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

***

Want more? More than before? More adventure? More Australia?

Check out my memoir of Central Australian adventure

Available in Amazon and on Kindle.

Click on the link:

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Or…

Escape into some space or alternate universe adventure,

Catch up on the exploits of Boris the over-grown alien cockroach, and Minna and her team’s attempt to subdue him.

Click on the links below…

The Lost World of the Wends

The Hitch-hiker

Mission of the Unwilling

***

If you’d like to polish your writing skills or find out more about our new project, a self-publishing collective, click on the link to Indie Scriptorium

Tuesdays with Carol–Tulips

Of Impressionists and Tulips

With Covid still hanging around Carol’s place and wearing out its welcome, I have drawn on a past Tuesday with Carol.

A few weeks ago, I revisited the tulip field muse. Carol and I like the Impressionists style. We had lots of fun playing with the blend of colours and keeping our paintings loose.

My past efforts painting these tulips at the Canberra Floriade, in watercolour and acrylic, have been less than impressive. Those paintings have ended up filed away in the drawer of no return or cut up and pieces used for cards.

But I’m happy with this piece. The difference, a bit of artistic license by putting a windmill in the picture and less tulips. It’s all to do with composition.

On a different note, but related, a couple of friends and I have been working on a community project—a publishing collective. We have called this endeavour, Indie Scriptorium. If you would like to find out more, check out our newly formed website and our first post by clicking here.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Painting: Tulip field, Canberra Floriade © L.M. Kling 2022

***

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Short Story Sunday–Much Ado About Golf

[Triggered today by all these shifty and inconsistent rules by which we must abide in this day and age, reminds me of some traumatic experiences concerning rules playing golf with my beloved late father.

This story is based on those experiences, but the characters and situation have been changed. As so often happens with us writers, life experiences can be good material for a short story, or even a chapter in some future novel.]

TRUE LOVE

Polly

Australia Day, and the last vestiges of a less-than-perfect summer holiday wilt in the sweltering heat in the foothills of Adelaide. A blowfly beats against the window, in time to the droning of the radio, doom and gloom, global warming, and politics. Nine in the morning and thirty-four degrees Celsius—already!

I sit at the kitchen table. I’m the sitting-dead, the zombie of no sleep after a hot night, no gully breeze and me sticky and sweaty, tossing and turning and Mum’s chainsaw of snoring filling the house.

Mum enters the family room and I recoil. ‘Ugh! Mum! How could you!’

‘It’s our family day, Polly, dear. I’m wearing my lucky golf shorts.’

‘Those legs should not be seen in public! Oh! How embarrassing!’ I cover my eyes shielding against the assault of mum’s white legs under cotton tartan shorts. At least she wears a white T-shirt; better than nothing. Matches the legs, I guess.

Dad drifts into the family room. He’s looking at the polished cedar floorboards while tying up his waist-length hair in a ponytail. He wears his trademark blue jeans and white t-shirt with a logo of some rusty metal band. That’s Dad. He’s a musician.

I look to Dad. ‘Dad, why do we have to play golf? Why can’t we just have a barbecue by the beach like my friends?’

‘Because, this is what Mum wants to do,’ Dad says. ‘We’re having a family day together before Mum gets all busy with work, and you get all busy with Year 12.’

‘But, Dad, we always play golf. And it’s not family-building, it’s soul destroying.’

‘We’re doing this for Mum.’

‘That’s right, Polly.’ Mum strides down the hallway and lifts her set of golf clubs. ‘Ready?’

Dad and I follow Mum to the four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle. The only terrain that vehicle has seen is the city, oh, and the only rough terrain, pot holes.

‘The person who invented golf should be clubbed,’ I mutter.

‘Polly!’ Dad says. ‘Mum loves golf. We play golf on Australia Day because we love Mum, okay?’

I sigh. ‘Okay.’

***

‘What a way to ruin a pleasant walk!’ I grumble as I hunt for that elusive white ball in the bushes. Rolling green hills all manicured, a gentle breeze rustles the leaves of the gum trees either side. My ball has a thing for the trees and bushes and heads for them every time I hit the ball. And if there’s a sandbank, my ball plops in it like a magnet. And don’t get me started on the artificial lake.

Dad and Mum wait at the next tee ushering ahead groups of golfers.

My ball doesn’t like the green and flies past it. I’m chopping away at the bushes near Mum and Dad.

Mum smiles at me and says, ‘Are you having a bad day, Polly?’

Understatement of the year. I swing at the pesky white ball.

‘Remember to keep your eye on the ball,’ Mum says.

I fix my gaze on Mum and poke my tongue at her.

***

It gets worse.

I straggle to the tenth after twenty shots on the ninth. Mum and Dad sit on a bench sipping cans of lemonade.

‘Well done! You’ve finally made it halfway,’ Mum says.

I stare at her. The cheek! Now she’s got white zinc cream over her nose and cheeks. ‘You look stupid, Mum. Like a clown.’

‘You look sunburnt, dear,’ Mum offers the sunscreen, ‘come and put some on. There’s a pet.’

I glance at my reddening arms. ‘Can I stop now?’

‘You may not,’ Mum says. ‘We’re only half way. Now, come and I’ll put some sunscreen on. You don’t want to get skin cancer.’

‘I won’t if I stop.’

‘Come now, Poll, it’s our family day,’ Dad says.

‘Oh, alright.’

Mum pastes me with sunscreen. ‘Where’s your hat? Have you lost it? You need your hat.’ She finishes covering me with a bottle-full of sunscreen and offers me her tartan beret. ‘Here, you can wear mine.’

I jump away. ‘No! Ee-ew!’

‘Come on!’ Mum thrusts her hat in my face.

‘No!’ I say. ‘I’m not wearing any hat! It gives me hat hair.’

Mum shakes her head, replaces the beret on her bleached bob before placing her ball on the tee. As she stands, legs apart, eyes on the ball, the wooden club raised ready to strike, I watch her behind; not a pretty sight, I might add.

Mum turns slowly, her eyes narrowed at me. ‘Would you please stand back? You’re casting a shadow. Don’t you know that it’s against golfing etiquette to cast a shadow?’

I step aside. ‘No, I seemed to have missed that one.’

Mum swings her club back. She stops again. She rotates her body and glares at me. ‘You’re still casting a shadow.’

‘This isn’t the Australian Open and you’re not the “Shark”. Have I missed the television crews?’

‘Don’t be sarcastic,’ Mum says. She’s acting like a shark.

‘Sorry!’ I say with a bite of sarcasm and then retreat behind a nearby Morton Bay Fig tree.

Mum arches back her polished wood, then stops a third time. She marches over to me and snarls, ‘You are in my line of vision. Take that smirk off your face!’

Dad shakes his head while tossing his golf ball in the air and catching it.

‘It’s not for a sheep station,’ I say and then edge further around the thick trunk.

Mum stomps her foot and rants. ‘Now, that’s just ridiculous! Over-reacting! You haven’t changed. You always over-react. Grow up, Polly!’

I slink over to Dad and stand next to him. ‘Am I in your way, now, Mum?’

Mum shakes her club at me. ‘I’m warning you.’

Dad tosses the ball higher in the air and says, ‘Ladies, calm down.’

Mum puffs, lowers the club and strolls back to the tee. She swings.

‘She’s not in a happy place, Dad,’ I say, ‘she can’t be enjoying this family day. Next Australia Day we’re having a barbecue. And we’re using her golf sticks for firewood.’

Mum looks up. The club having shaved the top of the ball, caused it to dribble a few centimetres from the tee. Mum’s fuming.

I snigger and then say, ‘Good shot!’

Mum points at the ball. ‘Pick it up! Pick it up, Polly!’

Dad hides his mouth and giggles.

‘What’s your problem, Mum? I’m the one losing here.’

‘Oh, stop being a bad sport and pick up my ball!’

‘Don’t tell me what to do.’ I stride up to the ball. ‘I’m not one of your students.’

‘Do it!’

‘Get a life!’ I say and then grind the ball into the recently watered earth.

Dad claps.

Mum sways her head and clicks her tongue. ‘You have seriously lost it, Polly.’ Then she places another ball on the tee. ‘Oh, well, I was just practising, considering the circumstances.’ She swings and lobs the ball into the air. Shading her eyes, she watches the ball land on the green.

‘That’s cheating!’ I say.

‘It’s just a game,’ Dad says with a shrug.

‘Mum’s psycho,’ I say taking my place at the tee.

A crowd has banked up behind us. I chip the silly white ball and watch it hook into the thick the pine tree forest. Mum and Dad head down the fairway and I commence my next ball-hunting expedition.

***

I catch up with my parents on the eleventh. I’d given up forcing the ball in the hole.

Mum holds a pencil over a yellow card. ‘Score?’

‘Twenty,’ I fib.

Mum says, ‘I don’t believe you.’

‘Thirty, then.’

‘Oh, come on!’ Her beret flops over her left eye. She looks ridiculous.

I wave. ‘Whatever!’

We reach the circle of smooth green grass. Mum races up to the flag and lifts it. She grins at the sound of a satisfying plop. She stands still, her eyes fixed on the hole. Then she raises her arms and dances a jig on the spot. ‘I did it! I did it!’

‘Is she okay?’ I ask Dad.

‘Hole in one, Polly. Hole in one.’

I gaze at Mum performing a River Dance, trampling over the green in her tartan shorts and white legs. She still looks ridiculous. How embarrassing, there’s an audience gathering, watching her performance. Now she’s hopping and clapping away from us.

I sigh. ‘Just my luck! Now she’ll be gloating for the rest of the game.’

‘It has been her day,’ Dad says. He waves at Mum. ‘Well done, dear.’

‘She’s demented,’ I turn to Dad. ‘I don’t know how you put up with her.’

Dad pulls out a handkerchief and wipes his eyes. ‘It’s called love, Poll. You put up with the good, the bad and the ugly.’

‘I say you’re putting up with ugly most of the time.’

‘Your mum’s been through a lot. She had it tough growing up. That’s what love is about. You don’t throw it away, just because it’s not perfect all the time. I mean, none of us are perfect.’

‘But Mum?’

‘You’ll see,’ Dad says and then he taps my back. ‘Come on, it’s our family day. Better get on. I reckon Mum’s danced her way to the thirteenth already.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; updated 2022

Photo: Poatina Golf Course, Tasmania © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2010

***

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

T-Team Series–T-Team with Mr. B (1)

[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.

Here’s how it all began…]

Beginning With Mr. B–Adelaide

1977, August, mid-winter and I was excited. Dad had never taken me camping. Then, when I turned 14, he decided to take the risk and allowed me to join the T-Team on a Central Australian safari. 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 had gathered from Dad’s reluctance to invite me on previous adventures out bush, that he had some reservations how I would cope…

Our trip began in the grey dawn in the foothills south of Adelaide, where we collected our companions, Mr. B, and his son Matt.

[Photo 1: Foothills of Adelaide, near where the T-Team picked up Mr. B © L.M. Kling 2017]

August, two weeks before the September school holidays, and Dad eased the truck, as he called the red hired Land Rover, to a stop on the slope. He yanked up the handbrake and sighed.

‘I hope it holds,’ he said.

‘Is this where Mr. Banks and Matt live?’ I asked. Mr. B, as we nicknamed him was Dad’s friend and Matt, a few years younger than me was his son. Only fair as my dad had the nickname of Mr. T.

A tall man, about Dad’s age, dressed R.M. Williams trousers, checked shirt, and polished hiking boots, bowled up the steep driveway to meet us.  ‘Come into our humble abode,’ this man, Mr. B said gesturing to his home; hardly humble, as inside, it was more like a 1960’s style Swiss Chalet set on the hillside with a vista of the Adelaide plains.

We admired the view, through a large window spanning the wall, a panorama of Adelaide, lights winking as the city woke up.

[Photo 2: Adelaide lights © L.M. Kling 2018]

‘Nice view!’ I said observing Mrs. B fussing around her husband, her hair perfectly coiffured, even at this time of the morning.

‘The advantages of being a bank manager,’ Mr. B sniffed, then waved at his eleven-year-old son, Matt. ‘Come on boy, can’t be late.’

‘Wow,’ I said to Dad, ‘the B’s must be rich to have such a large home with a view. We’d never be able to afford this on your teacher’s salary.’

‘Lee-Anne!’ Dad muttered. ‘Keep your comments to yourself. Don’t embarrass your hosts.’ Or me for that matter, he implied.

‘Sorry.’ I was always putting the proverbial foot in my mouth.

[Photo 3: Dad the teacher © courtesy of L.M. Kling (photographer unknown) circa 1960]

My brother Rick nudged me and whispered, ‘I wonder how this bank manager is going to cope on one of Dad’s camping trips.’

I shrugged. ‘Who knows?’ At fourteen, I did not consider too deeply how a man of class would cope with a camping trip minus all the luxuries a well-to-do city slicker like him would be used to. ‘I wonder how I’m going to manage. I mean to say, this is my first time camping in the bush.’

[Photo 4: One son of mine not impressed with camping © L.M. Kling 2005]

Matt slung his sports bag over his shoulder and after reluctantly hugging his mother and older sister who made a brief appearance, followed us out to the Land Rover.

‘I say, girl,’ Mr. B strode to the truck, ‘you take a photo of me. We must mark the occasion.’

‘I’m not sure, it’ll work out, Mr. B,’ I said. ‘It’s still pretty dark.’

‘Go on, girl, there’s light enough.’

As Dad packed Mr. B’s and Matt’s baggage into the back cabin, I lined Mr. B with the road and, with my nameless brand instamatic camera, snapped a photo.

‘It won’t work out, Lee,’ my brother said as he passed me. ‘It’s too dark.’

‘I know,’ I mumbled.

Mr. B appeared in my photo to be keeling over, such was the slope of his street. Little did I know how prophetic that photo would be of Mr. B’s adaption to the ways of the bush.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Adelaide in Sea mist © L.M. Kling 2020

***

Want more?

More than before?

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 

T-Team Next Gen–Alice to Adelaide (2)

[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 past year, I have taken 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, with the trip coming to a close, the T-K Team continue their return to Adelaide after camping at Marla for the night.]

The Trucks of Terror

Morning and the dawning realisation why this campsite may not have been popular. Anthony stomped around the tent grumbling.

‘I got no sleep last night,’ he snapped. ‘Kept getting woken up by those trucks rumbling all night. And their lights. Just as I drifted off to sleep. Those lights kept shining into our tent.’

‘Will you be alright to drive?’ I asked.

‘Why wouldn’t I be?’ he sniffed. Anthony was a man after all and infallible.

We moved like snails packing up. I loaded the Ford’s rear with stuff. Next minute, Anthony was there unloading and repacking. Must do it right, even on the last leg of our journey.

[Photo 1: While I waited, morning view from Marla campsite © L.M. Kling 2013]

While he played his version of luggage-tetris, I wandered off to the BBQ hut to check for any forgotten items that might lurk there. And behold, sitting rather smugly in a rather obvious position on the bench next to the BBQ facilities, Anthony’s water bottle. You just have to wonder whether the water bottle had legs and hid when we were searching for it the previous night. Then, when it realised that it might be left behind, it positioned itself in the fail-safe position to be found. The water bottle is not the first item to “hide” from me and then “reappear” in a place where I have looked a dozen times before…

There was much rejoicing over the lost water bottle that was found.

Owing to Anthony’s meticulous care in packing, we were the last to leave the campsite.

As we travelled the long monotonous stretch, I slept a bit, wrote in my diary a bit, and then stared out the window at the red earth, gibber plains and twisted corkwood trees. I even filmed the landscape flitting past a bit.

[Photo 2: Trees twisted on the gibber plains © L.M. Kling 2013]

Anthony took my hand. ‘I’m sorry I was grumpy.’

‘That’s okay, blame it on the trucks that kept us awake all night.’

‘I swear that there was a truck that shone its lights straight into our tent.’

‘Yeah, it seemed that way,’ I replied. ‘Perhaps we can stay at Woomera in a cabin tonight and get a decent night’s sleep.’

‘Yeah, why not!’

Around two o’clock and the landscape evolved from flat, and stone scattered to low-lying hills pockmarked with what appeared to be giant rabbit holes. Signs warned visitors to beware of mine-shafts.

[Photo 3: Mine-shaft-pitted mountains © M.E. Trudinger (nee Gross) 1956]

‘Lunch at Coober Pedy?’ Anthony said.

‘Yes, but…first a toilet-stop.’

‘And where do you suggest?’ Anthony glanced at me and then gazed at the mineshaft littered hill face.

‘A service-station? Or a pub?’

‘And where’s the service-station?’

[Photo 4: View over Coober Pedy, but where are the service stations in Coober Pedy? © R.M. Trudinger 1977]

A tour of Coober Pedy yielded no service-stations that we could find. And He who wanted to save money and eat a picnic lunch was not willing to enter a pub for the loo in case it entrapped us into eating in there.

‘What about the playground and BBQ area where we had tea with the T-Team on the way up to Central Australia?’ Anthony suggested.

Bad suggestion…

But, at the time I agreed. Lunch and loo visit in one hit.

[to be continued…next time I contend with a psycho dunny…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature photo (below): Road Train at dawn near Marla ©L.M. Kling 2013

***

Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

From the Backyard–Fur-Babies

FURRY FELINE TALES (2)

While Mum is taking a holiday in the Barossa with her siblings, I will be cat-sitting her current fur-baby, Marnie.

*[Photo 1: Marnie © L.M. Kling 2018]

 But, before Marnie, there was Molly…

Molly

Dad sipped his cappuccino, and then licking his lips, he leaned over. ‘I have a mystery concerning Molly.’

A tram rattled past. How the three ladies in their designer clothes and ability to talk through their noses could hear their own conversation, I’ll never know. Maybe the nasal accent was just the right pitch to over-ride the rumbling of trams, and then added to the tram noise, the screaming of toddlers begging for their babycinos.

*[Photo 2: Glenelg foreshore © L.M. Kling 2010]

I waited for the tram to pass. Dad, in his mid-70’s didn’t have such a strong voice. And my hearing’s never been good. ‘What do you mean, Molly? What mystery?’

‘Er, um, I think she’s missing Mum.’

I gasped. ‘Oh, no! You haven’t lost her. Like Zorro. The last time, when Mum went to Sydney, New Year’s Eve 2000 with all the fireworks, Zorro got spooked. He’s never been seen since. You don’t have a good record when it comes to cats and Mum being away.’

‘Oh, no, no, no!’ Dad said. ‘I mean, she’s been sleeping in funny places. Just the other day I found her in my underwear drawer. She was sleeping so peacefully, I left her there.’

*[Photo 3: Strange places one finds cats. Storm, phantom of the bedcovers © L.M. Kling 2011]

‘How cute.’ I paused as another tram rumbled past. The ladies by the window exploded into laughter. When they quietened, I continued, ‘But you said she was missing.’

‘Oh, no, I mean, she’s…’ Dad coughed. Always does when he’s only telling the truth in part. ‘She’s…somewhere.’

‘How can you be sure? Maybe you left her out and she’s run away.’

‘Oh, no, no, no! I put food out for her at night. Inside. And in the morning, it’s gone. She’s eating it. She’s just hiding.’

‘I see.’

‘I mean, I think she’s just found a nice little place to sleep. Where I can’t find her.’

‘I guess.’ I scraped out the last frothy bits of my cappuccino. ‘I’ll have a look for her when I come tomorrow.’

The next day, after school, the boys and I rolled up the driveway, piled out and then entered through the back door of my parent’s old housing-trust home. While Mum’s away, I liked to visit Dad to make sure he was okay.

[Photo 4: Mum holding another fur-baby © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984]

My sons raced off to the computer room but I lingered in the kitchen where I cleared away a day’s worth of coffee cups and stacked them on the sink.

‘Have you found Molly?’ I asked Dad.

‘No, but the food’s eaten. I think she’s hiding under the bed in the spare room, so I put the cat’s meat there and in the morning, again it was all gone.’

I followed Dad to the spare room to witness the evidence of an empty bowl with a few morsels of dried fish flakes remaining at the bottom.

I sniffed.

A nasty, festering sort of smell lingered in the air.

Calling my eldest, I decided we should start our Molly-search in the spare room. ‘Would you help me lift the bed-base?’

My son joined me in the small room. Two single beds, a dressing table and a large wardrobe crowded the room. We manoeuvred ourselves around one bed and lifted one end. No Molly.

‘What’s the stink?’ my son asked.

‘Not sure, but it doesn’t bode well.’ I remembered the dead mouse I’d found in that very same room, when I shifted to move to Melbourne. ‘Come on, I reckon Molly might be under the other bed.’

My son and I edged around the bed and taking hold of each side, we hoisted up one side of the base.

Molly crouched in the corner and snarled. Dried blood had matted her fur.

‘Mum! I can’t hold up the bed much longer.’

*[Photo 5: Molly enjoying her new home © L.M. Kling 2006]

Reaching, I gently lifted the tortoise shell-tabby from the furthest corner from under the raised bed-base. Around her neck and in the pit of her front leg, the fur had been rubbed away exposing a raw wound. Sticky ooze stained my sleeve.

My son put down the bed and dashed to the linen cupboard in the passageway, where he grabbed a towel. We wrapped puss up in the towel and stood in the passageway.

My younger son had extracted himself from his computer game and met us in the passage with Dad. ‘What’s wrong with her?’ he asked.

‘She’s been injured, that’s why she was hiding,’ I said.

Molly narrowed her eyes at Dad and growled.

‘Wasn’t me,’ Dad said. ‘The last time I saw her, she was fine.’

‘We have to take her to the vet,’ I said.

So swaddled in the towel like a newborn, and weak from her injury, Molly rode in my arms in the car without resistance.

*[Photo 6: Swaddled Storm—they really are fur-babies © L.M. Kling 2010]

At the vet, the nurse ushered us in to see the veterinary doctor without the obligatory wait. The vet-doctor, a fresh-faced man in his 30’s, unwrapped the towel from Molly.

‘Oh,’ he said with a grimace, ‘it looks like she got her collar stuck under her front leg. Must’ve been like that for a while.’

Dad blushed and coughed.

‘You didn’t notice?’ the vet-doctor said looking straight at Dad.

‘Yeah, well,’ Dad said as he shifted around the table, ‘my wife’s gone…’

The vet’s eyes widened with that look of pity. ‘Oh, I’m sorry—’

‘No, I mean, she’s gone to Sydney—on holiday.’

‘Oh.’

We all laughed.

‘Molly is my wife’s cat. And she took to hiding when my wife went away.’

*[Photo 7:  All boxed up. Fur-baby Spike attempting to hide © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984]

We’d found Molly just in time. The veterinary doctory treated her with antibiotics and a stay in the animal hospital. She made a full recovery.

Not sure that Dad ever fully recovered from the wrath of Mum when she returned from Sydney to discover he’d almost lost another cat in his care.

***

In Memory of Molly who lived to the respectable old (cat) age of 18.

As the Good Book, the Bible says in Matthew 6:26-27

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2021

Photo Feature: Molly enjoying her new home  © Marie Trudinger 2004

***

Want more, but too impossible to travel down under? Why not take a virtual journey with the T-Team Adventures in Australia?

Click here on Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981…

And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…

He Wanted us to Know God’s Love

In Memory and celebration of my father’s life…

Remembering his passing 9 years ago this week…

DAVID BY NAME CLEMENT BY NATURE

Ron and Lina Trudinger’s third child was born in Adelaide on January 13, 1928. His parents named him Clement David Trudinger. He was a much longed for child as he arrived eight years after his older sister, Agnes.

[Photo 1: Growing family with Clement David baby no. 3 © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection circa 1928]

“Clement?” his aunts cried. “We don’t like the name Clement.”

So they called the babe by his second name, David, and David he has been ever since. Except, of course when he goes to hospital, then he’s Clement, officially.

Throughout his life, God watched over David who has shared many stories of how he showed His love towards him, protecting, and providing for him and his family. He shared how he felt he didn’t deserve God’s love; he wasn’t perfect, yet God loved him. It is this love that David would want all of you to know.

[Photo 2: David, the boy © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection circa 1930]

He began to write down his life-story, and in the last few weeks began to tell all, especially his grandchildren, how God worked in his life and how his Heavenly Father protected him.

When he was two years old, his missionary parents took David and his younger brother Paul to Sudan, in Africa. Not the kind of place to take small children. But God protected David and his brother from a hippopotamus, cobras, car accidents, and mad men. (He’s written in more detail about these incidents and I will share these in the future.)

[Photo 3: David and his brother on the Nile © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection 1932]

God also blessed him with a loving and God-fearing family. Some may say, too God-fearing, for his parents continued their mission work in Sudan while David from the age of seven, and Paul from five, commenced their schooling in Adelaide. As a student, David only saw his parents every five years when they returned home on furlough. He shared how despite missing his parents, he enjoyed his childhood, with so many aunts doting on him, and the game afternoons they had. I think his love of games started there in the Northumberland Street parlour. He’d even created a few games in his latter years.

[Photo 4: With siblings in Adelaide © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection 1940]

His other great love was sport, especially football. God blessed David with fitness, agility, and a few trophies along the way. In retirement, he played golf, and when his legs couldn’t keep up trekking the 18 holes, he took up table tennis instead. He was still playing table tennis up until a few months ago. Sport kept his body and mind young.

David also enjoyed hiking and exploring. During school holidays he’d visit his older brother Ron, a teacher at Ernabella. While there, he made friends with the Pitjantjatjara children and go into the Musgrave Ranges on hiking expeditions. One hot day, David and a friend became lost in the ranges without water, or salt. They wandered for hours parched and at the point of dehydration, before coming across a waterhole, the most welcome sight David had ever seen. I’m sure God protected and guided them back home. I’m also sure that’s when David’s love of salt began.

[Photo 5: Younger Brothers in Ernabella © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection circa 1940]

David progressed through his schooling, and gifted in art, he trained to be an art and woodwork teacher. After a couple of years at Lameroo, he won a position at Hermannsburg Mission as headmaster.

He taught at Hermannsburg for five years. In that time, he became close to the Aranda people, especially the students he taught. They took him on expeditions into the MacDonnell Ranges, Palm Valley, and gorges and beauty spots along the Finke River. David also became close to Pastor Gross’ daughter, Marie.

[Photo 6: Teacher in Hermannsburg (David far right) © S.O. Gross circa 1955]

On January 23, 1958, he married Marie in Hermannsburg.

However, his romance with Central Australia was cut short, when, for health reasons, he and Marie had to move down to Adelaide. On October 30, his first child, Richard was born.

David continued teaching, first at Ridley Grove Primary School, and then St. Leonards P.S. The little Trudinger family moved from schoolhouse to schoolhouse.

May 3, 1963, his daughter, Lee-Anne was born. By this time, Glenelg Primary School planned to convert their little rented home into a library. As his family grew and Marie grew more unsettled with the constant shifting, David faced the challenge to buy a house. But how could he on a teacher’s wage? He looked at his lovely stamp collection of rare Sudanese stamps. Could he trade them in to help pay for a deposit?

[Photo 7: David and Marie’s first own home © L.M. KLing 2005]

They looked at a few homes. A bungalow on Cross Road appealed to him, but not Marie. His father wasn’t impressed either. Marie didn’t like that pokey little home on the main road with no back yard at all and the property was right next to the rail line. Then a trust home at Gilbert Road Somerton Park came up for sale, and the deal was done. David regretted selling his stamp collection but reasoned that this was an investment for the children. And, many years down the track, it was, especially with the two lovely court yard homes, one of which David and Marie have lived in from 2006.

[Photo 8: New and improved courtyard home © L.M. King 2021]

God blessed David’s career. He taught at Port Adelaide Primary School from the late 1960’s until he retired in 1985 at the age of 57. In that time he studied to teach Indonesian, became Deputy Principal, and won a government research grant to go to Indonesia. He became interested in the Indonesian musical instrument, the Anklung. He brought a set home and proceeded to teach pupils how to play. He had bands of students playing in the Festival of Music until 2010. He continued to visit the school now LeFever Primary and train students to play the Anklung, right up till the beginning of this year. He also tutored indigenous students.

David lived life to the full and grasped every opportunity to explore the wild and untouched land God has created, especially Central Australia. With his long service leave, and then time in his early retirement, he made regular pilgrimages to the Centre. And God protected him. I like to think that now he is with the Lord, his guardian angel is enjoying a well-deserved rest.

[Photo 9: Dad having a well-deserved Sunday afternoon rest © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1983]

One example he gave of God’s protection was on a hiking trip in the Western Wilderness of Tasmania with a friend. On one narrow path climbing around a cliff-face, he felt his heavy pack over-balance and he began to fall. “This is it,” he thought. Then he felt the pressure of someone pushing him back against the rock and he was able to step two metres further to a wider path. He knew an angel of the Lord rescued him, preserving his life, not just for his sake, but for his friend’s sake, and also because his work on earth was not complete.

[Photo 10: Cradle Mountain, Tasmania © L.M. Kling 2009]

But on August 25, 2012, David’s work on earth was done. There are probably many things he has done that will be remembered as a blessing and encouragement to all who knew him. He was a regular member of Faith Lutheran Warradale church; he took an active role, and was a vital member of the congregation for over 54 years. He was a Sunday School teacher, an elder, and a Bible Study leader.

We will miss his cheerful nature, how he grasped life, lived it to the full and shared God’s love with all he came across.

He may have been David by name, but he was Clement by nature.

[Photo 11: The original men of the T-Team, David (3rd from left) and his father and brothers © C.D. Trudinger collection 1967]

First published as a eulogy to Clement David Trudinger by Lee-Anne Marie Kling ©2012

Revised © 2016; 2021

 Feature  photo: Central Australian sunrise © C.D. Trudinger 1977

***

More of my dad’s intrepid adventures in Central Australia in my memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

Tuesday Thoughts–Identity Theft

After a busy week of birthday celebrations and Mother’s Day, I found this little pond of thoughts from a post way back in my past when my blogging life first began…

Identity Theft

We’ve all heard of the unfortunate person who’s gone for a loan, only to discover their application has been rejected—not because they have a poor credit rating—no, previously, their rating has been perfect—but because some creep has stolen their identity, spent all their credit, and accrued a bad credit-rating.

Identity theft—not nice, and it can take years for the victim to clear their name and regain a good credit-rating.

However, I’ve come across a more subtle, more disturbing, more widespread form identity theft. In fact, with this sort of theft, the victim is a passive participant in the whole deal, and willingly hands over their identity to the perpetrator.

How do you convince another person of who you really are? This is a question I have heard people ask. I have asked this question and struggled with the insidious theft of my identity since…I became self-aware.

As if a character in a novel or a play, from birth, we are cast in our roles. These roles are set by another’s attitudes and world view. In reality a great many people go through life playing a role as someone else’s character in that someone else’s book of life, without ever discovering who they really are, their true identity.

And it’s fair to say, all of us, at one time or another, have scripted others into our drama without ever seeing that person for who they really are.

I must admit, as a victim of this form of identity theft, which for the most part, I cannot control as I cannot control another’s attitudes and way they see the world, I enjoy the freedom of writing. When writing fiction, I get in touch with my real self through my characters. Also in non-fiction, such as my memoirs, I redeem my true identity from those who have stolen it for their own particular narratives. Most of the time. I have to admit, though I struggle with attitudes and judging others that get in the way of seeing another person for who they really are.

So, in answer to the question, how do you reveal who you really are to another and thus change their view of you—even when you are yourself?

The key is listening to another with empathy and non-judgementally. As in most lessons of life, we need to lead by example. We also need to be aware of our own narratives and attitudes that get in the way of being open to seeing another for who they really are. We need listen and be open to entering another’s world that will be different from ours. As we do this and listen to another and engage in their world, they will feel safe and trust you enough to open themselves up to listen and see who you really are.

Being seen for who you really are, jumping off the stage and ripping up the script, even with the tool of listening is not a quick fix. Changing our culture, attitudes and habits takes time. Maybe like the recovery from a stolen credit identity, it takes time, maybe years to restore. But isn’t it preferable to be proactive in being the person we truly are, rather than passively being someone else’s perception of us? And isn’t it a good thing to listen and see another for who they really are?

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2021

Feature Photo: Actor on Stage © L.M. Kling 2007

References

Books I have found helpful in relation to the above article:

 Born to Win by Murial James & Dorothy Jongeward ©1971

The 3rd Alternative by Stephen R. Covey ©2011

***

Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]