GOF has an email friend on the other side of the world. He has never met her, and probably never will, and yet we have been able to share so many life events, both happy and sad, over the years. Her heroine is her Mom, the family matriarch, who navigated her family through many difficult times.
GOF left the family nest at an early age and had parents who were distant (in both the geographical and psychological sense), and he never ever really knew either of them well. Like most children he never asked the relevant questions of them whilst they were alive. They have both gone to God, and it is only now that I appreciate the sacrifices made by my Mother for the 13 years she nurtured me.
Women do not immediately spring to mind as heroines for most men, and their heroism is seldom publicly recognised.
My favorite philosophy for life includes the phrase "life is full of heroism", and I suspect women are responsible for a large proportion of it. So it is that I appreciate the role of mothers who, often receiving little support from partners continue to raise successive generations of responsible and caring human beings.
From the public arena, GOF has a very small handful of people he has admired.
Firstly I would like to include Nelson Mandela, but suspect he is almost something above and beyond human. How can a man be incarcerated for so many years, yet emerge so forgiving to those responsible?
Returning to mere mortals. Peter Ustinov. My grandparents died before I was born. If I had known my grandfather I would have liked him to be like Ustinov. Even at my present age, I would have liked to sit by him and just listen. He possessed so much wisdom, knowledge and the ability to communicate it with dignity and humour. R.I.P. Sir Peter.
Dick Smith, for those outside Australia is a self made entrepreneur, aviator, adventurer, and all round nice human being. He is fiercely pro-Australian and anti the multi-national takeover and control of our small companies. He founded the Australian Geographic magazine, and sponsors many young Australian adventurers, and heritage projects. GOF in recent years has resolved to tell those he admires, and who have been a major influence in his life, before it is too late. GOF does not value material possessions all that highly, but a personal response letter from Dick Smith is one that I do. Thank you Dick for giving us all something to aspire to.
John Denver. There was so much I would have liked to say to John Denver. Then he died. Too late! Perhaps I would have said very little to John in person, for, like Ustinov I would have preferred to just listen to him…..his oratory and his music. He was a man of great passion and eloquence, and a true friend of the planet before it became fashionable and political to do so. GOF loves all sorts of music, but to my mind nobody wrote love song lyrics any better. He exuded a genuine sincerity in his music and conservation values, to which he devoted his life in his final years.
His honesty extended to his autobiography, written just a few years before his untimely death, in which he confronts the shortcomings of his own flawed personal behaviour, in an almost brutal fashion,
admitting his responsibility for the failure of his personal relationships.
John has been gone for more than 10 years now. He would end concerts wishing the audience "peace my friends".
John Denver; peace to you my friend. I still miss you.
If my valued reader would like to nominate a favourite hero, please leave a comment.