Driving was a sort of reoccurring theme in our house.
Mum constantly told us we were driving her up the wall when our behaviours got too much for her. Which was more than we realised.
Dad had long argued that living with us kids and mum had driven him to drink. That was born out by his late Friday nights after he’d spent a week in the cabin of a semi driving Sydney to Brisbane.
Most days after work, mum would tell dad about our day and how we’d not listened to her and made her life a misery.
He’d say: “You’re driving a stake through her heart boys, she’ll be dead in no time if you don’t curb your ways. You only get one mother and if she goes who’s going to be driving you places then? Show her some appreciation.”
We tried, we really did, but when your brothers were mean shits what chance did we have?
My older brother Jeremy was different to the rest of us. He was a very driven character, he worked hard, studied, was ambitious and was driven in his pursuit of success, or as he claimed, every reason to get away from home. One day in his second hand Toyota Corolla he did just that. We lined the veranda and watched as he drove away. Mum was inconsolable. She saw one of her brood leaving the nest where the rest of us thought she would be pleased to see the back of any of us.
One Easter dad decided we all needed a holiday and so despite all the protests from mum, busy time of year and heavy traffic dad booked a camping site at the beach.
He dragged out the old tent and dusted it off, cleaned out the dead cockroaches and packed it ready to go. It was to be three nights, sleeping under the stars, our big getaway.
Dad even had the car serviced, and we were off on what he called: “At long last a holiday.”
Dad did all the driving. He said mum wasn’t experienced when it came to holiday driving.
Within an hour we’d hit the holiday traffic. Dad argued it was to be expected at this time of year. We crawled along for three hours; dad didn’t appear to be fazed by it all as he sang a variety of songs in a way that kept us guessing the actual tune.
We turned off at the sign to the beach, and dad then drove in circles trying to find our campsite.
Finally, he made a turn and drove down a rocky track with potholes everywhere until we reached ‘Herbie’s Camping Ground’. We were so pleased to get out of the car. In front of us was the roughest looking camping ground you could imagine, the magnificent ocean and the prospect of driving home in three days.