Week 1 12/10/2020

How was your holiday break? Well, that’s enough about you! Ask me how mine was. Thanks for asking, let me tell you all about it…

The first week we won’t talk about. It was mostly working around the farm getting things sorted. All a bit boring.

The second week. Well, let’s just say it had far more interesting stuff happening. Mainly because, for the first time in 2020, we actually got to chuck the caravan on the back of the Landcruiser and head off for more than a weekend break. It was entertainment plus for the entire time we were away.

We phoned up friends of ours that we had arranged to go and stay with out at Orange. They own a lovely property about fifteen minutes out of town. No house built yet, but it is a really nice two hundred acre block with a creek and beautiful views. We’d planned to camp out there for several days. The problem arose when we phoned them to make the final arrangements, and they said, “Oh, we’d sort of forgotten about you coming. We’re off to Wyangala Dam for several days”. “No worries”, we said. “We’ll come too”.

Our first question was, ‘Where the heck is Wyangala Dam’?

Once located on the map, it was plugged in to the GPS and we were off. Now it’s a fair sort of a trip, and we are getting old. So, we decided to stay at Bylong in the camp ground opposite the General Store. Great pies, and it splits the trip up a bit. We had a good night’s sleep, along with a bunch of other travellers who had just pulled up for the night as well. The next day, Wyangala Dam.

Now the ‘Cruiser and caravan weigh in at around six tonne, so when you come across the crest of a hill at 100Kph to be greeted by thirty tourists parked half on the road taking selfies with the Canola fields it gets your heart going a bit faster. The fact they are completely oblivious to the holiday road train about to park itself on top of their rented Toyota Camry was a little unnerving. Especially the guy who was stepping backwards out onto the road so as to get the best possible angle of himself with the bright yellow Canola fields as a background. This is why we fitted a steel bullbar, not an aluminium one!

So we arrived at Wyangala. In case you are wondering, it is in the middle of nowhere about an hour south of Bathurst. After sorting out access codes and whatever else, we are told “Just pull up wherever you like. Everyone else does”! As we crested the rise, through the trees we were greeted by every version of caravan, swag and camper man has invented. In the middle of nowhere some drongo had replicated Pitt Street. There were people everywhere. There were ski boats criss-crossing the Lake, kids hanging out of trees, fires roaring away, and utes with dog cages parked all over the place. I’m sure we could have packed a few more swags in, but not sure exactly where.

Into the middle of all of this activity we drive. Pick out a spot for the caravan, and set up. Compared to most of the set-ups around us, our caravan looked like a Gold Coast Resort had arrived in town. It was probably why every person; man, woman and child that walked, drove or crawled past stared at us with necks twisting ever further around as they passed. It was almost like we represented the only remnant of civilisation left in a world of beer, guns and pigdog utes……!

It was two o’clock in the morning on that first night before the final cries of, “Skull, skull, skull” abated, and the last twelve gauge crack rang out across the lake. I’m not sure what they were hunting, but whatever it was has probably now been prescribed Valium and a weeks rest after all of the chaos of a long weekend at Wyangala.

Monday afternoon, they all left. It was like someone yelled, “Party at Macca’s place”, and they bolted. Swags were scooped up, and fold-out campers were shoved back into the box trailers they were mounted on. Kids were hoyk’d in the back of the utes, and all of the Bazza’s and Kev’s charged out of the place in a blaze of dust and empty beer bottles. To be fair, they cleaned up basically every ounce of rubbish they had generated over the three days before they headed back to town. The silence was shocking! We almost missed the out-of-control kids throwing rocks and sticks at each other, and the potty-mouthed wives launching their husbands for leaving the esky full of food at home in the driveway but somehow remembering to bring the beer. Mullet season was over, and I am not talking fishing!

And then, right in front of us, was the most beautiful lake surrounded by hills and forests. Roos suddenly appeared, along with the fire brigade who went around to every one of the fire pits and extinguished the embers from the three days of good times. To be honest, it was kind of funny watching a fireman pull out of a fire pit a sign saying, ‘Fires Prohibited’. The irony not lost, he promptly put the charred remains of the sign back up as if it may make some kind of difference the next time the boys turned up for a weekend. I think he was being very optimistic………
It was then that we got to spend some time with our friends. We camped out at the lake together for the next few days. Peaceful and relaxed, we talked and laughed and ate, in between sleeping and reading.

It amazed me how easily we accommodated both situations in the space of just a few days. The noise and chaos and dust when all of the people were there, and the peace and quiet when it was just us. Whilst the language and drinking were things that we obviously don’t get involved in, we saw the time those dads spent with their kids. Whether it was running them around in the boats, fishing, or chasing them around in the dust with a football, they loved the whole thing. And just as quickly we slipped in to being on our own, just us and the traumatised wildlife enjoying the view.

It made me think of how easily as Christians we can live two lives. One that is all ‘spiritual’ and churchy, the other more ‘worldly’ and accommodating of things we normally wouldn’t condone. It’s almost like we have been desensitised to the point where things don’t even register on our radar any more. When Mrs Potty Mouth went off like a sailor over the esky it wasn’t just the fear of being shot by her husband that kept us quiet, it was also the fact that we are so ‘used’ to hearing that sort of language these days it just kind of didn’t worry us. And it should. If I spoke like that when I was a kid my dad would have sorted me right out. The fact it was a woman using that language barely raised a ripple! Is it any wonder our kids just see it as ‘normal’! They shouldn’t.

So here is my New Term resolution. I want to be less tolerant of things that offend God. I know that sounds simple, but trust me it will be a challenge. But if I can be more consistent in what I accept, I’ll be more consistent in the witness I have before our kids here at school. I’m hoping we might get together on this. That all of the adults in our kids’ world will stand up a little more firmly for what we know is right in God’s eyes, and that in turn our kids may come with us. ‘Iron sharpens iron’, says the Scripture. We are the iron our kids are rubbing up against. So here is my question: ‘If our kids turn out to be like us, will God be happy’?

Geoff Brisby