For Jen

G’Day Mob,

Today I felt like a Shetland in a Clydesdale harness as I dragged (literally) a fencing wire up a rocky hill; bitching, whingeing, puffing and sweating the whole way. Then I stopped and gave myself a stern talking to – I know someone who would give anything to be doing this today.

Back in the summer just gone we had one of those magical days on the river: the girls in canoes, the boys in a tinny, all chatting and laughing and pretending to fish. We had a new kid in our playground that day. She had left behind the city rat race and was settling into the much slower pace of Coolatai. She brought with her a smile as wide as the river and an attitude that said she would have a go at anything. That attitude came in handy.

As the sun dropped towards the western horizon we found ourselves several kilometres down river and about a two hour paddle from camp. But we are smart girls. We produced ropes that had been carefully hidden in the canoes and flung these at the boys in the boat. A tow upriver! Three canoes behind a 4HP motor.

There may have been skylarking, but suddenly there was an overturned canoe and a missing new friend. We collectively held our breath, all except Brian who dived from the boat to find her.

She surfaced moments later, a drowned rat, but still smiling, still laughing, attitude well in check.

That day lives long in our memories.

Tow 22

Jen is in hospital now. Has been for a while. Will be for a while longer. Having a rough time. I’m sorry I whinged and bitched today. I know my friend would love to be fencing with me. Get well soon, Jen; come and help me with this fence and once we’ve got that done I know a great spot on the river where we can go for a paddle.

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6 responses to “For Jen

  1. Beautifully written, Mandy! And I’m sure all your readers wish Jen a speedy recovery, and some more happy times at Rocky Springs.

  2. I think you can still have a bitch and a whinge and not feel too guilty. I hope that your friend is on the mend. I sure your love and friendship means the world to her. Jiltaroo xx

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