During the recent school holidays, straight after Easter, we headed north to the border and the Murray River to spend a few days waterskiing with my brother, niece, nephew and “Uncle Mick”. Uncle Mick’s real name is Uncle Graeme, and he is my father’s youngest brother. Why we call him Uncle Mick and not Uncle Graeme is a whole other story, and believe me, when we are sitting around a campfire with Uncle Mick, there are plenty of stories of the family, right from where they all grew up on Granddad’s farm, to when my Dad started dating my Mum, and many more stories throughout the years.
This was the first time my chidren had been camping with Uncle Mick, – well technically the boys camped by the river, and the girls enjoyed the campfire and then headed back to the motel for showers and bed. We didn’t really have enough camping equipment for all of us to camp – but then, we didn’t know that Uncle Mick had everything we could possibly want or need – or that he would be so well set up. He even brought a camp toilet (or dunny as he would say), which turned out to be an actual toilet that you would find in any home bathroom – complete with a baseboard he had fixed to the bottom of it – and plumbing that he hooked up to go out the back of the little toilet tent and fed into a hole, which of course he dug himself and turned into a proper “bush dunny”. Oh I wish I’d taken a photo of that to share!
But that is just part of the story of the days we spent on the banks of the river – and we have many more including huge camp fires each night with enormous logs that he would just pick up and throw on the fire like they weighed nothing. Uncle Mick still runs his own excavation business – he has all the “big boy toys” and has men to work them, but he is out there each and every day working right alongside them. I think that may be the secret – he is still so active, not just physically but mentally. Maybe that’s why he can still jump start from the bank, slalom ski, cut through the wake, and have spectacular crashes and still get back up laughing at how much fun it was. I’m only hoping that I can have his zest for life for the rest of mine!
Blueprint: JF – Frankie. Traveller Digital Kit. Fonts: University High, Teen