Friday, 25 April 2008

Family!

Today I am thankful for ... Family! Now, there are probably some days when I don't feel QUITE so thankful for my family, but that's what family's all about!!! So, what has made me focus on family today? A couple of things.

The first, was the chance I had last night to catch up with my little bro. He is three years younger than me and was christened Paul James Menzies Kippen (being the boy of the family, he copped all the 'family' names! Tee! Hee! Hee!), but as often as not, I call him 'Stretch'. Now there would be some who would think this is because he's been taller than me since he was about 13, but they'd be wrong! I in fact gave him this nick-name after the rubber chicken that Garfield often uses to fool/clobber/harass Oddie with in the "Garfield" comics, because when he was growing up, Paul was all gangly arms and legs, so I thought he looked like ... a rubber chicken! Tee! Hee! Hee! I think it was partly an older sister tormenting a younger brother, but also part frustration that he took after the tall, thin side of the family, while I took after the short podgy one! SIGH!! However, despite the usual sibling bickering as kids, we have always been great mates, though we don't get to see each other often these days. You see, he lives in Alice Springs! No, we didn't take a quick flight to our continent's centre to see him, he was in Brisbane for a work training course, so we ducked down for dinner and late night shopping to catch up. But first thing on the agenda was ... a big bear hug!


As you can see, there isn't a great deal of family resemblance - until you put our father between us!!! Each of us look like Dad in certain facial features, so he's the link between us.

We had a great time roaming Garden City shopping centre, checking out books, movies and music - three passions we share! We then found a coffee shop to sit and chat, before adjourning to his motel to chat some more ... in fact, it was about 11pm before we left Brisbane to drive the hour and a half home - but worth it! Paul and I chat regularly on the phone, but in-person catch ups are always so much nicer!

So ... that was the first thing to make me think of family. The second is, today is Anzac Day. For my overseas visitors, it's a memorial day commemorating Australian and New Zealand troops landing at the beach of Galipolli in World War I, but it also recognises the contributions of servicemen and women from that time to today. So, that makes me think of my Mum's father, my Gramps. Here's a photo of him in his uniform.


Isn't he handsome - and so young!! Gramps was posted to New Guinea where he helped build airfields. For many years, he wouldn't talk about his time in the army much, it was only in later years that he started to tell a few stories. One that he told was when they were given the task of extending a runway of an airfield and the only way this could be done was to re-claim some swamp area. He said they were in the middle of pushing a load of dirt to dump into the boggy area to build it up, when the air raid siren went. Well, he said men were running everywhere, bolting for the nearest shelter - including the driver of the bulldozer who jumped out of the machine and left it zig-zagging drunkenly along the runway! Apparently it took them a couple of days to get it out of the swamp after it had run off the end!! At the time, however, Gramps found himself running next to the dozer driver, a six foot plus, Afro-American serviceman who, as he was running, called out loud, "Lord! If you keep pickin' up mah feet, I sure 'nuff'll keep puttin' 'em down!" I always get a funny mental picture from this story!!

Unfortunately, Gramps passed away suddenly before I had a chance to hear all of his stories and I still miss him. Being a returned serviceman, the 'Last Post' was sounded at his funeral and so today, and any other time I hear that bugle, I think of my Gramps.

So ... today, I am thankful for ... FAMILY! The good, the bad, the ugly, the funny, the heartwarming, the heartbreaking, the unspoken but unreserved support and love that 'Family' is to me. Whatever you're doing today, I hope you get to share it with at least some of your family. Til next time, Bear Hugs!

CHEERS!
KRIS

1 comment:

willowberry designs said...

Oh Kris, what a lovely memory of your Gramps! My Dad was in the airforce in Darwin when it was bombed and the last post was played at his funeral in 2001. Special memories hey.....
Beautiful musings about families as well!
seeya
Cheryl

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