The Magnolia Tree:

It was under the Magnolia tree,

He loved me,

And our children played,

All three,

(and then four, five),

And the puppies leapt high,

Under the Magnolia tree.

We’d sit and talk for hours,

Under the Magnolia tree,

Butterflies & dreams & wishes,

And she’d listen,

Our beautiful old tree.

The seasons came & went,

And we aged,

But not she,

The children grew up & left,

But she stood strong,

Our Magnolia tree,

And even during the storm,

She was calm – our tree,

She would stand there,

As if to say,

“I’m still magnificent,

And you should still love me!”

How does she endure it all?

The seasons, the changes, the melee,

Does she miss me as much as I miss her,

My beauty, my magnolia tree?

I drove past the old house,

To see her one last time,

My old Magnolia tree,

She’s in full bloom as when,

I bought the house,

All of those years ago,

When she whispered to me.

Family holiday & writing assignment in far north tropical Queensland :)

FNQ Zac '16FNQ kayak '16

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More Snapshots of my life:

 

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The needlework that I saw at NGV almost made me wish I did that for a vocation instead of being a writer :)
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Just so much detail…

I recently left a luncheon because the guest next to me made a racist comment:

It’s true, this really happened a couple of weeks ago but I probably should start at the beginning. I had been seated next to a pleasant looking older woman who I didn’t know. She struck up a conversation with me and I could tell by the way that she spoke that she was a bit of a rough diamond: you know what I mean, she seemed kind hearted and funny enough but I had this vivid picture of her in my mind of someone who would go to footy games, swill beer, shout obscenities at the ref/umpire, eat meat pies with sauce straight from the brown, paper bag (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not who I am). 

 

That kind of thing doesn’t bother me because I’m nothing if not tolerant and I was not there to make judgements and come off as conceited: meeting new people is always fun and variety is the spice of life and all experiences help me in my work as a writer and poet. I live in a small country town and there are a lot of ‘country people’ who drive four wheel drives which are vehicles used to go out on the rough terrain and hunt etc. A lot of these vehicles have bumper stickers that say things like “No racism, no action,” which I find very baffling.

 

But back to the lunch guest: little alarm bells started to go off when she was obnoxious to the waiter – I felt sorry for him because he was just trying to do his job the best he could – and she kept aggressively trying to engage me in conversation when I was conversing with others; apparently she was being ignored.

 

It was in between the main meal and the dessert that the racist conversations started. Everyone had had a few drinks (I’ d had a few sips of champagne only to fit in but I don’t really like alchohol) by then and people started to relax. I have to remind myself at times like this that everyone’s entitled to their opinions and that of course they don’t know how passionately I feel about racism and so I just let it wash over me like water off a duck’s back and remain silent. But then this guest next to me made a very derogatory remark about a whole race of people: I won’t re-tell the entire conversation because I don’t want to offend anyone but suffice it to say that she used the word “ragtop.” I turned to my husband and told him it was time to leave.

 

I’ve learnt this in the Italian community: the ambience at mealtimes is to be preserved at all costs and being such a loving, peaceful people if someone steps out of the boundaries of politeness and civility the host or the offended party will announce that they are “going outside to get some air,” or, if they are offended in any severe way they will make an excuse to leave. Italians don’t go for the jugular (not in my experience anyway): they don’t use their words to offend or retaliate but they do use their actions to make a point – drive their message home. 

 

I don’t know if she, the racist guest, took my hint and I’ll probably never see her again (one hopes) but these days I’m all about trying to build awareness for my social causes one of which is racism which is why I touch on this subject in my second children’s book The Blue Seal Of Trinity Cove. You’ll never find me out picketing in the street or entering into heated debates on the subject: I prefer to leave just a little, subtle clue in the mind’s of others that might have them later on thinking to themselves, “gosh, that Linda seemed so nice and kind and funny and yet when I started making racist jokes she just clammed up and then left – maybe I should keep my mouth shut a bit more in the future.” And you never know, maybe some of the bigots that have been taught to hate since birth will actually rethink their entire belief system on the subject, that’s what I pray for anyway.

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WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING LATELY:

As you know I went back to work last week and while I was staring out of the tearoom window from the shop it occurred to me that we have this lovely view that we just take for granted – it’s a wild and tangled mess, a footprint of Mother Nature, and all of the little purple wildflowers were sitting up and smiling at me. Then on the weekend I took myself off for a long walk at Badger Weir: the creek was flowing so fast and full that it had broken the banks in places and – drumroll please – I was lucky enough to hear the beautiful repertoire of a lyrebird (they have many bird calls stolen from other bird types) and caught a glimpse of it before it scurried away into the forest (no photo, sorry).

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