The Meeting at Brumby Creek.
Even bush villages had a vibrant political life. A picture of bush politics at work.
The Brumby Creek Tales pdf and e-pub edns.
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Ernie Rider and Gormless Knaves: How to Rob an Honest Thief
To be published this week.
It is a very enjoyable story: It was always going to happen if they attempted to wear those kind of lives for very long.
The reader will be interested to learn that this one is a true story, in central featurescts. Only the names, dates and places have been altered to protect the innocent and the convicted who have paid that particular debt to society.
The Lives and Deaths of Alfred Rider.
Three stories to be published by the end of July 2015
Someone said “So why not have the meeting on the bank of the creek inside H.Green’s gate.” And so it was settled.
Herb and Harriet Green rose to meet them cheerily and invited them to be seated on chairs placed in the shade where Parson and Glenda Hillfoyle and the young Catholic Priest also sat.
“Now watch that young priest” Maggie O’Hara advised Mary Latham, “much too familiar with that woman and who knows what other women in the district.”
But she was interrupted by the booming voice of Geo Morgan who stood upon the rear of McFee’s hay-cart. Morgan contemplated an auctioneer’s line of business as an adjunct to the grocery and welcomed any opportunity for public speaking and voice training.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve told young Milligan and Harris to mind the horses and tether them to the fence rail. I don’t doubt you’ll all have feed bags for them.”
“Oo, Mickey, did yer hear that?” Jamie whispered, to Michael Harris. “They’re going to give us feed bags.”
The pair laughed and mimicked the speaker as they went about their horse duties.
“Hey,” said Mickey, “I got grandpa’s old backy pouch and cigarette papers. We can have a bit of a smoke down the creek, while they yabber away.”
*Won’t he know?”
“Nah! We gave him a new one for Christmas.”
From the hay cart, the would-be-auctioneer had the attention of the assembled village folk, “Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, about the north-south road.” Geo Morgan began. “I’m not a man for spreading falsehoods or to give a man a bad name, but every time we have proposed the building of the new northern road, the elected Council has spent the money instead, upon the east west road, and, though I hesitate to say it, its all to make themselves more comfortable; to speed their entry into the heart of our land and to spread the power of the council by rapid transport into the districts. And we’ll have an army of rabbit and weed inspectors, not to say licensing officials descending down upon us.”
There was a murmur of troubled agreement. Morgan had skilfully used the images of power-mongering that were in the papers each week about the German Chancellor, on behalf of the Kaiser Wilhelm, laying road and rail tracks where his troops would follow at the slightest pretense. There was a morbid fear of losing control to Bringle and other larger centres as they cornered the commercial growth and did it on the Council rates paid by all.
McFee spoke up. “If we don’t have a north-south road, there will never be a feed merchant let alone a hospital and government center here at the Creek.”
Morgan welcomed the interjection for which he had planted McFee: and then there was Maggie O’Hara; “You women know, though the men might be embarrassed at me saying, but its got to be said. There’ll be no more babies born here without a local doctor and midwife, and the men know what that means, don’t they!”
There was a chorus of female support and some laughed. The Parson rubbed his forehead and his pretty wife blushed.
“She’s very pregnant.” Mary Latham confided, quite unnecessarily, to her friend.
Down the creek, two boys were enjoying the occasion, “Lucky you an’ me got in first.” Mickey sniggered quietly to his friend.
The young Priest was on his feet.
“We’ll have none of your comments, such as are demeaning of motherhood.” he said angrily to Maggie O’Hara.
Mr Hillfoyle agreed. “Nobody denies the importance of medical and nursing services, but we’ll not make marriage and motherhood into sordid issues of local politics.”
Maggie and her female friends who had giggled moments ago were noticeably chastened, and the young Priest had made his mark. Ecumenical cooperation had taken a great leap forward at the Creek
Mary Latham sympathized with Glenda, so obviously pregnant and embarrassed. “The impertinence of that O’Hara woman!” she remarked to whoever would listen.
Geo Morgan had not planned this particular intervention and was annoyed at the diversion of his presentation. The sarcasm was plain as he bid his audience to return the attention to “real issues.”
And the new teacher will educate them all:
The WWW Hammond School at Brumby Creek
She shook his hand again as they returned to the verandah, “Its been lovely to meet you Mr. Hammond.”
“You too. Might we meet again after school tomorrow?”
“Yes. That would be nice. Goodbye for now.”
“Goodbye Miss Wilson.”
Carmel skipped down the steps and returned to the taxi where Charlie and Cathy waited.
It was Cathy who spoke first. “You have worked a magic spell on him in just ten minutes.”
Charlie agreed. “It certainly was a different man who saw you off.”
“Mmm! I think we can get along very nicely. Next, we are going to erect a large sign in front of the school. It will read;
Welcome to the W.W.W. Hammond Brumby Creek School.
”Will you be allowed to do that?
“Of course I will, but if they don’t agree, they will never know!”
The arrival of a bishop at the Creek was a torrid time for his host and hostess.
The Bishop at Brumby Creek
He turned reluctantly to Geo Morgan’s home, one that he would rather not have visited today because of the overwhelming personalities of its inhabitants.
“Well, I trust you have come to us first.” said Mrs Geo Morgan, otherwise known as ‘Tilley’. “Of course we have a spare bed and a fine one it is too.”
Graham wanted to say, with a little sarcasm, “yes, of course you do and yes I did” but he thanked her kindly. He thought ‘Tilley,’ a good name for a horse, but he preferred ‘Biddie’ both the name and the… . “Now stop that!” he told himself.
Geo Morgan, the grocer, auctioneer, the man who-would-be-Mayor, rose from his chair by the fire when he heard the voices at his front door.
“Well Reverend, come in, don’t stand out in the darkness” he protested around his wife’s large shoulder. “Tilley, invite the Reverend in, don’t just stand there. You are blocking the door.”
This was just as Graham expected. If they did have a suitable bed, it might take an hour. Reluctantly, he stepped into the hall and past Tilley who was now blathering on about who had slept in the bed last year and what did he have with his cup of tea? He tried to protest that he required no cup of tea just now, but of course, it would only take a minute and then he found himself being transported to the lounge where Geo Morgan opened the conversation about the building of the Parish rectory, his own substantial contributions, not just in money but in endless hours of Parish Committee meetings. Graham thanked the Lord that he had been spared the excitement of that period in the parish.
With the tea and a too-large-slice of cake consumed and Geo’s thoughts about the future of the church in this growing parish, Graham was shepherded around the home to the room where the bed was kept. The room itself was as large as half of the rectory and in its middle stood the bed with ornately carved bedposts. It was high and came with a very substantial mattress. At first impression, Graham thought it would be impossible to move it to William’s small room, but Geo would not be defeated and the Tilley had set her mind against the Bishop and his wife sleeping in any other bed.
“Leave it to me.” Protested Geo.
“Yes, Geo will have some men move it in and I’ll have some of the parish ladies make it up. We can’t have your poor wife doing these chores, and what about meals? Couldn’t we have the Bishop and his wife come here for a Sunday dinner. We always do it well with a large lamb roast or a pork leg if preferred. Which would the Bishop prefer…?
Graham thanked her but assured her that the Pastor and his wife must manage the hospitality; it was part of the duties and providing dinner for the Bishop was a rather special responsibility for the clergy and spouses. He neatly ducked the next proposition by assuring the Morgans that the afternoon would be taken up with Church business. No afternoon tea either!
With elaborate assurances of timely delivery of the bed, Graham was allowed to leave. It had been two hours by the time he un-harnessed and fed the horse. Glenda was relieved but sorry his evening meal had spoiled. “What could have kept you out so long on a Friday evening?”
Graham began to explain the course of events that culminated with the visit to the Morgans.
“Oh, you had to go there!” she said. No other explanation needed.
But she was alarmed when he told her about the Morgan’s men arriving with a huge double bed on Saturday. “Would it fit? Why had they needed to deliver it so soon?” she asked,
Glenda Hillfoyle, the city girl coping with the rural life, young mother and the villager loved and admired by all; she coped with everything except the smothering attentions of Tilley Morgan. She would be delighted when Carmel, the new school teacher came to town. Young women of the same age, one married, the other still recovering from family tragedy; different religious backgrounds, yet hearts so big that they became natural dear friends. They were the perfect match for a wonderful new story of friendship.
That’s a story that John D’Mille yearns to write but it will need a woman’s special touch. So lucky is he to have the perfect wife, daughter and grand-daughters to make it happen, soon!