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Home on the Range

Tonight I have a wonderful guest post for you.
And yes, it’s a bit of a surprise.
It’s a story about love, family and the cherished possession of a special little girl.
These days, that little girl is a charming, witty and wise beyond her years woman that goes by the nickname A-mum.
And though we’ve never met, we’ve become very dear friends.
Nanny’s Nook is a place where virtually anything can happen.
Even magic; a destination you will visit tonight.
Moe has blessed me with an intensely personal piece and I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am to post it here.
My deepest thanks, Moe. (and to Kelly for first introducing us)
Enjoy folks, this is a real nice one.

~m

Home on the Range

I was very close to my paternal grandfather.
Although I was very young when he was killed in a car accident, the 7 short years we had was long enough to form a very strong bond.
I was the youngest of 3, and could do no wrong in his eyes.
I was his little angel.
One of my earliest memories is sitting straddled on his lap with my head on his bare chest and running my fingers through the thick hair that covered it.
Every spare minute I could find was spent with him, playing, talking, laughing, just loving each others company. Even today I can close my eyes and smell him.
Old Spice. Yep, when I smell that I think of him still.
My apologies, I digress.

He and my Nan lived with us in our little 3 bedroom house, and had for as long as I remembered. (I was about 3 at this stage)
They had one room, my brother and sister were in another, and my bed was in Mum & Dad’s room. Now this bedroom was at the front of the house, and there were street lights directly outside the window, which would make the room a lot lighter than it should be and I used to have trouble going to sleep.
One night my dad had left the radio on, quite unintentionally, but he realised the music playing had sent me off to sleep without any of the usual whining about the outside light.

The next morning he mentioned it to Granddad at the breakfast table.
I actually remember the conversation you know.
The exact words Granddad used were
“If it’s music she needs to go to sleep, it’s music she’ll have, nothing is too good for my little girl. I’ll fix it Jack, don’t you worry about that…I’ll fix it”

He went out that very day and bought home a present for his little girl.
A musical clock.
I can, to this day, see that clock in my minds eye.
It was around 20cm wide, and about 10cm high and deep and the most wonderful, rich cream colour you ever saw.
It had a little dial, with a green dot and a red dot.
You turned the dial to the green dot, the tune played once, turned it to the red dot, the tune played twice, and the only tune it played was Home on The Range.

How I loved that clock! I loved it so much that when I went to stay with my Aunty, I had to take it with me or I couldn’t sleep.
If we went on holidays, the clock came with us.
It was my pride and joy.
I couldn’t sleep without it, so it didn’t matter where we went, the clock came with us! Nothing meant as much to me as that clock!
I would turn the dial to the red dot every night as I got into bed, and would be asleep before it had played through the second time.

On January 26th 1964, my grandparents were coming home from seeing relatives down the coast, and their car left the road and hit a tree.
My Nan was killed instantly and my beloved granddad lingered 4 days with multiple broken bones, massive internal injuries and a skull fractured in 11 places before he was mercifully taken by the angels.

God, how I remember the grief that consumed me, so clearly!
It was a physical pain. I cried for days, and was totally inconsolable; wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t go near anybody, hid in corners, refused to go to school.
Until Mum thought to turn the dial of the clock to the red dot.
It hadn’t occurred to anybody to do this, even me.
I had locked myself in a cocoon of pain and grief.

The strains of Home on The Range sung to me from the bedroom.
I went in, picked up the clock and went to bed, pulling the blankets over my head.
Every time the clock stopped, I would turn the dial to the red dot, and I kept doing it for hours on end. It was almost like, if the clock was playing he was there with me.
I had to keep playing that tune or I would lose him forever!
Just a naive little girl who thought a song could keep him alive, not wanting to believe he was already gone.
Even now as I type the tears are falling, remembering the pain and loss I felt every time that clock stopped playing.

I continued to play it of a night for many, many years.
The dial always got turned to the red dot.

When I left home, it was under less than ideal conditions. I went to look for my beloved clock, but couldn’t find it. I was devastated!
Neither my father, or step mother, have ever admitted to hiding it, but I have my suspicions.

The last time I was down south and saw my dad, he told me he has something very special for me, but I wasn’t having it until my 60th birthday, or he passes away, whichever comes first. Needless to say I’m hoping it will be my 60th, and the ONLY thing I can think of is my clock.
I’m hoping it is, I just don’t know, and I still have a little while to wait.
But I will.
Hope is sweet.

Even today if I hear the tune, or the song, I cry like that little girl who grieved so badly for her beloved lost grandfather.
She lays dormant inside me, listening for her special tune.
Then she lives.
Someone said not long ago they thought perhaps there was magic in that clock.
They could have been right.

I firmly believe each and every one of us have a guardian angel on our shoulder.
I really hope it’s my Granddad looking over that very special little girl in our family, and that he sees her as his little angel.

Anything is possible, surely?
(~MS)

Blogiversary II

It was on February 22, 2005 that I first posted this.
It was read many times but never received a comment but it was my first tentative step into the whacky and obsessive world of blogging.
I like to think that people that visit here are appreciated and today is no exception.
I can’t imagine how drab my life would have been had it not been for my blog.
I love the writing, posting, editing, changing of templates (And Moe rolls her eyes {grin}), maipulating of widgets, uploading of custom banners; I love all of it.
But none of it would be worth anything if it weren’t for you.
Yeah, you.
The person reading this post right now.
That’s right. . . you.
I thank you from the bottom of my almost empty Guinness glass (the bottom of my heart seems a bit shallow right now).
You make me smile, think, laugh and obsessively look forward to this crazy hobby called blogging.
I pray you’ll stick around because I feel the best is yet to be.
A special thank you to the woman that allows me the time to be creative, my wife.
Blogging takes time. And she gives me all the time I need. That’s love.
I’ve put together a slide show of all the different artwork that has graced these pages over the past year or so.
It’s fairly short but fairly hip.
Click on my Blogiversary cake above and enjoy the show.
To all of you still reading, thank you.

~Michael

ps. it’s already the 22nd downunder, hence the early post =0)

Ode to the winter solstice

bumble

Click on the above ‘Bumble’ and be transported to a part of the world
where it’s sunny and 84 degrees (last time I checked)(Sydney, Australia).
If you live here in the Northeast, anything above 40 would feel warm and call for shorts and a t-shirt.
So click on the Bumble and check out my guest post called “When the Wind Blows“.
I thank you in advance.

~m

Fuzzroast and . . .

fuzzbox

A few things to tie up the year.
make sure you visit my good buddy Fuzz and check out my contribution to his roast.
Click on the fuzzbox above and be transported to a pretty funny post.

Also, just found out that WordPress is trying this new feature called ‘Snap‘.
It’s trial run is being introduced on 10% of the WP blogs.
I’m one of them.
I think they want me to feel special. Which is fine with me.
Hover over a hyperlink in my “Last Post” or any of the links below and you’ll see how Snap works. Pretty cool.

Lastly, a shoutout to some of the other poets and writers I missed that have made my blog so interesting in the past year:

Winterland, a blog of wonderful prose
Vancouver Calling, a weblog that’s has some great photos and writing
They call me crazy, the blog of Marty, a frequent commenter here at S&M
Lovely Red Rose, Lolly’s warm and cozy nook in the blogosphere
Flightpattern, one of the most intense blogs I’ve read this year

I thank all of you for making this year so great for me.
I appreciate your candor, incredible understanding and infinite wisdom.
You make me keep my eyes open to the world that surrounds me.
See you all next year.
Be safe, be well. . .

~Michael

Nov 7, 2006 - Guest Blogging, Life, Sports, Truth    4 Comments

Being an Aussie means. . .

roo

{I am going on ‘walkabout’ for a bit. My good friend Kelly from Spilling the Beans has graciously written this wonderful guest post. I’ll be back soon. Promise. btw- Kel loves comments. I mean that sincerely. 8)}

When Michael asked me to write a post for Smoke and Mirrors, I was both terribly flattered and terrified! After the initial shock, one discarded post and a suggestion on my part, it was agreed that a post titled “You know you’re Australian when…” would be written.
However, as you can see by both the new title, and the lack of any funny and informative list offering advice on how to tell whether you’re an Aussie or not, I decided against it.
If you want to see a list like that just search for it.
There are many of them out there, all with merit, some of them even disturbingly accurate….So I did what any true blue Aussie would do instead. I cheated.
I have cut and pasted a post I did a while back, then tweaked it a little.
Enjoy!

Being an Aussie means so much more than simply LIVING IN AUSTRALIA. It’s an attitude, a way of life. Not all Australians are Aussies, and not all Aussie’s live in Australia…

Being an Aussie means knowing that the term ‘mate’ has more meanings than a duck has feathers. It can be used in a friendly manner, as a term of endearment, sarcastically, with or without humor. It can be used as a general title for people you don’t know, or your nearest and dearest.
It such a part of our culture that when security staff at our Parliament House were banned from using the term, the uproar was so great the directive was rescinded almost immediately. It united the country as it hasn’t been united on a single issue for as long as I can remember.

Being an Aussie means that when Steven Bradbury won the gold medal for speed skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics, you couldn’t stop laughing for a bloody week, or been any prouder than if he were your own son.
He won fair and square and anyone who says he didn’t WIN, that everyone else LOST, is likely to end up with a shiner blacker than the ace of spades! Here’s a guy who was happy to sit back and HOPE that everyone else stuffed up because he figured he had no other chance of winning. Winning by simply being the last man standing is perfectly acceptable, and in this case just so damn funny to watch…

Being an Aussie means respecting the land on which we live. It will kill you in a heartbeat. Aussies understand and respect water. It can give life, and take it away just as quick. Considering the majority of Australians live near the coast is it any wonder than we have perfected lifesaving and are teaching the rest of the world? Yet we have more desert on this continent than not, and it will kill you within hours if you aren’t prepared.
Australia, a country of extremes…

Being an Aussie means helping out ANYONE who needs it.
Even the next door neighbour whose dog barks all night long, and throws empty stubbies over the fence every Friday night. One day you’re threatening to key his ’74 hotted up HJ, then the next, his house burns down and your offering him a beer and your couch to crash on if he needs it.
When it comes to a crisis, aussies will be the first one to offer you the shirt of their backs.

Being an Aussie means laughing at pretty much anything, particularly ourselves. In fact laughing is a must, if you don’t have a sense of humor, then you can’t really call yourself an Aussie. We laugh at our own pollies, but then how easy is that to do when they are real life caricatures?!

Being an Aussie means taking an interest in ANY sport in which we are WINNING.
We don’t want to know about losers, they suck.
When Australia won the America Cup, nobody knew what it was, until we won!
And to really show just how much sport is a part of our blood, the then Prime Minister, Mr Bob Hawke, said on national telly that any boss who sacked a worker who didn’t show up to work the next day is a ‘bloody mug.’
Kind of says it all doesn’t it?

Being an Aussie means knowing the power of the understatement. Terms like “gee, you think?” and “well DUH!” convey so much more than anything else you could possibly say.

Being an Aussie means many things to many different people.
But that’s the point.
There is not really any one icon, or character which sums up what it is to be Australian.
If you could roll Crocodile Dundee and his easy going, accepting attitude, Steve Irwin with his passion and enthusiastic larrakinism, a Lifeguard with his/her willingness to put their life on the line for someone they don’t know, and a stand up comedian all into one, then maybe, just maybe you might come a little close.
The iconic Aussie is constantly evolving, yet stays the same.
Australia is a country full of extremes, contradictions, simple ideals, and subtle complexities. The same can be said for those of us who call it home.

Take it easy,
Kelly – aka debambam
Spilling the Beans

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