All on a Sunday (4)
[In 2013, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.
Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.
This time, the T-Team leave camping in the desert behind and tackle the complexities of civilisation—Alice Springs…all on a Sunday.]
Less than one hour later after leaving Hermannsburg, we checked into the Stuart Caravan Park on the edge of Alice Springs. The reception, cast in long shadows, signalled the fast-approaching night and uncertainty that comes with not booking a site. Would there be one for us?
We trod into the kiosk, glancing at each other and hopeful expressions on our faces.
‘Do you have a tent site available?’ Anthony asked the manageress.
‘Let me see…’ the lady opened an A3 sized compendium. ‘Hmm, yes, site 81 is free.’
After paying the deposit, we collected the keys to the boys’ cabin which had already been booked for Sunday night.
Mum had followed us in, and I noticed her embroiled in some discussion with a young chap behind the counter. Mum did not look happy.
I stepped over to check out the situation.
‘They’ve stuffed up my booking,’ Mum T muttered to me.
Mum explained that someone called “Mrs T” had checked in and acquired her cabin as well as a campsite.
Immediately, I dialled Mrs T on my mobile and asked her, ‘Did you book a cabin?’
‘Nuh!’ Mrs T replied, ‘Why would I do that when we can stay for free at me friend’s house.’
Fair point. Why book a cabin and campsite if you can stay with friends and save money?
‘Looks like someone impersonated our mum and snaffled up her cabin,’ I said.
‘Mmm! That’s a bit rough,’ Mrs T said, ‘Hope she can get her money back. She can stay with us, if she likes.’
I looked to Mum T. ‘You can stay with the T-Team at their friend’s.’
Mum T smiled. ‘It’s okay, the manager has given me another cabin free of charge.’
Glad that we had decided to return to Alice Springs and had been there to support Mum. Still, rather ironic that, Mum, who had been the first to book her cabin way back in March or April to ensure she had a booking and not miss out, was the one who almost did.
In the golden tones of late afternoon, Anthony and I set up our tent and then took a leisurely stroll around the caravan park and onto mum’s cabin. Fortunately, her cabin was near our sons’. On the way we ‘happened” to pass the cabin containing the fake T-Team. There they sat, out on the front porch, an elderly couple and a younger couple. Didn’t appear to be your average criminal type or distant relatives even.
Visited the boys’ cabin. Son 1 and 2 had settled in for the night, happy with the comfort that the rooms afforded. Son 1 particularly pleased that he wouldn’t have to hear our snoring.
Son 2 however asked, ‘What are we doing for tea?’
‘Maybe we can go to a hotel to eat,’ I said.
My husband frowned. ‘What? Are we made of money?’
‘You want to cook?’ I questioned. ‘Anyway, it’s Mum’s and the boys’ last night up here, they leave for Adelaide tomorrow.’
Anthony sighed, ‘Oh, alright!’
Sprinted over to mum’s cabin and knocked on the door. Mum, holding the phone, ushered me in. Then I stood in the small lounge area while Mum sat at the tiny wooden table, phone glued to her ear.
Mum, with phone at her ear and silent, waited.
‘What…?’ I began.
Mum batted her free hand at me to be quiet.
So, I waited.
Might as well do something while waiting for goodness knows what. Must be something to do with the imposters, I thought.
‘Yes…’ finally, mum gets a response, ‘yes, right…nine o’clock tomorrow…be there half an hour before…no, we don’t have any luggage; only hand luggage…Right, thank you.’
‘Not news about the T-Team imposters, then?’ I laughed.
‘No, just had to do the check in with Qantas for the boys’ return trip tomorrow,’ Mum replied.
Only then, was I able to discuss with mum about going out for tea. Of course, the suggestion was fine by her.
[to be continued…]
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021
Feature Photo: Memories of Alice Springs way back when—the Opening of the Flynn Memorial Church 1956 © S.O. Gross 1956