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Road menders, policemen and a fisherman or two



On Tuesday it was the Big Race, the Melbourne Cup,so many people watch it that it is called the Race that Stops a Nation here. We have entries from all over the world. The Godolphin family who own Emirates Airlines fielded five horses this year, a marvel really in all kinds of ways. I didn't back a horse this year, too busy with other things but made sure I was home for the race itself. It is a Aussie thing to do. There are sweeps in the offices and my first memory of a sweep was in senior high school, small stakes but a thrill to win. I come from a family with a history of gambling so I don't gamble myself, safer that way.


I am 69 so I have a lot of years to look back on. Sometimes I sit and think of sad memories, Ray had the long period of invalidity with strokes, I had Dad here with cancer and he died after a fall in 2000, I had Mum for two years here with Alzheimers and we had all kinds of problems with her. Then she had the long period in the hostel and nursing home when I supervised her care and visited her regularly. With her and Ray dying two months apart I got stuck in sadness for a while but am over all of that now. I still have a lot of sad memories but I have a heap of happy memories too.


In 1979 - 1983 we lived on the side of the Pacific Highway in a little town called Karuah. We were the first house off the bridge on the south side so the first stop for a lot of people who were making inquiries, needed water for their radiator or who were lost. There was an information board in the park opposite but humans being what they are they preferred to holler to me over the fence rather than get the information themselves so I had a lot of encounters with the public. Ray also had an office in the house and as he was away a lot there were always forms on the kitchen table that I had to hand to one of his fishermen or oyster farmers and it often had an envelope with it so I had to walk across to the Post office and post it too.


We were well known in the district because of this so on Melbourne Cup day I would put on the television and put out some cups and saucers and maybe some sandwiches and see who arrived. One year we had road works outside our gate so at about a quarter of an hour before the race there was a knock on the door and there was one of the road workers saying: "Could we come in and watch the Cup? I think we are a bit grubby to go to the Club." The Bowling Club was directly behind us but they had a strict dress code so the workmen definitely wouldn't have been welcome among the nicely dressed ladies and their men friends, there for the Melbourne Cup party. So they were my visitors one year.


Another year there had been a spate of burglaries around the town, even Ray's boat shed was broken into. On Melbourne Cup day a police car drew up and a couple of policemen came in, supposedly to ask if he had seen anything unusual while he was loading or unloading his boat earlier in the week as he was often out late at night. "Oh it's Cup time." one said, "Do you mind if we stay for that?" Of course they were eyeing the sandwiches on the table so they were invited to stay and have some afternoon tea with us. It was just good luck Ray was home that day, he was unfortunately unable to help with their inquiries but it was always good to have afternoon tea together, always good be on the right side of the law.


And the last of our three years there some of the fishermen decided to have a BBQ in front of our house, because we had a large waterfront park in front of the house and it was a convenient spot for them to meet. Of course their ladies were at a party else where and of course they finished up inside watching the Cup with us. It was those kind of things that made Ray popular, he always did his duty as far as upholding the law went but he held no preconceived ideas of what people were like and all were welcome to come into our kitchen and have a cup of tea. It is one of the good things I remember about him at that time, years before the strokes. He loved his time with Fisheries, to him it was Boys Own Adventure time. It was a bit lonely sometimes for me and the children but that is another story.


We all have memories good and bad. In the bad times it is often hard to remember the good times and a lot of blogs on here reflect that and that is good. We all need a place to vent and the Strokenet site is set up to allow that to happen and to let people post and blog in that way so that like-minded people can support them. Let's face it, we all go through the hard times and I am more than ready to support people any way I can. I have had so much support here myself from my very first post. When I came here in 2005 Ray had just had stroke number four, far more than I had ever envisaged. He was on the right medication to stop strokes both his doctor and his neurologist said but despite that he had more. It was a hard time for me. So finding Strokenet was wonderful.


I think I have a sign on my forehead that says: "Good Listener" for that is also true for me in real life. I can sit down on a park bench and soon someone is sitting there with me and chatting away telling me all their troubles. And that is fine, another way of keeping loneliness at bay. I have accepted being a widow now but I guess I will never stop feeling that with Ray's death something good went out of my life. Those 44 years of marriage made a solid foundation. I may make new friends and have a new experiences but those old memories will always be with me.


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Hello Sue reading about the Melbourne Cup, remind  me about the Grand national in England. Everyone had a bet, and watched the race. My first bet was when I was about 10years, and gave the horse number to my Uncle. The race is fun, what with the high fences that the horse has to jump, my horse fell, he was okay. But I did not care, the fun was seeing the race. I did win when I was older, so that made it extra special.  Sue, you have your memories, good and bad, but that is life. To me it soundes that Ray was a wonderful husband, and a great human being, that is imporant. Like you, i have People who will tell me things, and I listen. So this lady tells me that she was married ove 60years, but was not happy, and over the years, he lived in one country, she in America, that was not a married. I did ask her, if she though that she did not deserve better, she laughted, and said now she does. Only had one daughter, who also was not close to her father. So Sue, you was blessed that you had a loving , caring, husband, and a great married.  


Take care, you are a blessing



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Sweet Sue, you write so beautifully and I loved your memoir.....saddened by the misfortunes, but delighted with the happy times.  I'd rate this blog as a 10 if I could.  You balance the ups and downs of life so well!!  


If I ever grow up, I want to be exactly like you!!!  Lots and lots of love and hugs!  Lin

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Sue, I'm so glad you are still living your life as you desire with people and friends alike around you many days of the week.... So you are in a good location to not be isolated from the public.....

i hope you continue to enjoy life where you are and can mingle with the people there and friends you will get to know as time goes by..... That way you will not be too lonely feeling...... Then you always got your kids not to far away....

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