A Hundred Gourds 2:3 June 2013
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Barbara A. Taylor - Australia

A Maiden Great Aunt Speaks Out

wanderlust unfolds
bending the rules
of the game

Rachel nursed him on her knee: her precious blue-eyed-one-toothed miracle, his tiny hands reaching out to grab, suck, chew on everything in sight. Several times, she needed to reposition our wine glasses. I was thankful I’d not used her great grandma’s sparkling Waterford. At first, I hesitated to say anything, trying not to be flustered, but when their nine-month bonnie bairn aimed a replica pistol at me, I frowned. “Please, I won’t have weapons at my dinner table,” I said in a soft but deliberate tone. He picked up fast on my disapproving voice. As expected, tears and tantrums followed. My niece recoiled. “Sure he’s doing no harm, it’s what you’d expect from a military home.”

There was a lull in our conversation; the silence seemed for ages, until at last, my tasty dolmades and taramasalata were served. Through the dining-room window we watched last sunrays splash against ghost gum trees* in the freshly mown paddocks.

between IEDs
numbered heroes
bite the dust

Note: A gum tree is Australian for a Eucalyptus tree


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