"Heirlooms we don't have in our family. But stories we've got." ~ Rose Cherin
Liddy scored herself a long weekend so we took the opportunity to head north to my mother, who has a birthday shortly. My mother is a tiny woman, much, much smaller than I am. We all tower over her. She is also a very private person ~ though she reads here & occasionally sees her life go up in *Lights* & pings & other shiny things! Goodness knows what she thinks.
Growing up it was my father who told the stories ~ to be consumed with a liberal pinch of salt. Accuracy is not a family story~telling trait. My aunt told the best stories of all ~ a smattering of accuracy to a pound's worth of drama & I fear Ditz & I have inherited the tendency. It makes the more accurate of us inordinately wild because, you know, that's not how it really was ~ but it's more fun our way!
However since dad died mum's been telling her stories. Perhaps because she & Liddy are so alike I sometimes think Liddy is more like her ma than she is like me. For the first time I am hearing stories, not of her childhood, but of her life as a young single woman in the Brisbane when the night~life shut down at 5pm when the workers went home. Brisbane was a standing joke around Australia for years & years because it really was little more than an overgrown country town ~ & a backward country town at that. We have heard mum's version of how she & my dad met ~ as opposed to dad's more highly coloured version. I feel my girls are really getting to know their grandmother as a person, & not just as their *ma*, which is such a blessing: for Liddy because she sometimes feels lost in the bizarre world Ditz & I inhabit; Ditz because there is a solid stability in ma's past that can help ground her flights of fantasy.
Ma is first generation Australian, one reason I think I feel disconnected from early Australian history & why the whole debacle with indigenous Australians makes me so wild. Immigration history is a *whole 'nother story*. Poppy might have left Scotland but Scotland never left him & I can hear the echos of it still in my mother's stories because Poppy was a Scotsman till the day he died.
So when ma tentatively suggested we might like to hear the Brisbane Police Pipe & Drums band Ditz & I were charmed. Ditz harbours a secret desire to learn the pipes. Perish the thought after hearing her learn the violin! I happen to like pipe music, even when in a confined space inside. Liddy was a little less enthusiastic but being the easy~going young lady she is she happily agreed to come along. The best quote of the day belongs to Lid. As the band prepared to fall out Liddy leaned across to me & said, 'Haven't they got one more song to play?'
'Don't think so,' I answered but Liddy was insistent.
'Aren't they going to play Waltzing Matilda, then?'
Ditz & I stared at her because the very last song the band had played was ...yep! Waltzing Matilda! lol. Obviously unrecognizable when played on the bagpipes!
Actually Liddy was having a *blonde day* because she said to me earlier, 'Are they real police? Could they arrest me?' & I assured her yes, & yes, which made her rather nervous. As it turns out I was wrong. I would have been right once but as band members found it difficult to get promotion the police band is now professional musicians.
Yeah, I got chatting later with one of our kilted laddies, though, as it happens, not about the police force, [that was someone else] but about William Barton & how similar didgeridoos & bagpipes are, using, as they do, the same breathing technique & Willie has played with the police band. I think he's played with just about anybody who's anybody at all in the music world, including the big symphony bands. Interesting man.
None of us were real keen on coming home again. It was lovely to walk along the winter beach. The sun was out, there was almost no wind, & the surf was muted. The waves rolled gently on to the beach & the warmth soaked deep into our winter cold bones. Ditz & I are now on a school break but Liddy is back at work today, poor thing.