Thought I’d make this a regular post at the start of each week; Last Mondays’ Column (or LMC). So whenever I get a column printed in the paper, I’ll post it here a week later… sounds like a plan!
Got some good feedback for this one from a workmate who actually admitted he got a tear in his eye after reading it. My weekly scribblings are called “The Lighter Side of Life”… which means I’m probably not supposed to make people cry 🙂
At 5.30 am I lay in bed crying as a new workday loomed. Radio National had claimed another victim…
Now, I don’t make a habit of blubbering every morning before work, but this particular day was different. You see it was the week before ANZAC Day, and Radio National was running through the series of the poems of The Sentimental Bloke. Written in the early part of last century by C.J. Dennis, the poems tell the story about “The Bloke”, a ne’er do well living in Melbourne. The Bloke’s best mate is Ginger Mick, a drunken gambler who makes a living selling dead rabbits from a cart.
Now, I’d heard about the Sentimental Bloke in school, but the language, and slang of the early 1900’s can leave you scratching your head at times. I suppose The Bloke would be scratching his head today if he was resurrected and dumped amid a group of our up and coming ‘gangsta rappers’.
Anyway, The Bloke finds a girl, marries her and leaves the city and his mates behind. Ginger Mick finds a girl too, Rose, and she straightens him out. Eventually Mick stuns everyone by joining the army and sailing off to war. He ends up in Egypt, and he starts sending letters home to Rose and The Bloke. The collected poetry is called, “The Moods of Ginger Mick”.
Speaking of letters from the front, I’ve always loved the tale about the young soldier writing home to his distraught mother, “Dear Mum,” he writes, “because of the official war secrets act I can not reveal to you our whereabouts, but rest assured I am safe. Yesterday we visited the pyramids…”
Anyway, during the week I lay in bed and listened each morning to another one of Micks’ poems, and had a few silent chuckles in the pre-dawn light. He was a bit of a rogue and a bush philosopher our Mick, but army life agreed with him. He had been promoted and was toying with making a career out of military life.
Then one morning as I lay in bed eagerly awaiting Micks next instalment, the voice of the The Bloke came on, “Today the world went grey for me, and it went black for poor old Rose…”
A chill swept over me, “Please no!” I thought, “Not Mick! Not poor old Mick!”
Yep poor old Mick. He’d been killed in a heated battle during the Gallipoli campaign, and The Bloke was reading a letter from one of Micks’ mates telling him what happened. Well, I shed a tear for Mick, and his mates, and all the poor beggars who went off to serve King and Country and didn’t make it home.
I got up and tottered out of the house and into the yard. The sun was starting to rise in a clear sky and my eyes misted over again.
I set about getting ready for work in a reflective frame of mind. It’s easy to whinge about your lot in life, and the things that irk you throughout an average day, but I’d rather be getting ready for work every day than getting ready to ‘go over the top’ into a barrage of machine gun fire.
Later, as I pedalled off to work, I thought to myself, “I think I’ll switch back to 4CC* tomorrow morning.”
*4CC – a local a.m. radio station.