Raise your glasses
Today I posted off to the printer the very final draft of my manuscript along with photos etc. I aim for the book launch in late September this year. I could do this earlier but I have chosen this time for a personal reason.
Now I am going to do what I should have done when my husband was alive, (he is in the green T shirt, second from the right)I am going to raise my glass, and hope some of you will as well, to men (and women) like the above group, gathered for an after work drink - covered in the dirt of their days work. To those who do heavy dangerous work and take the risk of injury and death, to support themselves and their family. To those who go out in the boiling sun and the freezing wind and rain to farm, fish, build, dig, mine, protect and create and who allow the world we are lucky to live in. To those whom the chattering classes call rednecks and uneducated who take the risk almost every day they go to work for generally modest wages.
By now you might be a bit drunk if you toasted with an alcoholic beverage. Too early in the day for that for me - its just tank water people.
For amongst these people there is a relatively high level of injury and death, such as the injury that occurred to Don which left him wheelchair bound from a young age. And although he knew I loved him, I can not recall actually saying a thank you to him on those days when he came home from work shivering and wet, from working in the canals. I did not say thank you to him when he came home from work sunblasted, and dehydrated and suffered cramps from lack of salt.
Although we had little we never felt poor - and he never begrudged one cent that went towards the family's upkeep as toowho have much more, many do.
To this group of "Old Bastards" which was the group they were in which raised money for local charity, quietly and without fuss, I raise my glass. At times I would have liked to have burnt the old Royal hotel down, because sometimes they stayed a bit too long...but in hindsight I am grateful for whatever fun and mischief went on, considering the later events. And now when I go to where that place used to be and see it replaced by a touristy eatery, I feel sad that there are so few places for workers like this to go and have a beer in, still covered in the dirt from work. Nowadays to see this people would look down on a group of them sitting in the place that was once theirs. So much has changed and not always for the best. (Australasian Order of the Old bastards http://www.aoob.com.au )
So now I raise my glass again. My thank you is no doubt being heard.
But my real thank you will be the publication of my manuscript which may even change things for other people severely disabled or killed because they took the risks which make all our lives possible, such as building the roads and dams, providing food and raw materials for clothing, mining the minerals which go into the goods with which the modern world would not be able to survive without.