I was just stalking on Facey, like I do some nights and realised I had missed an old friend of the families birthday… quickly rectified with a belated well wish but it got me thinking back to some really great times with some really great company. I think from an early age I knew what a great time was; what it meant to be a part of something special and around people who made a difference. The ‘Power Family’ were one of those families for me. All six of them.
They lived out on some acreage, in a house plonked in what I guess was once a paddock, or scrub perhaps? Was so long ago I really only remember the inside with its long, open plan kitchen with copper pots, and living area showcasing a brick divider wall and a wood heater central to the room. It was always warm inside, even in the middle of winter and I loved to go to the ‘Powers’.
Our families nestled around the kitchen laughing and talking while watching ‘Dad’ Power do his mandatory Two Little Dickie Birds trick; tearing two corners off the silver paper from the inside of his packet of cigarettes, licking his long pointer fingers and sticking the paper to the front of his nails with spit; his hands gently placed on the table or bench and the show would begin. Wiggling his pointer fingers first while softly chanting the words “Two little dickie birds, sitting on a wall”… left finger wiggles “one named Peter”, right finger wiggles “one named Paul” silver paper dickie birds shining. Excitement builds as we all lean closer… his left hand swoops up “fly away Peter” sweeping behind his head and back to the table, our eyes darting to his right hand swooping up “fly away Paul”, darting behind his head and back to the table, dickie birds missing; we watch his hands intently, waiting, holding our breath and swoosh with his left hand behind his head again, “come back Peter” and his hand rests on the table with silver paper Peter returned, eyes darting up as his right hand again swooshes up and around his head “come back Paul”. Captivated we would squeal, “again!” He was a tall, handsome and gentle man, always smiling and loving life and happy to repeat it again, and again, and again.
Nights like that would go into the wee hours, with us girls falling asleep on the carpeted floor in the lounge in the beanbags with rugs, while our parents laughed; men drinking and women chatting over copious amounts of coffee.
Other nights were when fireworks were centre stage. Back in the day when you could build, and light a bonfire the size of a small building and let off thousands of fireworks, crackers, pinwheels, sparklers, rockets and anything else you could get your hands on. Guy Fawkes Night was huge in the eighties. It was a sight to behold while unbelievably dangerous too. Not that I remember anyone ever getting hurt as we were all pretty conscious of the dangers, even back then as we ran around with those long sparklers writing dirty words or our names in the dark. The smoke from any fireworks takes me directly to those dark nights in the paddock, the smell of the sulphur thick in my nostrils, grass seeds in my socks, people milling all around watching the spectacular show above. The cracking and whistling of the rockets blasting up into the night and spraying its wonder across the blanket of black.
I remember the Power family with a fondness and love, that I can honestly say I don’t have for many families. The fact I haven’t seen them since I was a little girl doesn’t matter. They moved from Ballarat and only kept in contact with my parents with an annual Christmas card with a short update of what’s going on. After receiving the last Christmas card from them the year Mum passed I was given the task of writing back, to let them know one of their dear friends was gone. I couldn’t call as I had no number for them, so a return letter it was. That was tough, like a real Dear John letter but much, much worse.
Anyway, I have since reunited with ‘Mum’ Power and they’re doing wonderful, lots of grand babies and their family is as beautiful as ever. All tall, great looking and smiling their beautiful big smiles in the pictures I stalk… lol
I am richer for having them be part of my life in my early years. I knew that then, and still know it now, and maybe just maybe ‘Dad’ Power could do the two little dickie birds for me again? I hope his grandies squeal for it too!
Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!