The Day of the Jackhole

The Day of the Jackhole

Celebrating 40 years on this earth

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1981. Little boy lost.

October 25, 2011

We are in the back paddock. Mustering sheep. The back paddock is thick with trees and shiny bush and rocks and sticks and steepness. There are four of us. Dad drops us each at a strategic location along the fenceline in the dense bush. I cannot see anyone else at their posts, but have been given instructions to walk ‘that way’ *two-handed arm gesture* and gather any sheep as I go with a shoo and a holler. Essentially, we are fanned out and beating the sheep out of the bushes toward the other side of the paddock, where the gate is.

This is Frederick McCubbin country. This is Dot and the Kangaroo scrub.

I wander along sheep trails and scamper over rocks and fallen branches. I shoo, I sing to myself. We all pop out the other side.

We have lost Michael.

There is a period of looking at each other and ‘where can he be?’ time. He was second man in from the corner. Dad. Michael. Me. Mum. That was the order. Now just Dad. Me. Mum. FINALLY! I HAVE WON!

A kind of madness sets in. We backtrack in the Land Rover. We drive around looking. We stop. COOEE! COOOOOOOOOEEEEE!

We find him. Eventually. Dad is amazed that this boy somehow managed to cross right across his path. Michael, the farm boy with no sense of direction. How embarrassment!

That Christmas, he gets a single deck tape player. Panasonic. Two cassettes. KISS Dynasty and 1981 Over the Top, which features Devo and Juice Newton. Quality. So wait, he gets lost and gets a tape player? I know these two events are unrelated, but I can’t help but notice I don’t get a top loading single deck panasonic cassette player.

My jealousy is out of control.


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