This week phylor asks us to: Weave a tale about a new holiday you’d add to the calendar.
In Australia there’s a new national holiday. Originally it was to be called Black Cockatoo Day but some of the politically conscious within the community thought this was a tad racist so it just became Cockatoo Day.
The purpose of Cockatoo day is to celebrate all things Australian. The population have embraced it with a passion. There are Cockatoo Day house parties, street parties, school fetes, community events, flag raising, damper competitions and street parades in all major cities.
Cockatoo Day in my community is unique and exciting.
A lot happens along Morpeth Road. We all go to Marge Wilson’s for breakfast, of bacon and eggs, toast and vegemite, the whole street turns up and Marge loves every minute as she slaps down the bacon on her portable BBQ and cracks egg after egg all the while chatting to this one or that one.
The morning tea is at Madge Schafer’s; Madge makes the best scones you’ll ever eat. So along with copious cups of tea and the scones drowned in strawberry jam and cream we enjoy a right royal gathering.
Lunch has always been at Pop Humphries place. Pop has a big backyard and we all crowd in, his BBQ heating up as he opens up eskies of beer and a few bottles of wine. Lunch is more your beer type meal but Pop knows there are a few in the street who go for a wine at any time of the day.
So with his BBQ smoking, Pop prepares the sausages for the traditional sausage sizzle. That’s a sausage on a bun with whatever salad you like, fried onions and lashings of tomato sauce. Its been the joke in our street over the years that you can have anything you like for lunch at Pop’s so long as it a sausage sandwich.
Having spent a busy morning we all retire to our respective homes for the compulsory afternoon nap. Everyone is pretty full from the mornings feasting and we know that the evening’s events are going to take their toll if we are not prepared for them.
The evening begins and ends in Tim and Nelly Weston’s back yard. They have a large space and Tim mounts his BBQ on a deck he especially built for this very event.
Everyone brings their own version of a Cockatoo Day dinner and the food is spread out so everyone can share in the variety of food that is supplied.
Tim’s specialty is a roast lamb that he slow cooks on his BBQ, along with baked veges it is a favourite among so many in our street. There are also numerous casseroles and Asian dishes brought by the Wang Ho family at Number 28 and their cousins the Hang Wo family who always bring the most succulent spring rolls and dim sims.
But it’s the desserts that shine on this night. There’s always a near competition between some of the ladies, Peggy Allan’s lamingtons and Joyce Hyde’s caramel slice have always been winners but everyone holds their breath for when Nanna Cook brings out her famous apple pies. Nanna has been everyone’s Nanna as long as I can remember in the same way, as Pop is everyone’s Pop.
At ten p.m. we gather at Tim’s back fence to watch the fireworks over the back fields put on my the towns Cockatoo Day pyrotechnic association. It always spectacular and draws ohhs and ahhs from all assembled.
The final event of the night is the ceremonial toast to Cockatoo Day and what it means to all of us.
Its that moment when we all reflect on what it means to be an Aussie, how lucky we are to live in such a blessed country and how fortunate we have been to have not heard the cockatoos over our street that day as they have as every says only two screeches, loud and louder.
With that complete we pack our things, help Tim and Nelly clean up their yard and head for home with everyone agreeing it’s been another bonzer Cockatoo Day.