There were things about our recent trip to the far north-west of Australia that triggered feelings of nostalgia for the life of my childhood. Even sleeping under the stars, which I was lucky enough to do once with my grandfather, on a hot country night. He set up a tarpaulin on the lawn under the clothesline, carefully folded it to protect us from dew, and no doubt I was asleep in minutes, after gazing in wonder at the brilliant sky. Quite like sleeping in swags during our boat trip!
This is the old country town where I lived with my grandparents, in the central west of NSW. Progress passed it by, so the beautiful old buildings are still there, some empty, some in use, but mostly unchanged for nearly a hundred years. When I walked down this street with my grandmother every Friday afternoon she spoke to almost everyone, and seemed to be constantly telling me “She is your cousin!” Nana was one of 12 children, and her parents both came from large families, so I did have lot of relatives in town, without considering my grandfather’s side, another populous lot.
Pop had a huge vegetable garden, and grew grapes, plums, apples, pears, and oranges. I remember his meticulous garden beds, and the stream of shoppers coming to our gate to buy tomatoes and other produce. He also grew sunflowers for seed, to feed the caged parrots they kept. No doubt the chooks got some too, after most of the seed had been saved.
When I see a cart pulled by draught horses I always remember my great-uncle Sam Rice, my grandfather’s uncle. He lived down the road a little, where I could run down to see him after school, hopping through the cow pats and thistles in his paddock with my tough bare feet. I would watch him milking the cows, or climb about in the hay loft, or help Aunty Til separate the cream from the milk, or churn the butter. One special day Uncle Sam called at our gate for me with his horse and cart. He was going down town to a block where he grew corn. I went along for the ride, not that I was any help harvesting corn cobs and loading the wagon. What a thrill to ride beside him on the cart, so high up and important, with the sweet smells of the huge horse and the fresh corn. It stayed in my memory like a glimpse of heaven!
This post is for the Weekly Photo Challenge, where Cheri says ‘Sometimes, we long for the past: for moments we want to remember or recapture. The good times. The golden years. Or perhaps we’re homesick, or longing for something — or someone — that might have been.’