Legends from our own lunchtimes

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Street

Each year for at least a decade, there's been a Christmas party right there in the cul-de-sac and everyone's turned up with steaks and snags for the barbecue and eskys and chairs to sit on. The party starts in the dark and finishes before morning and everyone spends their time catching up with the news of the year as if somehow they weren't aware of it as it happened.

This year things have changed.  Some of the old crew have gone, their houses vacant and like ours, owned by the people of Queensland or tenanted by people who have thus far managed to remain invisible.

It wasn't going to be the same without them and we wondered if, like the community that once we shared, the annual gathering would pass into history.

The end of the street sits in the rain, silent and empty.  At the other end, where once there had been bush there is now a friendly three metre high barrier, kindly erected by the developers of the new estate.

Someone suggested we take the mountain to Mohammad, or in this case to Don and Shirley. Don has always been in our eyes at least, the mayor of our street, or at least was the one who owned the mower and assumed responsibility for all our lawns.  As the dark cloud hovered over us all through the resumption process, they were the last to be contracted and eventually resettled seventy kilometres away, closer to family but leaving our yards to go to ruin.

It may not have been the same cloud, but it was certainly an indifferent if not ominous sky that hung above all day as we joined the convoy heading south in the drizzle, to spend the afternoon revelling in their joy as they showed us the ins and outs of their new surrounds.

We took our places around the monster table which they'd bought "just in case we all turned up at once". They had suffered more trauma than most during the resumption process, losing a son, two dogs and waging a war against Shirley's illness, yet we'd never seen them happier.

The cloud under which we had lived was after all, lined with silver.

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