For all things…
I spotted her from the corner of my eye. She was carrying a bucket of water. I’d seen her before. The young woman was dark haired, olive skinned and the most beautiful eyes that have no fear of telling the world what is in her soul. She was endowed with the classical charm and mannerisms which are so often attributed to the fashionable but is rarely found amongst them. It is an exceptional feature found amongst the beauties of nature. It has nothing to do with culture or class; it is only of nature and it does not know itself. I applied the brakes and reversed my van back.
She turned and instantly recognised me. I was greeted with all the affection of a long lost friend.
“I haven’t seen you since Alligator Creek”
“Told ya we’d see ya on the road sometime”
“But where is your van?”
“We didn’t want it no more. There was always somethin’ to do and worry about and we kept ‘avein to worry about where to put it and stuff. Anyhow we likes it better with just the two of us.”
“So how did you get here?”
“We ‘itched a ride with a truckie who was ‘aulin’ sheep so ‘e dropped us here “cause ‘e ‘ad to turn off to a property a bit further up to get another load.”
Sorrell insisted that I shared their evening meal with them and as per the previous occasion I offered to bring along a bottle of red wine.
I found a good spot to park my van and it took me no time at all to get myself organised and set up for the evening. It was late afternoon on a day that had been warm and sunny and now that the sting had gone from the sun I was able to stand by my campsite and appreciate my surroundings. I felt like I was in the midst of a great artist’s landscape. There were so many wonderful aspects of detail that it was very easy to be caught up in the minuteness of beauty and completely forget the glory of this whole picture and my part in it. The hills were brown and dry but looked blue in the distance whilst on the flat land the salt bed of the inland sea stretched far beyond and the further the distance the more it recalled the silver blue for the alchemy of imagery as it became the sky and beyond.
Later that evening, during the course of a more than delicious stew, Sorrell told me how after Bill’s job cutting bananas ended and they had some extra money. They gave the van to some backpackers from France who couldn’t speak much Australian and didn’t seem to have much of an idea of what they were doing or much cash to do it with. Flush with money from Bill’s picking job they treated themselves to two nights at the Imperial Hotel which is one of those country hotels, about a hundred years old, that has had bits and pieces of improvements added on or taken away with no overall plan and has become a hotch potch of the styles of every ten years or so for the last one hundred. They could have as many hot showers as they liked and the flushing toilet was just down the hall. They didn’t have to go outside at all, but it was a bit expensive, $25.00 a night for the two of them. They hadn’t thought they needed to replace their patched-up tarp because it was still doing the job of keeping most of the rain out and offered all the shade that they needed. The conversation eventually drifted around as to how Bill and Sorrell had met. This giant of a man of less than a few words and this almost petite, chatty, dark haired beauty.
“Well see I ‘ads this job at the Caltex road’ouse just out of Caboolture serving in the take-away section when one morning in walks Bill to get some coffee and I serve ‘im. ‘e was such a big, strong, ‘andsome man and I tingled all over when me fingers touched ‘is to give ‘im ‘is change.”
Later that day some flowers arrived not the fancy florists types all wrapped up in ribbon. No these were wildflowers. Then every day after and sometimes as many as two bunches a day but there was never any note on them like I wasn’t supposed to know where they come from. It was pretty obvious they was picked by ‘and and one time several of the flowers still ‘ad their roots attached. Bill was camped nearby so now ‘e started comin’ in two times every day and buying coffee. None of the other girls would tell me who was leaving the flowers they just giggled and said I’d be surprised. So I decides to wait back after me eight o’clock shift on Thursde night. And in comes Bill with a bunch of flowers and there I is pretty ‘appy to see it was Bill. So I asks ‘im “I suppose you want to get together” Bill nodded his head O.K. “Then if your goin’ to court me you’d better take me on a date so I takes off me apron and folds it neatly and puts it under the counter.”
“Where did you go?”
“Bill was so romantic. ‘e bought me an ice cream, one of those expensive chocolate Drumsticks, and took me for a walk down alongside the river. That’s when I knew for sure that Bill was for me. I collected the money that was owed for me wages the next mornin’ and me and Bill got a lift with a truckie into Maryborough where we bought me a swag so that we could zip up two together. That was 11 year ago and Bill still collects wild flowers…” For the first time Bill joined the conversation and with a big grin that went from ear to ear
“For the prettiest girl in the whole world.”
It is evident that the affinity which has drawn this rustic, simple desired and quiet man to this chatty and absolutely charming girl and to their home on the roads is according to the law of natural selection for they are wonderfully well matched. They take nothing that they do not need and just melt into the landscape that would be so much poorer without them. By lessoning their desires for possessions rather than accumulating more they are able to appreciate what they have and find happiness in each other. Thus they are able to offer genuine friendship and affection to others with no expectations or the clinging of ownership.