One lonely dirt path leads to Waterfront Road,
childhood summers spent in Swan Bay
staying at Nan and Pop’s house.
Mum all season painting the outside walls
sometimes pale green, sometimes white
My little brother and I would spend our days fishing
or playing in the creek that connected to our great grandma’s house.
Now and again a red belly blacksnake would swim towards us
Pop’s dog Buddy yelping, warning us to jump out quick.
If we were allowed, we while away hours in Pop’s shed, seeking out treasures
from adventures across the seas.
Taking a hand full of ten cent pieces from the jar in the sun room,
we’d play the ancient poker machine that stood in the garage corner,
pulling the lever and yelling `Jackpot’ when the four cherries would align.
Pop frequently found in his vegetable garden,
occasionally pointing out the patches of wall that Mum had missed.
Nan, in the kitchen continuously cooking cakes and cookies.
On Saturdays we’d all buddle up in the ute
for the long trip to the market.
My brother, Mum and me in the back, dust in our eyes
sitting amongst the prized carrots, cucumbers and cakes, ready to be sold.
But my favourite part of those summers spent
was when Billy came to call.
He’d come through the back gate, calling `G’day’,
in his hand a basket of fish caught early that morning
for my Pop to clean and cook.
Pop called Billy `the Landlord’;’ This is his land’ he would say.
My little brother would ask `Why doesn’t he live here then?’
`They took it away from him a long time ago’.
Billy lived alone in a shack somewhere in the bush
at the end of Waterfront.
‘Come on little fellas’ he would say.
`We gonna find that giant dingo today’.
My brother and I were scared of the giant dingo.
Billy would tell tales of the fights he had over the years
with the beast with the red eyes,
scars on his arms and face were the outcome of the tumbles.
My little brother would sometimes wake at night from bad dreams
being chased through the bush by a creature we had never seen.
Navigating through the trees with Billy leading the way,
always knowing where he was going.
Telling stories of his childhood, the games he played with his cousins,
long time gone, now somewhere in the city.
We would stop and listen to the sound of the bush, the kookaburra’s laugh
hiding somewhere in the trees.
We’d spend hours out there in the bush
only going home when the crickets start their evening song.
Nan would invite Billy to stay for tea
always knowing he would say `no’.
He’d leave the way he came, through the back,
collecting the clean fish before heading home.
`See ya tomorra, little fellas’ he would call.
We never did see that giant dingo.
(View of Swan Bay- just outside my grandparents house)