John had been born in the district and been a farmer all his life. Hence, he was a wonderful person to seek advice and ask a million questions.
John, his wife, Di, and I soon became best friends. We still are to this day. Being a single bloke, Di often asked me over for dinner. I’d travelled extensively and I think she liked to ask me heaps of questions about other countries. So, I accepted every invitation with open arms because she was a sensational cook.
One day I did some slight damage to a hay rake – broke a metal piece from the hitching arm. I asked John to weld it for me and he did so - no question. That night I was invited to their place for dinner so I bought a slab of beer to thank John for his welding. Arriving at dusk, I quietly slipped the slab of beer in his garage and then entered the house. Four hours later, and half-inebriated from his beer, not mine, I left their place and headed home in my utility. It was a balmy moonlit night. As I drove along, I glanced to the left and could see the moon reflecting on a paddock of water. John had obviously irrigated that day. For some odd reason, something caught my eye on the passenger’s seat. Guess what it was? Yep, that crafty old John had found the slab of beer I’d hidden and slipped it back into my utility.
When I arrived home I rang him and acted dumb.
‘G’day, mate. You’ll never guess what I found on my passenger’s seat?’
‘What?’ the cagey farmer replied.
‘A bloody slab of beer,' I said with a wry grin.
‘Yeah. That sort of thing is going around. I found a slab in my garage.’
‘Yep. Amazing, eh?’
‘Sure is. Anyway, see you tomorrow. Thanks, mate.’
I put the telephone down and chuckled. I’m sure he did the same. That was how we worked in the bush. I guess all good friendships work that way. If they don’t, then maybe they should.
Clancy's comment: I have always been grateful to John and Di. They are the salt of the earth.
Mm ... Sometimes as you travel through life you meet people who touch your heart with golden fingers.
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