Like water from Holbrook…
Beautiful as Burrowye is, sometimes we just need to get off the place. James has a weekly wool classing course in Wagga Wagga, so Dora and I have tagged along. Thanks to my mother-in-law, Joe will be enjoying some grandma time (and no doubt her iPad).
It seems that once a year we find ourselves in the comfort of Room 122 at The Carlyle. It’s a two bedroom kitchenette spa bath roomed extravagance but it’s cheaper than a psychiatrist and probably twice as effective.
To get to Wagga we took the Tumbarumba Road through Book Book and Ladysmith and golden sunset river gum land even more poetic than its place names. Book book is another name for the mopoke that calls in the early hours of the morning in certain seasons. James and I used to listen to it in the heady early days of our relationship, it was a kind of a touchstone for me during all the gruelling lost pregnancies, Dora was born at two thirty am….and now she wakes for a feed and a chat at this time. Book book station looks so wonderful that we are tempted to just drop in – it has beautiful park like paddocks with lots of old gum trees. Like the landscape described by Bill Gamidge in The Great Estate.
We got onto the Hume Highway at Holbrook – the town famous for its half sunk submarine. I wonder how many kids have begged their hurtling parents to stop at the landmark. And how many of us have not stopped. Holbrook is also known for its fantastic Landcare group – more inspirational, organised and visionary than others for miles around. We arrived at the Holbrook bakery around 4.30, short on energy, short on lunch, at the short end of our ropes over all sorts of things (this is a condition particular to us and August it seems). We were also short on cash.
James and I had a debate at the counter – didn’t have enough for the pie and the water, should have bought water from our BPA filled supply of old containers at home, blah blah. I ordered the pie and James wondered what we were going to do about water. I told him I’d sort something out. James went outside while our pie was being warmed. Dora and I looked longingly at three gorgeous school kids eating story book perfect cream buns. I’ve just given up sugar and poor Dora has to wait two more weeks before she can get her gums around solids. The mother of the kids chatted in the bustle of the store – about frost and rain and needing to see some grass somewhere, anywhere. Then she turned to me and said: “let me get you some water. I know what it’s like. On the road. Penny pinching. Her to feed.” I demurred, she persisted, I accepted. And nearly cried. The woman went outside and struck up a conversation with a woman from the Landcare network. I wasn’t quite up to joining in, but I know we’ll all cross paths again soon.
We got back into the Corolla that doubles as our ute and I told James about her beautiful gesture. The ladies at the bakery had carefully packaged up the pie. And added a salad.
They say the war will be fought over food and water.
How lucky we were to taste human kindness today.