On Wednesdays, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a word challenge meme which she calls “Words for Wednesday”.
She puts up a selection of six words which we then use in a short story, or a poem.
I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.
It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?
This week's words are:
I spent most of yesterday wondering what on earth I was going to write, nothing at all was happening in my mind. After dinner I used an old trick our English teacher gave us in Grade five. "Use this word in a sentence, then build a paragraph around that."
That worked and once I got started I couldn't stop, so here you have an extra long post featuring chapters seven and eight and half of chapter nine in the Jimmy/Rosa story.
While Eileen cleared away the breakfast dishes, Robbie checked the jeep and hooked up the trailer. Travis and the other boys could ride back in that while Trevor rode in the jeep with Robbie. Rosa put on her windbreaker, as Robbie had asked if she would like to visit the camp; of course she had said yes.
On the way, Robbie told her a little about old Trevor, seventy-six years old and known far and wide as Boomerang Trev. No matter where he went for work, he always boomeranged back to Perth. He'd been called Boomerang since he was seventeen.
"I've heard about those boomerangs," said Rosa, "but I've never seen one in action, do you suppose Trevor could show me?"
"Sure," said Robbie.
"He loves all that old stuff," said Travis. "Nanna thought it would be good for me to come on this camp and learn a bit about the old times myself. I didn't really want to come."
'Why not?" asked Rosa.
"It's all about dead stuff, dead people, dead times," said Travis. "Trevor was telling us yesterday about Ned Kelly, who lived with the blacks for a while when he was hiding from the coppers. Said how he was caught and hanged on the gallows. See? Dead people."
"Have you never thought about the past then?" said Rosa. "About how your people came to live where they are? How they lived? Sometimes the past can be fascinating."
"I want to live in the future," said Travis. "I want to learn about computers and how they can help predict things like weather. Like that freak storm that washed away Nanna's chook house. I want to be a meteorologist and find out about storms."
"Really? That's quite an ambition. How old are you now Trav?"
"I'm twelve and a half, I was seven when we had to save Nanna's chooks, then we had to build a new chook house, so we made sure to put it higher than where the creek flooded up to. I want to find out how storms like that can come out of nowhere. The past can't help me with that."
"Maybe it can, if you learn the right things," said Rosa. "If you study other freak storms from years back, you might start to see a pattern, it's said history often repeats itself."
They reached the camp and Robbie introduced Rosa to Trevor, who promised to show her how to throw a boomerang, and the other boys, Johnno, Smutty, (real name Colin, but always with smudges on his hands and face) Waldo and Tim. All were aged between eleven and thirteen, Smutty being the eldest, having turned thirteen last week.
The boys gathered up their sleeping bags and other things and piled into the trailer with everything around their feet. Trevor climbed into the jeep next to Robbie and they were off.
Back at the bed and breakfast, Eileen had a batch of scones in the oven, another batch sat cooling on the table, she knew what boys liked. Scones with plenty of jam and cream.
The boys and Trevor got themselves settled in the big shed, then came to the kitchen for scones and cups of tea. "Ta very much for this missus," said Trevor. "It's good of you to put us up. The storm might not happen, but the boys will be happier here for a day or two. This lot aren't as keen on going bush as the last lot were."
While they ate and drank, Rosa told them about her flight from Darwin to Perth, how the desolate beauty of the arid interior had sparked a flicker of interest in another series of photographs. After photographing the Southern coastline, perhaps she would return to Australia before seeking out other countries. Maybe she would bring her boyfriend along.
"That young Jimmy you were telling us about?" asked Eileen.
"Yes," said Rosa, pulling out the snapshot Jimmy had sent her a few months ago. She looked at it, noticing the silver creeping through the glossy black hair, invisible strings tugging at her heart. "This is him." Wiping away a couple of tears she went on. " I miss him more than I thought I would, his name is Jimmy Raven, he's from Alaska and he's an archaeologist"
"So he digs up old dead stuff?" said Travis.
"So he digs up old dead stuff?" said Travis.
"Yes," said Rosa. "Very old stuff, really ancient stuff, like the pyramids in Egypt and the bodies of the Pharaohs, and the villages and tombs of the Aztecs and Incas in South America. A bit like your ancient culture Trevor wants you to know about."
"I'm only half aboriginal," said Travis, "my dad was a white man, a businessman on holiday from Sydney, Mum said. He was already married and ran back to Sydney as soon as he found out I was on the way. Mum was only sixteen, swept off her feet she said. I live with her in Perth and come to Nanna's for school holidays."
Rosa was a bit surprised that he should speak so openly about such things, with such a lack of bitterness.
As the day wore on, it was clear the impending storm wasn't going to happen. Although the wind remained strong, the clouds cleared away and the boys had great fun teasing Rosa over her attempts to throw a boomerang with enough force and spin to have it return to her. Trevor tried to shush them, but he was enjoying the lessons too and finally told Rosa that such a windy day wasn't ideal for a beginner.
A sausage and onion barbecue was decided on for dinner and several cheers went up from boys who were glad of a change from snake and witchetty grubs. Robbie drove to the local butcher shop for more sausages while Eileen set about preparing huge bowls of salads. Rosa and the boys offered to help, but were shooed away and settled down with Trevor for a lesson on boomerangs. There were many different sizes and styles with different uses for each one. The paintings and carvings on them all meant something and were different for each tribe.
'Smutty' spoke up, "My dad's been telling me about them carvings, they used to be made by rubbing burning sticks along the wood until a groove was made, then again for another groove, it used to take a really long time to make even one boomerang. Then later they used a chisel when the white man came with metal tools and things. Now the ones you get in souvenir shops are all done by machine, dad says they're not real boomerangs at all because they've got no spirit sung into them. They're all exactly the same too, nothing irregular about them like there would be if they were made the old way."