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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Ben

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Ben

                                                    (This was written on the 24th June 2010.)

To understand my connection to Ben, you firstly need to know that his Dad, Gordon, is my closest male friend, confidante, an inspiration in life, and the only remaining constant connection to my school days 47 years ago.

Ben was born in 1983, and we watched him and his siblings grow up in a family which nurtured old-fashioned values like courtesy, consideration, and respect for others.

Ben was Inga's contemporary, and the two of them as little children would play-act scenarios of their favourite television cartoon adventure characters.
Indeed, Ben went on to become a crocodile handler and adventurer in real life.
He "flew" my little computer flight simulator, then with a singular determination qualified as a fully fledged private helicopter pilot.

For the last 6 years he was a member of the elite SAS commando division of the Australian armed forces where he proudly served both at home and abroad, most recently in Afghanistan.

Last Friday was Ben's 27th birthday.

This week he will be coming home to his family from Afghanistan.

Ben was one of three young Australians killed in a helicopter accident in Afghanistan on Monday during joint military operations with American forces.

In this time of almost indescribable grief, an entire little country village and community is attempting to come to terms with it's loss and trying to ease the pain of bereavement for a family who has lost their son and hero.

Ben was blessed with the qualities of courage and bravery, but I will remember him as simply being one of the most respectful young men I have ever known.

Ben's entire remaining family are also now heroes to me as they respond to the intrusive media attention with unprecedented dignity and courtesy which has always been their trademark.

Suddenly any debate and philosophical discussion I engage in about the rights and wrongs of war from the comfort of my home in my democratic free country can take a back seat.  I need to think more about the price we paid to make Australia the country which it now is and to keep it remaining thus.

But most importantly, even though I feel ill-equipped, I have a best mate who needs my support right now, and for a long time into the future.

(30 August 2010)

In Ben's memory I post the following poem which was read by his Mum and little sister at the memorial service held on the banks of Lake Tinaroo.  It should give us all something to think about.

The Dash      by Linda Ellis

I read of a reverend who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning—to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and he spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth…..
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
the cars….the house…..the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…..
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
You could be at "dash mid-range".

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what's true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile…..
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read
with your life's actions to rehash….
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

Ben Chuck   (1983 – 2010)

"When you have gone so far,
that you can't manage another step,
then you have gone just half the distance
that you are capable of."

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Undercover bust

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Tomorrow is going to be a big day.

I'll need to dust off my 1960's Ilya Kuryakin black supersleuthing skivvy, and give it a quick once-over with deodorant to mask the residual stench of my stale teenage spy sweat, then mosey on out west in a potentially dangerous exercise of chivalry.
 
This is a humanitarian project for which I might have to rope in a couple of my trustworthy male Vox friends to lend a hand.

Background Briefing

At least one website visitor tracking program records my whereabouts as "Innot Hot Springs". 
Now I wish all my enemies great success in finding me there, but the last time I checked, the tiny settlement of Innot Hot Springs, out in Queensland's savannah country, had a total population of seven, none of whom looked remotely like GOF.
(except for the unshaven drunk sitting in the gutter outside the pub)

Sinister things however seem to be happening at Innot Hot Springs. 
I am regularly receiving urgent popup pleas on my computer from distressed young women who are probably being held there against their will.

"Gina, 24, from Innot Hot Springs, needs YOU, GOF."

"Annika, 26, from Innot Hot Springs, needs YOU, GOF."

"Marie-clare, 22, from Innot Hot Springs, needs YOU, GOF."

                                         and

There seem to be at least 50 of these innocent young women who are asking me to release them from their apparently miserable lives of enslavement at Innot Hot Springs.
I must be their last resort.
(no correspondence on the previous sentence will be entered into.)

They all seem to be putting on brave smiling faces in spite of their deprivations, as I imagine that they most likely have to labour all day in the fields under a fierce tropical sun.

It is possible, judging from the names, and blonde Nordic features of many of these young women, that I have stumbled upon an illegal Scandinavian immigration racket. 
Hopefully by late tomorrow night I will have everything uncovered and fully exposed.

As you can see from the picture of the virtuous young Heidi, the girls are all living in appalling circumstances with only the bare necessities of clothing which is tattered, dishevelled and poorly fitting with broken straps and fasteners.

There are two things I need to do today in preparation.

1. Hire a very large bus to accommodate all the released hostages, then cover it with camouflage paint.

2. Go down to the Salvation Army shop and pickup some proper bras, blouses and skirts so that I may immediately fit these innocent nymphs with correctly sized garments to ease the shame and embarrassment which they must now be suffering at the hands of their captors.

This will be one huge heroic rescue mission.

My social duty and obligation.

One way or another I may not be back for a while.

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An unholy resurrection

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OK, I admit it……there was a very subtle hint in my previous post that this was never going to happen.

Life changes.

For one thing, the mongrel 2010 wet season is over.  Gracias a Dios.
The beautiful bowser of solar energy has now refuelled my diminished resources of sanity and joie de vivre, as well as recharging the vital electricity storage batteries.

Additional changes to my life have, as usual, been instigated by the inspirational Mrs GOF.    Blame this born-again bloggery on her.

"GOF, when my happy single life was replaced with our dubious union of holy matrimony 30 years ago, there was no contractual obligation for me to ever be the sole recipient of your relentless nonsense and tedious opinionated sermonising."

"This has been the longest three and a half months of my life."

"If you would like us to clock up 31 years together, please go back to your little (* expletive deleted) Bucket and fill that up with all your insipid ideologies instead of inflicting them upon me."

I argued that a reason for terminating the blog was my dwindling supply of half-intelligent ideas, and the consequent risk of writing pure unadulterated bullshit.

She reassured me.

"Don't worry GOF, the supply won't dry up.  Your cup runneth over with it.  You are quite full of it."

Additionally, since I took my eye off it for a few months, the world has gone to the dogs.

Nobody in authority seems to give a rat's arse that since I last wrote a blog, the population of Earth has increased by another 20 million.

It doesn't take a genius to work out that this behaviour, indifference and complacency is unsustainable in the long term.

Our human Titanic is listing precariously with an overloaded shifting cargo of people, political correctness and religious intolerance.
It surely requires some hefty irreverent and innovative counterweights in the hold, so that after we inevitably hit the iceberg of our self-indulgent arrogance we will at least gurgle on down to the bottom of the ocean of life on a more even keel.

Therefore I'll firstly make my token contribution by solemnly promising not to sire any more children.
(Escape Clause; this oath will be rendered null and void upon receipt of any invitation, demand and/or ultimatum from Elle)

Also, with jemmy bar in hand, I now prise off the rusty lid of The Bucket and make this token fresh deposit of satirical ballast to the now fermented semi-digested putrid cesspit of GOF's philosophy.

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