Sunday, August 31, 2008

Childhood paradise

We all need a vision of Paradise, with a capital P, otherwise we would surely be tempted to step out of the rat race, in one way or another, politely if possible... like Amy Winehouse not turning up to sing in Paris. Return to sender, address unknown. Nobody's home...

Here's a fuzzy scene from one of my childhood visions of Paradise:

At the Mulligan's property at OBX Creek, among other things, I discovered a magic macadamia nut tree. There were three brothers in the vicinity: Athol, Stan and Norman. A small sawmill near the house had produced timber for the dinghy in the above photo, which had the sweet aroma of shellac. The brothers fiddled around with souped-up motor bikes that they raced on a dirt track at Bawden's Bridge over the Orara.

When I returned to Australia in 1967, with my wife and daughter, I was proud to cook dinner for everybody, in my parents' house at Southampton Road in South Grafton. I chose chicken. Athol Mulligan, observing the dish, said: "Billy, your chicken looks like it's been run over by a steamroller." And everybody christened my dish, instantaneously, Continental Chook.

Here at Gamone, in the company of Sophia, I still serve up Continental Chook from time to time... and I've often dreamt that the Mulligans of OBX Creek might drop in magically, one evening, as guests.

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