U for Under the Ground

I was able to write nearly all of my A to Z before April as I knew I would be going on a road trip sometime in that month.  However I was stuck on the letter U.  Somehow it didn’t fit in with anything I had written.  There was nothing left to write!

rcmil-ce-MurrayPinesCemetery_004
Murray Pines Cemetery  Film Victoria

My husband suggested Underground as in tunnels and dugouts in wartime but suddenly all I could see was a funeral*.  A crowd of people gathered at a cemetery.  The newly turned soil was red and glistening after a light shower.

Then my mind turned against it.  Ted can’t die yet. I have written all the posts to Z and they are mainly about him.  

I was pulled back again to the funeral.  I started to recognise some of the people.  There was Amy, head bowed, leaning on her son’s arm.  Her three daughters stood close as if to shield her from grief.  There were representatives from the RSL, the Golf Club, local council members and even a politician.  Many were blockies and their families who had known Ted since the Soldier Settler days.  My mother and father were standing at the back of the crowd, near the gate.

A man was reading at the graveside:

Ted gave his best to the community and was always ready to help a lame dog when the occasion rose.

What was my father thinking?  He was worried.  Ted had been his mentor.  It had been Ted’s idea that he start up the irrigation business and his advice and contacts had been invaluable.  He felt as if he had been set adrift.  Now that supplies had dried up he would have to move on, back to Sydney and somehow start again.

The man continued:

He was a most colourful personality, born a real humorist, a great entertainer and an intensely human character.  He radiated vitality and charm.

My mother was thoughtful.   Life was complicated.  She had admired Ted’s  Joie de vivre, although she didn’t know what that meant until he told her.  Now there was the child to love and nurture.  The sense of loss gave way to determination.  This child would grow up with an education.  She would have two parents to love and care for her. She would never be left with strangers who didn’t want her as Elsa had been.  Across the crowd she saw the tall figure of Dr Bothroyd.  She felt confident he would never disclose her secret to any living soul, not even her husband.

On an occasion like this I am tempted to ask – what were the qualities which endeared him to so many people?  In the first place I would say he had a strong, abiding, dominating sense of public duty.  He had the genius of common sense.  He possessed simplicity, courage, self denial and tenacious devotion up to the last moment of conscious life to work, to duty, and to service.

Elsa looked at her husband.  She took his arm, smiled and whispered softly, “Let’s go home to our baby”.

  • This is purely a piece of fiction and is only roughly based on actual fact.

 

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