Thursday Thoughts–Open Crowd

[With life returning to some semblance of normality, a post from the pre-pandemic past…]

The Kingdom of God is Like…

A dilemma many of us have faced, maybe it’s a wedding, or a party — we want to invite all our friends and family, but can we? Is it possible to have an open invitation without the situation getting out of hand?

I remember as a young teenager being upset because my older brother received invitations to parties and not me. I remember standing at the kitchen counter, invitation to my brother in hand and complaining, ‘It’s not fair. I’m friends with them too. Why wasn’t I invited?’

‘Stop complaining,’ my mum would say, ‘your time will come.’

Didn’t help that our youth group friends had a saying: ‘You can’t have a party without my brother.’

Hey, I’m the sociable extrovert here! My brother’s the shy awkward type who prefers staying in his room making telescopes and short-wave radios.

*[Photo 1: You Can’t have a party without Rick © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger circa 1985]

So, I lived with these multiple rejections as I believed them to be…

…Until one day, I collected the mail from the letterbox. What’s this? A letter for me? I tore it open and read:

‘Dear Lee-Anne,

                                    You’re invited to ***’s birthday party…’

Huh? I re-read the invitation. Must be a mistake. Where’s my brother’s name? Invitations always had my brother’s name attached, and occasionally my name included, especially where the youth group friends were concerned. Her invite made my teenage decade, for once, she invited me and not my brother.

But…what if there were parties or celebrations without restrictions on who’s in and who’s out? What if all who want to be invited could be invited? Are we inviting trouble if we make an event open to all?

I want to celebrate my late-Grandmother who demonstrated this openness and was successful. She looked outward at those in need of friendship and love. Her table was never too small and somehow, no matter the number of guests she had for Sunday lunch, she always made the food stretch. Something of the loaves and fishes plus Jesus’ effect. (Read in the Bible how Jesus feeds the 5000. Matthew 14:13 – 21)

*[Photo 2: Grandma’s table © L.M. Kling 2019]

So that’s all very well and good opening our homes and sharing dinner with others. But back to the party or community event idea. Is it possible to have a party without restrictions on who and how many come without fear of it getting out of control?

I believe it is possible—when we look beyond our limitations and look to God and others to enable us to achieve success; a piece of God’s Kingdom where all people are welcome, all people are valued and seen. And where those running such an event demonstrate the values of justice, mercy and compassion. With the right training, this type of event can provide a safe and caring environment.

Over the years I have participated in open-crowd events, often taking place in parks. There’s usually a variety of fun activities such as puzzles, stilts, giant snakes and ladders game, and a group game for all ages. People may join in if they want to, or just watch if they prefer. No one’s forced to join in. Even so, people from the event team connect with the on-lookers, getting to know them and by the end of the afternoon, they will be smiling and chatting with team members.

*[Photo 3: Mr. K Clown at a community Festival © L.M. Kling 2010]

One time, two of my friends whom I’d brought along joined, for the first time, in the group game of water-balloon volleyball. They had so much fun, their faces were glowing.

‘I’m so glad I joined in,’ one said. ‘If I’d sat and watched, I would’ve regretted it. It was so much fun.’

My other friend said, ‘We enjoyed the event so much and before we knew it, the time had come to pack up and go.’

*[Photo 4: Water-balloon volleyball © L.M. Kling 2010]

This welcoming experience, I think gives a glimpse of God’s Kingdom—it’s free and available to all who want to join in and engage with others in the community. Did I say it’s free? There is a cost—a change in our world view—a change from an inward-looking one where we are the centre of our universe, to an outward-looking one where we see others and value others and see that with others (and God) our perceived weaknesses become our strength.

*[Photo 5: Tug-of-War © L.M. Kling 2012]

We have a choice. We could stay safe in our “castle” reinforcing the walls to guard against fear and failure, and so leave others to stay isolated in their “castles”. Or we can look outwards, break out of our “castles”, reach out and connect with others making our communities better places to live.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2019; Updated 2022

Feature Photo: Keep the ball in the air — Willunga Almond Blossom Festival © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2010

***

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Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

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***

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T-Team with Mr. B–School in the Centre

The T-Team with Mr. B (29)

A Lesson With Mr. C

[Extract from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.]

This week a lesson on teaching in the bush. While Mr T, in the 1950’s, taught the Arunda students in a classroom, Mrs T learned by School of the Air, and in the 1970’s Mr C taught the Arunda children in their camps out bush…And Mr B slept in and missed out.

Mr. C greeted us. He stood on the dusty verge out the front of the old hospital. He grinned and waved at us. Still the Year Eight Maths teacher I remembered from last year at College. Just more tanned, making his blonde hair blonder, and he sported a trim moustache and beard. That year he’d taken up a position as teacher to the Aranda people, owners of the land around Hermannsburg.

*[Photos 1 & 2: Dad remembered how school in Hermannsburg was in the 1950’s © S.O. Gross circa 1955 (1), & C.D. Trudinger (2)]

Dad looked at his watch. ‘Oh, eight-thirty. I hope we aren’t too late.’

‘Pff!’ Mr. C laughed. ‘Don’t worry about it. The people ‘round here don’t fuss about time.’

Dad checked his watch and after tapping his pocket, pulled out the keys for the Rover. ‘So, we’ll follow you?’

‘You can do that,’ Mr. C replied. He turned to Richard and me. ‘Do you want a ride on the “Dune Buggy”?’

*[Photo 3: With mist in his eye, Dad remembered the common mode of transport for this rough terrain (horse or donkey) for his Arunda students in the 1950’s, and the clay model one of his students had made © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

My brother and I looked at each other, then at Mr. C who smiled at us and we nodded.

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I’ve always wanted to ride in a Dune Buggy.’ I imagined an all-terrain vehicle like I’d seen in Lost in Space.

Dad drove us away from the settlement and out into the bush where Mr. C had parked his “Dune Buggy”.

‘What is it?’ I asked as I approached this vehicle with no roof and four huge tyres. ‘Is this a mini-moke?’

‘Not exactly,’ Mr. C said. ‘But it sure goes over everything. Nothing stops my “Dune Buggy”.’

Richard and I climbed on board. I sat in the front and Richard in the back. Within seconds Mr. C had his “Dune Buggy” flying over humps and bumps of the dunes and lumps of spinifex. What an adventure that was! After sailing through the desert in the easy-riding Dune Buggy, I wanted one too. Way behind, Dad followed in the cumbersome Land Rover.

*[Photo 4: Many years later in Coles Bay, Tasmania Mrs T and I rode a quadbike, perhaps a descendant of the “dune-buggy” © S. Jaeschke 2011]

Mr. C stopped. A boy emerged from the shade of a Mulga tree and climbed on board the “Dune Buggy”. He sat next to Richard and he clutched the side of the buggy.

Mr. C turned and glanced at him. ‘You ready?’

The boy looked at his knees and nodded.

The teacher revved the engine and again the “Dune Buggy” skipped over the terrain.

I enjoyed the wind in my face and the scenery of grey-green salt bushes, lemon-tinted spinifex, and patches of sienna-coloured sand flit past.

*[Photo 5: Arunda Country from Gosse Range lookout © L.M. Kling 2013]

Mr. C slowed and then with the Buggy chugging, parked near a collection of structures made of wooden poles with corrugated iron leaning up against them. The Rover trundled up a nearby track and halted behind the “Dune Buggy”. Dad climbed out and strode up to us.

‘Where are we?’ I asked. The place looked deserted.

‘This is an elder’s camp,’ Mr. C said. He spoke to Dad. ‘Do you remember N?’

‘Of course,’ Dad replied. ‘He was one of my best students.’

A man emerged from one of the humpies and walked up to Dad and Mr. C. Dad grinned and shifted his weight from one leg to the other. He rubbed his hands together.

N raised his arms and exclaimed, ‘Ah, Dabid!’

Dad and N hugged and then patted each other on the back. After Dad introduced us to N with handshakes all round, Mr. C showed us his “classroom”.

Richard and I hung back and stared. Kids darted in and around a shelter; a metal frame with a tin roof for shade. There were a few laminated desks and plastic chairs, but no student sat on the chairs or at the tables. Junk—papers, bottles, pencils and toys—littered the floor of desert sand. Mr. C called a few of the children together to teach, but I figured to round up all of them would be a challenge. What a contrast to my Maths teacher’s previous appointment at College!

[Photo 6: School for the Arunda 1977 © C.D. Trudinger 1977] 

‘May I take a photo?’ Dad asked. At last, he finds something photo-worthy?

‘Sure,’ Mr. C said.

‘Is this—school?’ I almost choked on the word, “school”.

‘Yes. One of them.’

‘Huh?’

‘Yes, I go to all the different camps and teach the kids in the camps. It’s impossible to get them all to come to Hermannsburg. So, I go out to them.’

Dad wandered around the camp, snapping shots of the lean-to classroom, the kids sitting on chairs at their desks—briefly, and Mr. C “teaching” a couple of kids who hung around him. And I wondered how much learning was taking place.

‘It’s hard,’ Mr. C said as Dad packed away his camera. ‘But they weren’t coming to one central place. Not like I guess it was in the old days when you were there.’

‘Nah, those were the good ol’ days,’ Dad said.

‘The government has given funding for teachers like us to go to the camps. Even then, it’s hard. The kids, if they’re out hunting with their family, don’t turn up.’ He nodded at the rabble. ‘Good turn up today. Sometimes, I’ll go to a camp, and there’s no one there.’

*[Photo 7: Like a Namatjira Painting © L.M. Kling 2013]

Another Aranda man, tall, and solid, somewhere in his forties, strolled up to us. Dad and this man conversed in the Aranda language. Dad turned to us, his mouth spread in a broad smile.

‘What?’ I asked.

‘This is SV,’ Dad said. ‘He wants to be our guide when we go out West to Mt. Liebig.’

‘Oh, good.’

‘Yes, we need a guide. We can’t go into their country unless we have a guide. N’s going to join us too. However, we’ll have to delay going to Haast Bluff and Mt. Liebig for a day or two. He’s going to Palmer River and won’t be back for when we originally planned to go. We have to be flexible.’

*[Photo 8: MacDonnell Ranges © L.M. Kling 2013]

I nodded. Yep, in this land of the Centre, one had to be flexible; the people of the desert’s interpretation of time and schedules differs from my view, so I’ve learnt.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; updated 2019; 2022

Feature Photo: Land Around Hermannsburg © L.M. Kling 2021

***

Read more of the adventures of the T-Team in my memoir, Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 available on Amazon and Kindle. Check it out, click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

T-Team Series–Hermannsburg Back in Time

The T-Team With Mr B (28)

[Extract from The T-Team with Mr. B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.

The T-Team with Mr B — In 1977 Dad’s friend Mr Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope?

And our accommodation in Hermannsburg had sent us on a tour back in time…]

 Living in History

I lay in bed and gazed up at the ceiling. Wish I hadn’t. A hessian sheet hung above me, pinned to the four corners of the room and sagging in the middle. It appeared the sand from the Central desert had worked its way into the sheet, threatening to burst all over me. How long before the sheet would no longer be able to contain its weight? I sat up and swung my feet to the floor. A cockroach scuttled under the wardrobe made of oak. I shuddered. Better sand fall on me than cockroaches.

I grabbed my towel and toiletry bag, then padded out my room and down the dark hallway to the bathroom. There I gazed around the small room, sealed with green and white tiles, some broken. In the 1950’s wash basin, waist-high and looking like an enamel pastel-green pulpit, a line of rust coursed from the faucet to the drain. The matching bath suffered a permanent rusty-brown ring, a reminder of how full to fill the tub. I scanned around the room and above the bath. No shower—not even a rusty one.

[Photo 1: T-Team Next Generation waiting for the outside dunny © L.M. Kling 2013]

I heard a knock at the door. ‘Lee-Anne, are you in there?’

‘Yes, Dad,’ I replied. ‘Where’s the shower?’

Dad opened the door and poked his head through. He screwed up his nose and swivelled his head left, right, up and down. ‘Oh, no shower. I guess you’ll have to have a bath.’

‘Oh, al-right.’

‘Hurry, though, we’re off to see Mr. C and his school.’

‘Oh.’ Last year Mr. C was my mathematics teacher. Then, in 1977, he’d taken up a position teaching the Arunta children in their camps near Hermannsburg.

I turned on the tap. Water dribbled into the bath, brown and making the pipes groan. I gazed at the tea-coloured brew pooling at the base of the tub. I like baths, normally. Not sure about this one.

‘Don’t fill it too full,’ Dad said.

‘No, Dad.’ No danger of that happening. The bath looked like it’d take an eternity to cover even to the depth of an inch.

‘Don’t take too long,’ Dad added.

‘No, Dad.’

I reached in and tested the water. Cold. I then placed my fingers under the dribble from the tap. Cold. Great! Not much water and it’s cold. Yep, I’ll have a quick wash.

I stopped the dismal flow and rushed through the motions of washing. After raking dry shampoo through my limp strands of hair, I bunched them into pig-tails and returned to my room to change.

Then I walked into the kitchen. Light through the louvers reflected dust motes drifting through the air.

[Photo 2: School Room © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

Dad looked up from his bowl of porridge. ‘Oh, you’re finished already?’

‘Yep.’

I helped myself to the saucepan of porridge on the ancient stove. The cooker squatted there in the corner, brass fittings attached to afford gas to the rings on top. And lime green. I could see Hermannsburg had a theme going—shades of green. Except the table, washed with the thin coat of white paint. Perhaps it was green once, at the turn of the century.

[Photo 3: Green the Theme outside the school © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

As if taking advantage of my abbreviated bathroom visit, Dad took his sweet time. So, while we waited, Richard and I played cards, on the kitchen table.

‘Mr. B and Matt are taking their time,’ I said gathering up the cards.

‘They’re sleeping in,’ Richard laughed. ‘I think Mr. B’s exhausted.’

‘He didn’t know what he was getting himself into coming on this trip.’

Richard snorted. ‘Bet he’s never been camping in his life.’

‘No, all motels and luxury for him, I reckon.’

[Photo 4: Certainly not the Chiefly Motel Alice Springs © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad stood behind us and coughed. ‘What are you talking about?’

We turned and widening our eyes to feign innocence, my brother and I chorused, ‘Nothing.’

‘I hope so.’ Dad cleared his throat again. ‘Now, come on, Mr. C’ll be here soon.’

‘Can I see Mummy’s house? Did we get permission?’

‘Er, um, later. Mr. C’s waiting. We’re late,’ Dad said and then strode out the door; the green door.

*[Photo 5: Tantalisingly close…but so far, Mum’s (Mrs T’s) old home © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

Richard and I followed.

‘We know whose fault it is we’re late,’ Richard muttered as we followed Dad out the historic hospital to meet Mr. C.

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2019; 2022

Photo: Spruced up Mission home, Hermannsburg Precinct © L.M. Kling 2021

***

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Some Thoughts on a Sunday–Lost Sheep

[This Sunday morning’s sermon tackled the parable of the Lost Sheep, Luke 15;4-7. I recall an ancient post I had written way back when I first began blogging in 2015. Then today, the parable’s meaning was reinforced when I spent all afternoon searching for a document vital for our tax return. Strange how items vanish…We gave up on the paper and were able to retrieve a copy from the relevant website.

However, each person is unique. If a person goes missing, you can’t just replace them by copying them. Every year in Australia, around 38000 people go missing. Most are found within few weeks, but 2600 remain missing after three months.

The following post is a re-blog of the one I published in 2015.]

Lost Sheep

A fellow writer criticized the Mission of the Unwilling saying, ‘How can so many people go into space without others missing them on Earth?’

Good point—and I duly corrected that detail. As a part of the Intergalactic Space Force, each recruit had their explanation which they gave to family and friends why they wouldn’t be around for a while. Yes, fixed that…but—just wait a minute—did I have to do that to make the story believable?

Thousands of people around the world go missing every day…and if I think about it, I know people who have.

Sure, there’s the famous cases. Yes, Adelaide, South Australia, my hometown, is known for a few of those strange cases, both unsolved and solved. I remember as a child told not to talk to strangers…remember those children ‘round the corner? Never seen again.

But then there’s the willing missing—the ones who for whatever reason drop off the radar, leaving behind family and friends, to start their lives afresh. And they might have good reason to disappear if they’ve been the victim of an abusive relationship, or they’re a witness who needs protection.

Each community and clan deal with this jump off the radar differently. As is evident from my own observations of this current society, they are not all like my fellow writer who would make a beeline for the nearest police station when a loved one of theirs goes missing. In fact, there have been recent examples in Australia where the missing persons have met untimely permanent pushes off the radar from perpetrators who have then pretended, through text messages and the use of their bank accounts to deceive family and friends into believing their missing loved one is alive, but just doesn’t want contact. And in some cases, family and friends have believed these lies for months, years.

Isn’t this a cause for concern? Has our community become so disconnected, so focussed on the rights of the individual, we consider it a “social crime” to intrude on another’s privacy? Is society so fragmented, that when we receive a text or internet message from a loved one, saying, ‘Leave me alone,’ we accept it as gospel, as coming from the loved one, and sit back and leave them alone? Is there a problem these days speaking face to face, and treating people like they matter? Is it possible some people go missing because they feel no one cares; that they don’t matter?

In the parable of the Lost Sheep Luke 15:4-7, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep to search for the lost one. In this society, such a person who goes looking for the lost, the “Black Sheep” of the family, is labelled “crazy”. But in God’s Kingdom each person is precious. Our world may not value these “lost sheep”, but God does, and His people do. I guess in the world’s eyes, God is crazy; He loves and values every human being. And the thing about lost “sheep”, they may not know they are lost, they may not want to be found, they may feel invisible in the sea of billions of “sheep”, but God knows who they are. I reckon there’s a bit of “lost sheep” in each of us. When we make others visible, treat them like they matter, and care for each other, this is community; we find the “lost sheep” and God finds us. This is our challenge, to value and love one another and treat each person with value and respect because they matter.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather others label me as “crazy” because I care and want to relate to real people, rather than be considered “sane” and thus disconnected, living my life only virtually through a screen.

 © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Sheep in the green paddock © L.M. Kling 2009

***

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T-Team Series–Hermannsburg

T-Team with Mr B

Hermannsburg

[Extract from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.

The T-Team with Mr B — In 1977 Dad’s friend Mr Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope?

This time, the T-Team arrive at Hermannsburg.]

Dad held up Hermannsburg as the Holy Grail; some marvellous place that, every time he mentioned it, his eyes misted over, and he’d whisper the name with a sigh. Hermannsburg, the Lutheran Mission, founded in 1877 by those intrepid Lutheran Missionaries, Kempe and Schwartz, from the mission house of the same name in Germany. Hermannsburg saved by the stalwart missionary Carl Strehlow from 1894 to 1922. Hermannsburg, where my grandfather lived for 18 years with his wife and growing family. Hermannsburg where my Dad came to teach in the 1950’s and where he met and married my mum.

[Photo 1: View from a hill of Hermannsburg © S.O. Gross circa 1940’s]
[Photo 2: Dad as teacher at Hermannsburg © S.O. Gross circa 1955]

My father slowed and manoeuvred the Rover along a bumpy road lined with a cluster of buildings. The Rover’s headlights lit up stone walls of the historic church painted white, and then a house near by framed with a pair of date palm trees and a waist-high cyclone fence.

[Photo 3: Where we stayed is now known as “The Historic Precinct”. (All repainted and revamped in 2021.) My dream to see inside Mum’s old home © L.M. Kling 2021

]

‘We’re here,’ Dad said. He stopped the Rover.

A man pushed open the gate, and stepping up to us, he waved, pointing at the house opposite. ‘Ah!’ Dad started up the engine and then parked the Rover in front of that house.

‘Is that where Mummy used to live?’ I asked.

‘Nah, I don’t think so,’ Dad replied.

‘Can I get to see Mummy’s house?’

‘In the morning, it’s a bit dark now.’

‘Is someone living in it?’

‘I don’t know. I’ll ask—Um, Gary Stoll.’ Dad opened the Rover door and jumped out. ‘Come on, don’t just sit there.’

[Photo 4: The dream yet to be fulfilled, me in front of Mum’s old home © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

The rest of the T-Team climbed out of the Rover, and gathered around Dad and Mr. Stoll, the resident missionary. After introductions, greeting and shaking hands with the missionary, he showed us to our accommodation, one of the original Hermannsburg homesteads which was directly opposite my Mum’s old home. This homestead was built many decades ago as the old hospital.

[Photo 5: Misty memories of fun in the old days. Tug-of-war © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

Gary’s wife appeared at the door of the cottage. She wiped her hands on her floral apron. ‘Come on, I’ll show you where you’ll be sleeping.’

‘Good,’ said Mr. B, ‘I’m looking forward to sleeping in a proper bed. You wouldn’t believe what we’ve had to put up with over the past two weeks.’

Mrs. Stoll chuckled. ‘What? No motels?’ Under her apron, her tummy jiggled up and down. She reminded me of my grandma. Similar sense of humour. Necessary, I guess.

[Photo 6: Mount Hermannsburg is a prominent landmark © L.M. Kling 2021]
[Photo 7: Hermannsburg is near the Finke River. Finke in flood, a rare occasion © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

Mr. B pursed his lips. ‘No, just creeks.’

‘Creeks?’ Mrs. Stoll laughed. ‘Luxury!’

Dad joined in. ‘That’s what I told him. Hey, mate, I thought you liked the one at Palmer River.’

‘Hmm! It was passable…except for the snakes.’ Mr. B scooped up his sleeping bag and sauntered off to his allocated room.

Mrs. Stoll showed me my room. The cold of night seeped into the old stone house. After she left me, I gazed at the limestone walls all lumpy and painted white. I shivered and then dumped my bag on the bed, the mattress looking equally as lumpy under army-grey blankets. Oh, well, it’s a bed. I glanced at the floor, threadbare carpet raked over the stone floor. I took a deep breath of musty air and coughed. I decided to keep my shoes on. I stood still and stared out into the blackness. It’s so quiet; like a ghost town. Was mum’s house like this one?

[Photo 8: Possibly the same accommodation we stayed in. Luxury! From an earlier time, one of the many visitors © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

I dared not look up at the high ceiling before walking to the door, pushing the knob of the old brown Bakelite switch down and checking that the naked globe dangling from the ceiling had gone off.

In the lounge room, I sank into an armchair of an ancient lounge suite, chunky and tan velvet. I leaned forward and pestered Dad. ‘Can you ask if I can see mum’s old home?’

9.
10.
[Photo 9 & 10: Aspects of Hermannsburg Precinct: Brickwork in Mum’s old home (9) and The Machine in the Museum (10) © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad sighed. ‘I’ll see what I can do.’

The T-Team trooped over to the mission house where we’d been invited for tea. Now, the thing about missionaries was their hospitality. Mrs. Stoll put on a spread. I mean, a banquet; an immaculate display on an antique oval table covered with white linen—Roast beef, well, it was cattle country. Fresh from our host’s garden: roast potatoes, just like my grandma’s all crisp and crunchy on the outside and juice and fluffy on the inside, boiled peas, carrots and cauliflower. Then, dessert, ice-cream, and apple crumble for which I always keep room. Satisfied I rubbed my stomach. Yep, our digs may be crumbling, but the food, the wonderful food, the amazing food. My stomach ached with pleasure from all the delicious food.

[Photo 11: A spread like this © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

‘This is the best meal ever!’ Mr. B said, then he leaned forward to Mr. Stoll, ‘Better than the egg soup we had to endure with my mate here.’ He pointed at Dad.

Dad blushed.

Mrs. Stoll strode through the door, her arms cradling tray of potato kuchen, steam rising above the strudel, and the aroma of cake filling the dining room.

She moved around table offering the cake. I took a piece. But then, while the others devoured theirs and asked for more, I stared at mine, willing a cake-shaped hole to form in my stomach to fit this delicious morsel in.

‘What’s the matter?’ Dad asked.

Richard eyed my cake, his fat fingers in pincer-mode ready to snatch.

‘I want it, but I can’t fit it in.’

‘Eyes too big for your stomach,’ Mr. B said.

I nodded.

Richard pounced. In one fluid movement, the cake vanished, and my brother leaned back, wiped the crumbs from his mouth and patted his tummy.

‘Don’t worry,’ Mrs. Stoll said, ‘we have plenty more cake. I’ll put aside some for you for supper.’

[Photo 12: Classic Hermannsburg sunset © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

We had the luxury of staying up until midnight, that night. Dad and Mr. B chatted with the missionary couple, while Richard, Matt and I played cards, and ate cake. I hoped Dad would ask the question: Can I visit my mum’s old house?

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2018

Feature Photo: Historic Church Hermannsburg © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2013

***

Launch into your virtual escape to adventure in the centre of Australia.

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Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981,

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And escape in time and space to Centre of Australia 1981…

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Have a virtual taste of Frau Biar’s kuchen…

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And begin your journey of discovery when the nineteenth century meets the twenty-first, and unfortunately Boris…

Voices

Voices

You want success, don’t you?

            Study hard! Cram!

                        Go to University.

                                    Pass your exam!

It’s a piece of paper, that counts.

            Cleaning? You’re cleaning? That’s poor!

                        Try harder.

                                    You need a respectable job and more.

Teaching? Never saw you as one of them.

            Get out of your comfort zone.

                        It’s the bottom-line that counts.

                                    Moving interstate? Why can’t you work at home?

Ooh, you need a boyfriend.

            He’s not right, give him the flick.

                        He’s nice, when are you getting hitched?

                                    You’re engaged? That’s a bit quick.

You’re married! Congratulations! What about kids?

            Hmmm, you need to lose weight.

                        Sure you’re not pregnant?

                                    Better travel first, mate.

A house, you need a house. Location, location, location.

            Save your dough.

                        Go on strike, get more.

                                    Deposit, mortgage, life insurance—nest-eggs, you know.

Keep busy and if you’re not, look busy.

            You’re too busy, get rest.

                        What? No friends?

                                    Get a life, get some zest.

You’re not well. See, I told you so.

            Too many toxins.

                        Take these vitamins.

                                    Pills won’t work.

                                                Diet and exercise.

                                                            Paleo

                                                                        Pilates

                                                                                    Low carb

                                                                                                High sugar

                                                                                                            Too thin

                                                                                                                        Too fat

                                                                                                                                    Too much

                                                                                                                        Not enough!

Keep busy, save, work hard…Aargh!

Jesus said: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017

Feature Photo: Sulphur Crested cockatoo © L.M. Kling 2019

***

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T-Team Series–Standley Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye)

[While painting this scene of a group of older men gathering to admire the glowing walls of Standley Chasm, I was reminded of the T-Team’s trek in 1977 with Mr. B. This wealthy man used to comfort and luxury, took on the challenges of roughing it camping with the T-Team. This stunning chasm is about 50km west of Alice Springs and is one of the first of many beautiful sites to visit in the MacDonnell Ranges.]

The T-Team With Mr B (26)

Mr. B slowed the Rover and eased it into a park joining the line of cars, land rovers, and buses awaiting their owners’ return. The T-Team piled out of the Rover and in single-file, followed Dad along the narrow track heading towards Standley Chasm. In the twists and turns of the trail that hugged the dry creek bed, I spotted ferns in the shadow of rock mounds the colour of yellow ochre, and ghost gums sprouting out of russet walls of stone. Hikers marched past us returning to the car park.

*[1. Photo: Path to Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling © L.M. Kling 2013]

‘G’day,’ they said. ‘Well worth it.’

Dad checked his watch and quickened his pace.

I ran to catch Dad. ‘Have we missed out?’

‘We better hurry,’ Dad snapped.

A leisurely short stroll became a race to the finish as we struggled to keep up with Dad; scrambling over boulders on the track, squeezing past more tourists going to and from the chasm, Dad snapping and cracking the verbal whip, and Mr. B moaning and groaning that “it’s not for a sheep station”.

*[2. Photo: Ghost gum and ferns on way to Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

The crowd thickened, stranding us in a jam of people, fat bottoms wobbling, parents hauling their whinging kids, and men clutching cameras to their eyes for the perfect shot. Dad checked his watch and then shifted the weight from one foot to the other.

‘Are we there yet?’ I asked.

Wrong question. Especially when asking a grumpy Dad.

‘Not yet!’ Dad barked.

‘I reckon we’re not far away,’ I said. ‘All the tourists have stopped. Must be some reason.’

Dad screwed up his nose. ‘I dunno, it doesn’t look right.’

‘Excuse me! Excuse me!’ Mr. B, one arm stretched out before him, parted the sea of people and strode through.

We followed in Mr. B’s wake and within twenty paces, there it glowed. Standley Chasm. Both walls in hues of gold to ochre. Dozens of people milled around its base.

*[3. Photo: No quite the right time but still awesome: Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad gazed at the chasm, and then squinted at the position of the sun. ‘It’s not there yet.’

‘How long?’ I wanted to know.

‘Not long, just wait.’ Dad paced towards a white gum that bowed before the grand wonder of the chasm.

‘Wait! I’ll take a photo of you,’ I said.

‘Do you have to?’

‘Why not?’

‘We might miss the walls turning red.’

‘They turn red that quickly?’

Dad leaned up against the tree. ‘I s’pose not.’

I dug out my instamatic camera and photographed my grumpy Dad.

*[4. Photo: While we wait, a grumpy Dad before the chasm © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

Then we waited. The tourists snapped their shots and then filtered away.

‘When’s it going to turn red?’ I asked for the fourth time.

‘Be patient,’ Dad said.

‘This is boring,’ Matt mumbled.

‘Let’s see what’s the other side.’ Richard tapped Matt on the arm. The two lads scrambled over the rocks and I watched them hop from one boulder to the next over a small waterhole.

*[5. Photo: The rocks’ reflection, Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad paced from one wall to the next while Mr. B photographed Standley Chasm from every angle.

*[6. Photo: The ideal image; Standley Chasm © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

I watched mesmerized by the sunlight playing on the walls. They turned from a russet-brown on one side, gold on the other, to both glowing a bright orange. But by then, most of the tourists had left, thinking the Chasm had finished its performance for the day.

*[7. Photo: Well worth the wait; Standley Chasm, just perfect © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]
*[ 8. Painting: Dad’s Standley Chasm in watercolour © C.D. Trudinger circa 1959]

As the other wall turned in hue to sienna, Mr. B packed his camera in his leather case and stood back admiring the view.

‘Get some good shots?’ Dad asked.

‘I reckon I did.’ Mr. B patted his camera bag. ‘You know, once the crowds thinned out, I reckon I got some good ones.’

‘Ah, well, I’ve seen Standley Chasm put on a better show in the past.’ I think Dad was trying to justify not having a functional camera.

‘Well, I enjoyed it,’ I said. ‘This place is amazing!’

[9. Photo: Standley Chasm mid-afternoon; still the same perfect light 36 years later © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad patted me on the back. ‘Ah! Lee-Anne, you haven’t seen anything yet. Wait till you see Ormiston Gorge.’

‘By the way, where are tha boys?’ Mr. B asked.

‘Looks like we have to be patient and wait for them now.’

‘I hope your son doesn’t get ma boy lost.’

Dad laughed. ‘No worries. There they are, just the other side of the chasm.’ He waved at the boys.

Richard and Matt scrambled through the chasm to join the T-Team on the hike back to the Rover.

[10. Photo: Actual photo of men admiring StandleyChasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2018; 2022

Feature Painting: Men Admiring Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2018

***

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Remembering Dad–Picnic at Brownhill Creek

[Remembering my Dad, 10 years since he passed from this world to be with his heavenly father. Wonderful loving father, beautiful memories, amazing adventures…]

Happy Hunting Ground

[Picnics on special days have been a “thing” for years. Not sure when this experience happened, but it was a picnic all the same.]

Dad leaned on his shovel and with a wrinkled handkerchief patted sweat from his head displacing the few strands of hair masquerading as a “comb-over”. Then with grunts sounding as if he were puffing billy, he attacked the garden bed. With each load of soil, he groaned, puffed and wheezed, demonstrating how hard he was working. A closed cardboard box sat near the cauliflower patch, a counterbalance to the growing pile of dirt the other side of the hole Dad created.

[Photo 1: Dad digging in the garden © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger 1977]

‘Daddy, what are you doing?’ I asked strolling across the lawn to Dad.

Dad grunted some more and then flung a heap of soil into the mound behind him.

‘Daddy, why are you digging this deep hole?’

Dad stopped digging. ‘Huh?’

‘Daddy, what’s this hole for?’

‘Never you mind, Lee-Anne.’ Dad must think at six years old, I’m too young to know.

‘But Daddy, I just want to know.’

Dad tapped the box with his boot. ‘I’m sending puss to her happy hunting ground.’

‘Wilma?’ I asked. ‘But Daddy, why are you digging a hole, Daddy? Are you digging your way to Wilma’s happy hunting ground?’ I had visions of my cat chasing mice in China.

Dad glanced at the box and cleared his throat. ‘Oh, er, no, not really. Just a bit of gardening, dear. Now, run along and get ready for the picnic.’

[Photo 2: Dad resting after his hard day at work in the garden © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

Ah! A spring picnic at Brown Hill Creek. I loved picnics with Mummy, Daddy and Richard, my eleven year old brother. Brown Hill Creek in the Adelaide foothills had paths lined with eucalyptus trees, and a creek filled with yabbies and tadpoles for Richard and me to hunt. I imagined Brown Hill Creek as the perfect “happy hunting ground” for cats.

‘Is Brown Hill Creek Wilma’s happy hunting ground?’ I asked.

Mum, her mousy curls covered with a scarf, poked her head out the door and called from the porch, ‘Hurry up, David!’

[Photo 3: Mum hanging up the washing before we go out © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1971]

‘Yes, dear,’ Dad said and with huffing and puffing, dug with increased speed.

I jumped up and down and flapped my arms. ‘Hooray! We’re going to Wilma’s happy hunting ground!’ Then I ran back to Mum standing in the back porch. ‘We’re going to Wilma’s happy hunting ground.’

‘Yes, well, I suppose,’ Mum said her blue eyes averting mine.

***

All the way to Brown Hill Creek, I filled the stale air in Bathsheba, our Holden car with my constant babble. As the only blonde in the family, it was my calling to be the family entertainment.

[Photo 4: Bathsheba, our trusty Holden car in the background © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1969]

‘I bet Wilma loves it at Brown Hill Creek. There’s so many birds…Mummy, do all the cats go to our picnic park when they go to their happy hunting ground?’

‘Mmmm,’ Mum replied.

I took that response as a “yes”. ‘Mummy, why did Wilma go to her happy hunting ground? Why didn’t she want to stay with us?’

Mum sighed. ‘Wilma wanted to go. It was her time.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Are dogs there too?’

‘Wouldn’t be a happy hunting ground for cats, if dogs were there too,’ Dad said.

‘Maybe dogs go somewhere else.’ I tried to think where dogs would go. ‘Like where there’s more trees, I guess.’

Richard shook his square head topped with brown curls. ‘Why do you always talk so much, Lee-Anne?’

I shrugged. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Anyway,’ Richard said, ‘Wilma is—’

‘Shh!’ Mum glared at my brother and narrowed her eyes.

‘Gee, Brown Hill Creek must be full of cats,’ Richard muttered.

‘Oh, goody, when we get there, the first thing I’m going to do, I’m going to find them all,’ I said.

Richard rolled his eyes and shook his head.

***

Clouds shrouded the sky casting Brown Hill Creek reserve in a pall of grey. Dad manoeuvred Bathsheba into the gravel carpark. Richard and I then scrambled out. While Richard checked the water-levels of the creek, I gazed up at the lofty branches of the gum trees. Was Wilma up there? The leaves rustled in the breeze.

Mum found an even patch of ground near the creek and spread the rug. Dad lugged the wicker basket loaded with cheese and gherkin sandwiches and a thermos.

‘Richard, would you help carry this?’ Dad asked as he held a bag containing a spare set of my clothes. A picnic was never complete unless I fell into the creek at least once.

I raced along the path and began calling, ‘Wilma! Wilma!’

As the distance between my family and me widened, Dad yelled, ‘Don’t go wandering off—we don’t want you getting lost—again.’

‘I’ll go with her,’ Mum said.

‘Wilma! Wilma!’ I sang.

Birds twittered in those lofty branches. I looked up and called, ‘Wilma! Wilma! Here puss, puss, puss!’

A kookaburra cackled.

[Photo 5: Kookaburra © L.M. Kling 2016]

Mum pointed up at a bunch of blue-green leaves high in a tree. ‘Hey, look!’

‘Wilma?’

‘No, look!’ Mum said, ‘A koala.’

‘What’s a koala doing here? I thought this was the cat’s happy hunting ground.’

[Painting: Koala and baby© L.M. Kling 2013]

Mum took a breath and began. ‘Wilma’s in a better place than this, she’s—’

‘Hiding?’ I peered in the scrub. I parted the stubbles of grass by the side of the path. I looked behind tree trunks and logs. ‘Wilma! Come Wilma!’

My brother strode up the path and stood next to Mum. ‘You have to tell her, Mum.’

‘What?’ I asked.

‘You won’t find Wilma here,’ Richard said.

‘Wilma’s gone dear,’ Mum said.

‘Dead, Lee-Anne,’ announced Richard.

‘No! Richard, you’re wrong. Dad said Wilma went to her “happy hunting ground”, I said straining my voice.

‘Richard’s right,’ Mum said. ‘Wilma’s happy hunting ground is in heaven, not Brown Hill Creek.’

***

We ate our cheese and gherkin sandwiches in silence. If I wasn’t talking our little family usually ate in silence. Mum sat me on her lap and wrapped her arms around me as I forced small bites of sandwich past the lump in my throat. I looked at the creek frothing and bubbling from good spring rains. The yabbies and tadpoles were safe from my jar and net that day. I was in no mood to hunt them. My spare set of clothes would stay a spare set for another picnic. I decided to break the silence.

[Photo 6 and feature: Happier times at Brownhill Creek © C.D. Trudinger 1964]

‘Will I never see Wilma again?’ I asked.

‘I’m afraid not,’ Mum said. ‘But you have Barney, Wilma’s brother, to be your special cat to look after.’

‘Why does Lee-Anne get a special cat?’ Richard asked.

‘Well, you’ve got Timothy, Wilma’s other brother, he’s your special cat,’ Mum replied.

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘So Wilma’s in her happy hunting ground in heaven,’ I said.

‘Yes,’ Dad said. ‘Wilma’s in heaven.’

[Photo 7: Wilma and Me © C.D. Trudinger 1968]

And I imagined Wilma stalking through a hole from our world and into the next; her happy hunting ground in heaven.

***

[Photo 8: Holly 2000-2016© L.M. Kling 2011]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2020; 2022

Feature Photo: Picnic at Brownhill Creek. Photo taken by David Trudinger 1964

***

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And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…

T-Team Series–First Flight…Ever

   [The last few months I have revisited The T-Team with Mr. B: Central Australian Safari 1977 which is a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981. In preparation for its release later this year, I will be sharing posts of this adventure.

The T-Team with Mr B In 1977 Dad’s friend Mr Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope?

In this episode, the I experience my first flight…ever.]

First Flight Over Alice Springs

Dad looked at his watch. ‘We have to go. Or we’ll be late.’

I raised my voice. ‘What about breakfast?’

‘Er, um, better not, if you’re flying,’ Dad said.

‘You might chunder,’ Richard laughed.

‘Yeah, well, you never know, you might get sick.’ Dad ushered us out the Mission House and onto the front lawn; just a patch of dry grass. ‘They’ll be ready to go any minute. Better fly on an empty stomach. We’ll eat after, okay?’

*[Photo 1: Light plane to Hermannsburg; a novelty that one must get their selfie with it © S.O. Gross circa 1955]

The other rover, caked with red dust, stood empty and idle in the driveway.

‘Who’s taking us?’ I was curious.

‘Pastor K from Areyonga. It’s his plane. He’ll be taking you, Mr. B and Matt, okay? I had to get special permission, and they can only take three of us. So, Richard and I will be staying behind.’

‘What time are they going?’

‘Oh, er, about eight-thirty.’

I looked at my watch. ‘But it’s only eight o’clock. We have half an hour. I haven’t had a shower yet,’ I turned, ‘I don’t want to stink the plane out.’

‘Very well then.’ Dad herded us back into the house. ‘But be quick. If you’re late and miss the flight, it’ll be your fault.’

*[Photo 2: A special occasion: Plane landing at Hermannsburg during wartime © S.O. Gross circa 1942]

‘So, we’ve got time for breakfast?’ Richard asked.

‘I s’pose so,’ Dad said with a sigh.

I collected my toiletries and towel, and raced down the hall to the bathroom. Behind me I heard Mr. B say, ‘And you know I can’t start the day without my coffee.’

After a shower, breakfast, and making myself “bootiful”, Pastor K drove Mr. B, Matt, another man and me to Alice Springs aerodrome for the light-aircraft flight over the town.

*[Photo 3: Another wartime plane visits © S.O. Gross circa 1942]

The small yellow and white craft gleamed before us on that icy morning. I shrugged on my bright yellow parker Dad suggested I take. Then we walked towards the small plane.

‘You’re lucky,’ Pastor K said, his breath making puffs of smoke, ‘normally the plane only fits four passengers. But since, you kids are small and rather light, we can fit you in.’

I clasped my hands. ‘Thank you.’

Then, just before I climbed on board, I handed my camera to Mr. B and asked him to take a photo of me. He took his time to compose and frame the shot, then he clicked two photos of me in front of the plane.

[Photo 4 and feature: Oh, what joy! My first flight…ever © courtesy of L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

We settled into the craft. Somehow, we all fitted in.

‘This is a brand-new plane,’ Pastor K, our pilot said. ‘Now buckle up.’

The engine puttered to life and on the plane’s nose, the propeller spun. The little plane raced down the runway and then, giving me a heady adrenalin rush, the craft roared and then lifted into the air. I loved the feeling of take-off; the speed and then launching up off the ground.

We floated above Alice Springs. The MacDonnell Ranges surrounding the town, became sandpit stumps of red. The town became tiny town of ant-people. Cars driving on grey strips of road turned into toy cars on a road map.

*[Photo 5: Alice from above © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

‘Wow!’ I swooned. The propeller noise like a jackhammer meant we had to shout. ‘It’s beautiful!’ And I snapped half my film away on shots of Alice from the air.

‘Are you sick?’ Matt asked.

‘Nup,’ I replied. ‘Are you?’

‘Nup.’

‘Neither am I,’ Mr. B said.

I wasn’t afraid of falling out of the sky either. The plane sailed above the town. It bobbed and dipped.

‘Air pockets,’ Pastor K said. ‘Nothing to worry about. Perfect weather for flying.’

We all nodded.

All too soon the plane slowed, lowered its wheels and then glided down to land on the runway. But at least I could now say, finally, at the age of fourteen, I had flown in a plane.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: What joy! My first flight…ever © courtesy of L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977

***

Read more of the adventures of the T-Team in my memoir, Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 available on Amazon and Kindle.

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Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Choice Bites–Minna

As I developed my characters from the War against Boris series, stories began to emerge. Here’s one of them.

THE CHOICE: MINNA

One of those summer days doused in grey…I ride my bike to the beach to collect shells. As I comb the surf-soaked sands, a man’s voice snaps me out of the zone.

‘Found anyone interesting?’

‘Nup, no bodies,’ I murmur.

‘That’s a shame, a nice looking lady like you.’’

I fix my sight on shards of shell and ignore him. Hate those pickup lines.

‘Oh, what’s your problem? I’m not going to bite.’

I glance at him—had to see what creep I’m dealing with. Pale, pock-marked face, thirties and just a little taller than me at 165cm. In a grubby white t-shirt and brown trousers. “Never trust a man who wears brown trousers,” my school friend Liesel always said.

‘Come on, dear, just a little conversation. Tell me, what do you want more than anything in the world.’

I shrug. ‘To leave me alone.’

‘Tell you what, you tell me and I’ll leave you alone. Deal?’

I push my bike faster trying to escape this man, but he follows me.

‘I promise, I’ll leave you alone—just tell me.’

Hopping on my bike I announce, ‘I don’t talk to strangers.’

‘I’m not going to hurt you. I bet, I bet you’re one of those girls who wants to get married, have a family. That’s what you want more than anything.’

‘If you say so, now leave me alone,’ I say and then speed from the creepy little man with his creepy questions.

‘Your desire will be arranged,’ he says as I splash my wheels through the water. He then shouts, ‘But, I might add, there will be a price.’

‘Sure, sour grapes,’ I mumble. Then pumping the pedals, I sail along the damp-packed sand where the waves meet the shore.

Then, near the ramp and having to cross sand too soft for bike wheels, I glance behind before alighting.

The man in brown trousers is gone…

A short story from another project relating to that alien cockroach, Boris, “Choice Bites© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016, updated 2022

Painting: Sellicks Beach—where Mission of the Unwilling begins © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015 [Mixed media]

***

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The Lost World of the Wends

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