Posted on

On Heroines and Hero Worship (with apologies to Thomas Carlyle)

At last the pain I have been enduring while typing is gradually subsiding.

I have to confess it was my own fault: The other morning my mind was not on what I was doing. It was somewhere else; probably contemplating the ongoing mystery of the Deuteronomic Concept of Retribution and the necessity of God’s grace. I was making (or attempting to make) a ‘smoothie at the time, with a banana in one paw and one of those stick blenders in the other. Unfortunately, I contemplated a tad too long, and absently fed one finger instead of the banana into the blender …

I never knew one finger contained so much blood! As I looked at the floor, in a state of shock, it appeared a mass murder had been committed in our kitchen, with pools of good ANeg everywhere.

Here’s just one picture to give you an idea.

Thankfully, I heal well and the good news is, being marrie to Janet, who did her time as a registered nurse, has been a blessing. She’s had plenty of extra practice over the years on the ageing and scarred body of her accident-prone hubby.

Speaking of nurses; last Thursday Janet went to a funeral of one of those she trained with all those years ago. Gail was a delightful person, who died unexpectedly, after spending her working lifetime as a registered nurse. The order of service has a photo of her, back in the days when she and Janet and others were all in the same class at Royal Newcastle Hospital, during the four years of their training, when they had to ‘live in’ – a bit like “Call the Midwife”. It brought home to me the fact that the years are flying
. Gail was the youngest in Janet’s group. All were 18 years of age in their first year of training. Here is a photo of them all, including Janet; beautiful young women, commencing their working lives to care for others in the field of nursing. Sadly, Gail wasn’t the first in Janet’s group to pass beyond the veil. Others have died before her.  Quite a few f the surviving classmates attended the service for Gail

The previous Tuesday I’d conducted a funeral service in my old parish of Manly NSW. The deceased lady was Miss Audrey Cummins, the organist during my time there; in fact she spent roughly forty-five years as the organist at St Andrew’s Manly. She was a brilliant organist. Her predecessor was Miss Alice Bryant, who was the organist at St Andrew’s Manly for sixty-three years. The famous Australian artist Tom Roberts painted a por
trait of Alice, seated at the stool of St Andrew’s superb pipe organ. The painting hung in the vestry for years. Between them, those two wonderful ladies clocked up over a hundred years of dedication; playing sacred hymns and music at St Andrew’s and were involved in various church and choral activities; all hatches, matches and despatches as well. Miss Bryant was quite famous as an organist with a world-wide reputation, as was Audrey, and I was pleased when Audrey was awarded an OAM for her contribution to organ music in 2005. I felt greatly honoured to be asked to conduct her funeral service in the church she loved.

Last Wednesday was a day of violent weather which continued into the night.  Our dear dog Jock normally has a warm and cosy bed in a special room in our shed, which he likes, but on nights like that he gets a bit nervous and prefers to stay in the house with us. He has a special little comfy bed which I put in our bedroom beside me on those occasions. About 2.30am Thursday I was startled into wakefulness by Jock’s urgent nudgings as he pawed at me while making little whimpering sounds that sounded like “Dad – get up! Something’s not right!” He was definitely saying it in dog language. It had never happened before. My first thought was that he wanted to go outside, but it wasn’t. He ran to the stairs and looked up. That’s when I became aware that the fire alarm up there was beeping. I rushed up the stairs, checked everything out, found there was no fire and managed to stop it somehow. Of course by this time we were all awake. Finally we went back to bed.

Next morning Heather told us that after we went to bed, the alarm made a couple of more beeps. When that happened, Jock rushed up the stairs and stayed with her for the rest of the night, sleeping on the floor beside her bed, no doubt ready to wake her if the beeping recommenced.

I’ve thought about it frequently ever since – how quiet, beautiful Jock may well have saved our lives, had the alarm signalled a real fire, for I heard nothing. How many people have died, unable to escape, because they did not know their house was alight until too late?

We look at Jock with increased love and respect these days. This is a dog who at age two had been ill-treated before he came to us, and would probably have been shot – because he didn’t want to chase sheep! Jock is now nine years of age, and our hero – may God bless his brave and faithful little heart.

By the way, I haven’t mentioned this to Tonkie… don’t want to make him jealous!