19 July 2008

An Old Busker (rev)

He was an old busker he said,
but not before regaling me with
shocking tales of wanderings. I
listened half amused but truly
entertained. This small white-
bearded man my wife exclaimed
could be mistaken for an Aussie
Santa Claus; that explained perhaps
why I didn’t really fathom him.
We shared a belly laugh or two
and found enough of common
ground to stamp around.

He did nasho back when I was RF
(an officer cadet), we both knew
Les Hiddens, wondered how the
Vietnam Vets’ plans to establish a
retreat for victims of PTS* and
dioxin distress at Kalpowar were
progressing. He’d lived on a pineapple
farm a bit north of where we’re growing
avocados ‘tho was wise enough to
make his own way out of it without
a stooped back or eternal complaints.

When we were solid and simpatico he
wandered over where we had our market
stall, leaned against the ute and played his
ancient squeeze-box, sang a few leery
out-West ballads and variegated bush
anthems, recited a bit of Banjo Patterson
without the drop of a hat. That was what
he used to do to rustle a quid back when,
and believe me, he was bloody good.

He could have been my best mate easily
and stayed but the houseboat he and his
wife lived on in Broadwater awaited.
And I learned all that because I gave
him a ripe avocado.
© 1 November 2006, I.D. Carswell

(*post traumatic stress)