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Curtains up

The whistling stopped just when I had started to forget everything except Allison Davies thighs and where they were hopefully taking us too. Neighborly Bob Saxon must have sensed our playful antics gathering pace beyond the shared boundary hedge. It was always a scruffy scrubby hedge, undernourished looking and utterly useless except as a bygone childhood forced weeding exercise. Pleasingly, Bob Saxon soon relaxed again, went back to tendering his loved veggie garden and, this time began singing with his powerful baritone voice the lyrics of a mutually popular Mario Lanza tune that I knew dad would have been pleased to have absorbed many times more, if we had not buried him around midday. Then again, maybe he sung for us all. Allison, rapidly lost interest in all things hot including adolescent backyard romps with the likes of I, atleast with Bob near by on this unforgettable mixed emotional mid summers sixties moment.

Musing on, once back inside the Bayswater family home, I had realized that dad's passing was just really starting to jell within me. It was only the previous Thursday that aunt Tamar's first phone call had informed me, her eldest brother was having trouble breathing and the doctor had been called, she sounded concerned but calm. Mum, she said wanted the close family to know the situation at home but not to over worry, come home early if we could, otherwise someone would phone again once the doctor's new prognosis was known. I decided anyway, that I would ask for the afternoon off once the office manager had returned from his unexpected extended lunch break. Dad had seemed quite surprisingly well of late and felt convinced that this extra energy was god given so he could complete for publication historical manuscripts and other writings important to him. This included his well researched accounts of early colonial New Zealand's bloody land wars, particularly over the fertile Waikato with its Tainui people. Culminating, dad would say, in a hundred years of inequality for Tainui through undue loss of their economic and social base. Aunt Tamar had rung back within the hour, but this time her voice was quite different and very faint. She and her brother George had become closer over the years, partly due to him being the eldest out of nine and becoming a substitute father when granddad dropped his age and enlisted for overseas action in the Second World War. Drawn by adventure more than any patriotism from his mixed European Polynesian (Tainui) ancestry. Especially then, as the Tainui people were called upon by their own King movement to boycott enlisting until their own unsolved grievances with the Crown were acknowledged and properly dealt with. Aunt Tamar's voice quivered as she informed me, dad had just died! I walked out of work like a zombie, bused straight home, hopped in bed with my father and hugged his then very cold cold body. I could not stop thinking that, that morning his last words to me from behind his partially closed bedroom door were, turn the music down on the radio, son ... I had and then departed.

A few months over fifteen years old and parental control had just been diminished by around ninety percent, mum was mum and seemed near tolerant of all. I could now do much as I liked and not be questioned by a caring but dominant father who often frowned on a freewheeling love of the sixties teenage emancipation. Recalling, it was only a short period before this while home from boarding College during leave arising from dad's diagnosed health condition that I'd asked dad if I could leave rather than return to a College that I had had enough of. Surprisingly, he agreed I could by either going to the local High School, Takapuna Grammar, a move that I wasn't at all too keen on, as boarding College although restrictive in some ways had changed me. Most teachers were American, stimulating, less stuffy and regimented than local ones. We were able to wear long trousers to School, dress more casual and even dance with coed girls on a Saturday night, or sometimes undetected slip into local Hamilton City to enjoy various adolescent attractions. My friendships had changed dramatically, childhood friends and I now held too little in common to make a schooling change palatable enough to even want to try. One other unlikely option was given to me, that being, if I could wrangle a rewarding office job with good future advancement opportunities. Being a youthful male with just enough commercial schooling and typing ability to convince myself I could land such a job by putting my age and schooling up just alittle, I did. Quite startlingly to some, especially to my dad, I quickly became amply employed and, within months was promoted to my own Harbour viewing office in the branch department of the biggest Store in Auckland City. Living life seemed rather right.

As I ruminated more I also realized dad's passing was my second recent personal shock, it followed closely on acknowledgment by (so called) medical experts and myself that I had inherited amongst other things a faulty gene. Which without breakthrough medical treatment arriving could make my quality of health quite precarious within a decade or so. Under- production of a protein essential for full voluntary muscular vitality was at the core of this diagnoses and, I recalled the first real negative effects I experienced from this condition occurring not long before I had finally left boarding College. The incident happened while changing after a regular afternoon swimming workout in the School's Olympic sized pool. Mike, a windy Wellington redhead in the same form as I, began telling me about his little problem, he only had one ball. This, being something I already knew as it was fairly common knowledge around the College. He was not called, great balls afire, for nothing, also some unthinking sorts would sometimes hum ... Hitler, he only had one ball, in earshot of fiery red Mike. I recall once ending up with a black eye and a bloodied nose through overzealously intervening on his behalf in a fight with an obnoxious school bully. This seemed to have caused some sort of male bonding between us, especially on his part. Mike carried on regurgitating his problem to me, then asked if I realized my right upper arm muscle was abit lesser developed than my left upper arm muscle. I remember looking and looking again … there was a difference, not much, but, a difference all the same. This quickly developed a change in my thinking concerning future life and living it. A health condition unwanted and uncertain by nature, made me realize that a high degree of schooling was no longer important to me. Living and knowing well the moments this given life could still give, became paramount.

Although dad was only middle-aged, I noticed an over-supply of the people who returned to the family home (after the funeral) were convinced he had gone on to some higher calling! Their synthetic god's will ... the fellow travellers answer for dad's lack of enthusiasm to speedily depart for his own eternal glory. It seemed near anyone's god and I became poles apart that memorable summer, causing me to ponder more, over the manipulation of minds by organized soul-savers who seem to have an endless need to keep reassuring themselves of their own dogma by relentlessly trying to convince others of the benefits of shared tunneled vision. Allison's help or not, I decided I was going to live this life to its full potential. If, an uncertain medical condition may rob me of longevity, I would seize the days, enjoy the moments, condense life and, if felt wanting, take the fast lanes all the seasons the lights stayed green. After-all, mine's a postwar generation, sons and daughters of a status quo, a baby boom born in hope sharing birth with the Nuclear age ... with, rock-n-rolls, new teenage revolution, fueling real rhythms of change jet-streaming through the mind. Curtains up … so I'll play.

 

 

Past all the rest.

 

This, will be a different season

a time of real change

that’s never been around before

and, never will again.

Some rises passed the highest

some sets below the rest

a real want of calmness

like found on the breast.

Dawn’s alive and rising

one choice the midday’s slowed

the crest of all that rises

comes once, before it goes.

This, will be a different season

a time of real change

that’s never been around before

to be ever shared the same.

Some highs may pass the highest

some lows may pass the best

together, alone, being as one

a time past all the rest.

Dawn’s alive and rising

in choice the midday’s slowed

the crest of all that’s rising

comes once before it goes.

This, is a different season

a time of real change

that’s never been around before

and ... never can again.

 

Daniel