Monday, 20th June 2016.
Today was fucking shitballs. I have no picture of today to share, but I do have a memory or two, and a couple of old pics.
I’ve recanted a few tales of my earlier years while living in Ballarat and Clunes, but I haven’t yet mentioned a particular family who occupied a huge chunk of my childhood. My memories are fond when it comes to the Carbone’s, they were brilliant people then, and still are now.
Mr and Mrs C have two kids, a son and daughter. They’re obviously grown adults now; their son with a family of his own and my ‘adopted’ sister yet to find Mr Right (I think?)… They are a small family in comparison to their immediate Italian family, with cousins and aunts and uncles, all still crazy close and super involved. It’s really beautiful and humbling to watch from backstage on FB.
My first memory of them was a cold night, wrapped in our pj’s and dressing gowns, running around their seemingly huge Clunes home, waving swords and watching their son play his drums. I was mesmerised by the dripping oil light fitting, with the naked statue that centred their nook living room. Earthy tones and a real ‘woggy’ feel of terracotta, tiles, marble and dark woods that decorated the interior, and a huge grape vine that ran the length of the home.
We spent heaps of nights with the Carbones, mum and Mrs C were inseparable, while dad and Mr C played footy together on weekends, trained together and drank together, even playing in a basketball team ‘The Grasshoppers” at a ripe old age. Mates you would have said, for life. I’ll never forget the umpteenth time that Mr C tried to give up the fags, and he turned up at our place with a ciggie behind his ear that had been there for days, probably a week. He thought the habit was more physical than anything and insisted that if he kept one and just pretended to smoke it, he would be able to beat the habit… lol. That poor ciggy was bent beyond recognition, and we all got a bit of a laugh when he held it to his mouth and drew back a fake drag.
They were a social family, very community minded and for a time they owned and ran the Club Hotel in Clunes, renovating it and bringing it back to life… it was the place to be. The footy players lived there, cricket too, and the TAB was always moving. They sponsored the Clunes team in the Yabby Festival at Talbot, sponsored dad in the Victorian Arm-Wrestling Championships at Tarnagulla back in the day and then they sold up and moved to Sydney. It was after then that our families drifted apart. Distance will do that.
This blog isn’t about that distance, or that drifting apart. This is about Pat, and his battle ahead after being dealt the stupid fucking C-card.
I just didn’t know how to write a blog for Pat, so I didn’t blog at all for seventeen days. It sat in my drafts for that period. And I chewed on my words.
Then my cousin passed away on the 1st of July, so I blogged about her the day we said goodbye… and then I delayed this one for Pat even further. It’s taken me 23 days to get this blog even close to being done.
In his younger days, Pat was a firecracker – a little Italian ball of fire. You didn’t mess with Pat, and I once heard a story about him ‘skipping’ over the bar of the Club Hotel to stop a fight. Quick as a whip snake, Pat would knock you flat before you realised he had whopped you on the snout. In his little pair of footy shorts, his hairy legs moved fasted than they should have.
He had the iconic chunky black Italian moustache; he would slick it down with his thumb and forefinger after a swig of his pot of beer, froffy clinging to the edge of his duster. He would really get the stash going when his daughter tested him… he would yell across the house “the buckets nearly full Gabriella!” That’s when she knew she was in the shit, big time. Totally made us giggle, and she still gets “the buckets nearly full Gabriella!”
Myself, Ben and our boys stayed with Glenda and Pat for two nights on our way to the Gold Coast a couple of years back. I have to say, it was the most homely stay-over I’ve had in a long time. They opened their home to us with open arms. I miss mum terribly, and Glenda stood up that weekend and gave me what I needed. Pat was right beside Glenda, supporting the kid he had known most of her childhood life, even though he said nothing. His energy is powerful and his charisma commands your attention and respect but at the same time he’s gentle.
Pat, if you happen to read this, I just want you to know, “thank you.” Thank you for a life time of beautiful memories, and the ones yet to come. You are so loved. Not just by your own blood, but by your life long friends who consider you their family, and that includes me. When we scribbled on that piece of paper 30 odd years ago, signing on the dotted lines, we had happily ‘adopted’ Gabby, and that night you unknowingly gained three more daughters… while happily giving Gabby to us lol… We send you all our strength, love and courage in this tough stage you embark, and we will see you when you move back to the Rat. Of that I promise. X
Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!