“The Present” – A True Tale from tonight by Justin Sheedy
It’s pissing with rain up here on the NSW Far North Coast. Me, I love it: Mists and clouds moving all round the valley atop which my folks have settled and I’m lucky to be here. Anyway, today it’s unseasonably cool for the latitude. Having arrived with only hot-weather clothes, I commented re this to my mum a short time ago. Kind soul that she is, she gets me an old pair of warmer “trackie dacks” of my father’s. And all is well, me, as grateful as ever.
A short time later, my old Mum comments (having been reminded of Trackies Through the Ages just now) that she remembered a birthday present of her and Dad to an old friend: 13 years ago, it was a track-suit – affectionately known in Australia as a “trackie”. It was a nice pair though, she assured, given they’d been friends with this man since the 1950s.
In my own experience since a child, this old friend of theirs happened to be one of the kindest, most quietly soulful men you’d ever meet – particularly when you were small, or even big and still low and needed his patient advice.
“Yes, they were a good quality pair,” Mum added, “sort of beige in colour. …Used to wear them a lot on cold nights on his farm…”
Their old friend passed away after a long illness just last Christmas. Dr David Southan was one of the most highly educated, successful and influential medical professionals of his type on this Planet. The funeral was huge – even in Country NSW.
“Anyway,” Mum piped up softly, “they buried him in them.” She paused for a few moments. “…Sad really.”
“No, Mah,” I found myself smiling.
“…He felt at home in them.”
* * *