Wednesday, 20 April 2022

pretty good

Sometimes, when I am asked how my week's been, I reply pretty good and then rack my brain to remember what I have done—not always with success.

There is less definition in my days now that I am retired ... and it is generally small pleasures that make life pretty good. It may be solving the world's problems with a friend over coffee or a neighbour's cheery greeting; or it could be walking along the beach at day's end and being uplifted by the soft pink-lavender or orange splendour that greets me; or watching the birds splashing in the birdbath, working out Wordle in less than 4 words, feeling stretched and relaxed after yoga and Zumba, cracking up over something my daughter has said; or helping G... from China with her English.

Even ticking off household tasks can be added to my pleasures list. (By the way, I'm doing well with my gardening now that I have made it a 30 min task. It's become a task that I enjoy, and I sometimes even go over time!)

But one thing that is giving me an immense amount of pleasure is answering my question for the week—the question from Storyworth. My son and his wife signed me up to Storyworth as a Christmas present. It works like this: JP&J choose the questions they want me to answer from a list provided by Storyworth, and Storyworth emails me one of these questions each week. I email them back my answer (with photos if I can find them!), which they forward to JP&L, and at the end of the year the weekly stories will be compiled into a book.

So far the questions have mainly been about my early years. But what pleasure it has given me—remembering. The question arrives in my inbox each Monday morning and the remembering process begins. At first, only a couple of key memories come to mind but once I start writing and thinking back to that time in my life, others rise to the surface.

There have been questions about grandparents, getting into trouble at school, favourite childhood books, etc. And last week's was about what I wore in the 60s and 70s (Those were the days my friend). This week's question is What were your cousins like? and the first word that pops into my head is FUN! I'm immediately transported to Redland Bay, and I can smell the red soil and I begin to remember all the fun times with my cousins: sliding down the rather steep bank to the bay on pieces of cardboard, mud walks through the mangroves, jumping on our grandparents' prized honeysuckle hedge, and just delighting in each other's company. Later, when two families moved on from farming to cattle production in central Queensland, another world opened to me and the cousin bonding continued during school holidays. I have a flashback to the first time the horse I was riding broke into a gallop. I would have been about 10. The cousin I was riding with didn't comprehend that my riding skills were zilch.

Cousin bonding also happened when they came to visit us townies in Brisbane. Baths were filled to the brim and the female cousin closest to my age would share my bed (fortunately, a large single). And, of course, there were secret midnight feasts and other goings-on.

And the nice thing is that when us girl cousins were in our 40s we started having a weekend away together each year. After about 20 years it petered out, but it is still a delight to catch up with a cousin. Mmmmmm I had better start writing my Storyworth answer and putting some of this info into my story.

And so you see, even though I mightn't remember exactly what I did during the past week, I am digging up memories of my early years and sharing them with my kids—which is pretty good.


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