We all have them.
They are the ‘Lighthouse’ moments of our life. If you draw to close to the light, you know you are going to run onto the rocky shores of reminiscence. They are those moments of your life that typify what it was to ‘be’ when you were young. It’s the Toyota Tarago that deposited you at a thousand rugby games. It’s Chinese food on Sunday night as the whole family sits together watching “60 Minutes”, or the later years where you and your brother sneak out back to catch the new hit series “Alf”.
What makes it such a seminal moment in time is that it isn’t just one moment, but an amalgam of a thousand moments, each slightly different, each almost the same.
For me, the biggest of all is Friday afternoons/nights. I’d get home at 3:40 & by 4:10 they’d arrive. Nell & Mum have been friends since forever. Nell had two kids. Lucy was about a year older than me, which in youthful boy-girl terms was closer to a millennia than it was to being the same age. Chris, however was 9 months younger than me. Old enough for him to still be ‘cool’, young enough to be able to connect with my little bro Phil, who was 3 1/2 years younger than me.
Like a bottle on the bow, the popping of the first bottle of ‘Seaview sparkling white’ signified the beginning of another Friday voyage. For the kids it signified that we only had to wait till that first bottle was consumed before we could hit up the parents for hot chips, or a 20c mixture (a combination of inflation and greed saw the 20c of lollies sneak up to a dollar by the age of 12).
Our mums would drink & chat. If we were lucky the Pannell’s would arrive. Another two kids, again, about the same age. If the fathers made it to the party after work then it would turn into an all nighter. That meant two things. Our dinner got ‘upgraded’ (as we saw it) to McDonalds & the importance of kids getting sleep got downgraded as our parents, having imbibed a little too much ‘social lubricant’ would invariably end up listening to Leonard Cohen albums at 1am.
It was a thousand Fridays. In summer it lasted for two weeks as the families would head up to Pearl Beach for a holiday. Before fireworks got banned, we also had the Guy Fawkes long weekend & about 5 more families.
It would be something like 10 years since the last big gathering. It would have been 6 or more years since I saw Chris, but here is where we doff our hats to the internet! Blogs appear, google searches discover long-lost friends & before you know it, your childhood friend becomes the administrator (and designer) of your website. 6 months later there is a little community again.
Last night Chris & I went to a pub for a brewski or twoski. Good chats, good times and, thankfully, not a Leonard Cohen album in sight! Maybe this is the 2005 version of how it started for the parents. It has started. Phil we have you in our sites! Lucy and Anthony, you too stand warned. Heed the light. It’s time to beach the craft & come ashore!