Yarn Dec 2019 – Jan 2020

The December-January edition of The Southern Yarn bridges the start of a new decade as we enter 2020. We’ve got reports on the not-so-formal dinner, the AGM, the Christmas party, and other club events, Give it a read, and we look forward to seeing you all next year. 

And here are some photos from the Christmas party that we could not fit into the Yarn.

Enjoy the photos.

And Charlie’s editorial takes the form of a good old Aussie Christmas Bush Yarn this time, so here it is:

A Bush Christmas

“C.J. Dennis”
Herald, 24 December 1931, p4
This poem was also published in the collection:
More than a Sentimental Bloke.

The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums
As down the road old Rogan comes —
  The hatter from the lonely hut
  Beside the track to Woollybutt.
He likes to spend his Christmas with us here.
He says a man gets sort of strange
Living alone without a change,
  Gets sort of settled in his way;
  And so he comes each Christmas day
To share a bite of tucker and a beer.

Dad and the boys have nought to do,
Except a stray odd job or two.
  Along the fence or in the yard,
  “It ain’t a day for workin’ hard.”
Says Dad. “One day a year don’t matter much.”
And then dishevelled, hot and red,
Mum, thro’ the doorway puts her head
  And says, “This Christmas cooking, My!
  The sun’s near fit for cooking by.”
Upon her word she never did see such.

“Your fault,” says Dad, “you know it is.
Plum puddin’! on a day like this,
  And roasted turkeys! Spare me days,
  I can’t get over women’s ways.
In climates such as this the thing’s all wrong.
A bit of cold corned beef an’ bread
Would do us very well instead.”
  Then Rogan said, “You’re right; it’s hot.
  It makes a feller drink a lot.”
And Dad gets up and says, “Well, come along.”

The dinner’s served — full bite and sup.
“Come on,” says Mum, “Now all sit up.”
  The meal takes on a festive air;
  And even father eats his share
And passes up his plate to have some more.
He laughs and says it’s Christmas time,
“That’s cookin’, Mum. The stuffin’s prime.”
  But Rogan pauses once to praise,
  Then eats as tho’ he’d starved for days.
And pitches turkey bones outside the door.

The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums,
The chirping of the locusts comes
  Across the paddocks, parched and grey.
  “Whew!” wheezes Father. “What a day!”
And sheds his vest. For coats no man had need.
Then Rogan shoves his plate aside
And sighs, as sated men have sighed,
  At many boards in many climes
  On many other Christmas times.
“By gum!” he says, “That was a slap-up feed!”

Then, with his black pipe well alight,
Old Rogan brings the kids delight
  By telling o’er again his yarns
  Of Christmas tide ‘mid English barns
When he was, long ago, a farmer’s boy.
His old eyes glisten as he sees
Half glimpses of old memories,
  Of whitened fields and winter snows,
  And yuletide logs and mistletoes,
And all that half-forgotten, hallowed joy.

The children listen, mouths agape,
And see a land with no escape
  For biting cold and snow and frost —
  A land to all earth’s brightness lost,
A strange and freakish Christmas land to them.
But Rogan, with his dim old eyes
Grown far away and strangely wise
  Talks on; and pauses but to ask
  “Ain’t there a drop more in that cask?”
And father nods; but Mother says “Ahem!”

The sun slants redly thro’ the gums
As quietly the evening comes,
  And Rogan gets his old grey mare,
  That matches well his own grey hair,
And rides away into the setting sun.
“Ah, well,” says Dad. “I got to say
I never spent a lazier day.
  We ought to get that top fence wired.”
  “My!” sighs poor Mum. “But I am tired!
An’ all that washing up still to be done.”


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