My dad was a dreamer, which was at odds with the fact he didn’t sleep all that well.
In the middle of the night, he’d be awake and would often go into the shed and tinker with his car. He loved trying to understand how it worked and what each component was for and what happened when you removed one bit. Usually, it meant the car didn’t run.
That didn’t stop him speculating about what might happen if he exchanged bit for another. Mum was always on at him to leave the car alone as she was afraid there’d be an emergency and the car would be in pieces, and one of us might die because she couldn’t get us to the hospital.
Mum and dad had a real love affair. They loved each other with a passion. They gave each other little gifts and often left notes around the house professing their love. Looking back, it was very sweet the way they interacted, one minute critical of each other, the next bestowing love and affection.
Mum had a bike she rode everywhere, it was old but reliable and didn’t need dad’s input to keep it going.
She had a habit of ringing the rusty bell on the handlebars as she rode into our driveway. I think to warn us she was home and to stop doing whatever it was that she’d find irritating and tidy the kitchen if we’d been making any sort of mess.
This happened most afternoons as she’d ride down to the butchers to get some meat for dinner, a few vegetables from the supermarket and a good chin wag with Mrs Gorring at the wool shop.
Once home, it was all hands on deck as she prepared the dinner. We each had a role to play, peeling, chopping, and stoking the fire. With the production of the evening meal under way she’d send out a message to dad to leave the car alone, it was going fine yesterday, but he’d discovered a knock in the engine today, wash up and get ready to eat.
Dad would come in all enthusiastic for dinner and at the same time start telling mum about his dream to get a new car, one that was automatic, easy to drive and wouldn’t need as much attention as his current one.
Mum would listen and say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’d have that one in pieces the first night, you wouldn’t be able to help yourself.”
Dad would take on board her criticism and reluctantly agree. The subject would be put aside, grace said and dinner began with us kids telling them about our day, our teachers and the dreams we had.