Hooroo Love - A 2019 Aussie Poem
Goodbye, farewell, see ya later.
Makes the world go around.
(c) Liam Carroll
“G’day Berty” Jack called out as he and Alvin
Arrived at the Boodji welcome sign.
“Today ya brekky’s extra juicy mate.
I might not be seein’ ya again for quite a while.”
Jack reached in his flanny pocket, pulled out
A monster ham slice of honey leg.
Berty scooped it outta Jack’s palm.
One lucky kookaburra indeed,
Always so incredibly well fed.
Old Jacky Boy and Alvin continued on,
Away from their home of Boodji town.
They were on a special mission you see,
And there would be no turning round.
There was treasure in Jack’s scooter basket,
Precious beyond all belief;
The ashes of his late wife Carol.
The sight of his soul mate in that ceramic box
Sure filled him up with grief.
Jack was a man of purpose
Thanks to dear Carol’s dying plea.
With her final breaths she’d told him, “Jack, my love,
Please take me back to our special place by the sea.”
That’s where Jack and Alvin were headed now,
The distant coast where dreams come true.
He’d rigged his scooter up with their house roof’s solar panels,
Its little wheels could keep right on rolling
All the way to Timbuktu.
Yabbara Beach was the name of the destination,
Jack and Carol’s special place by the sea,
Where they’d first met on summer holiday way back when,
Where a nervous young Jack had later dropped a knee.
“Will you accept this ring Carol, make me the happiest lad
On the planet true blue?”
She didn’t have to think about it even one second,
“Of course I will, ya silly sausage.
I want to be with you forever, I do.”
Nicola came roaring down the highway
And pulled over in her beaten up mustard Cortina.
She looked absolutely furious, so Jack whispered in Alvin’s ear,
“She looks it boy, but I swear, she’s not actually a hyena.”
Jack felt awful all of a sudden. As she got closer,
He saw tears welling up in her eyes.
“Nicola I’m sorry. I stuffed up.
I know I should’ve said goodbye.”
She stood still and sad, “Come now dear,
Alvin and I’ll be back soon. Everything’ll be alright.”
Nicola wasn’t buying that line, no,
She knew the old man had somethin’ grim to hide.
“I know the chemo didn’t fix your cancer Jack.
You told me it did, but you lied.”
Jack slumped, his turn now to cry.
Nicola spoke the truth. The old boy was soon to die.
“No one can live forever. One day soon enough
Everyone has their time.”
He pulled off his Akubra then his wig, and in the baking sun
His chemo chrome dome sure did shine.
He threw the silly wig away in the scrub,
Wiped away his tears, looked Nicola in the eye.
“Please don’t tell Jules in the big smoke though, ya promise?
Last thing I want is my daughter worried sick
About my inescapable demise.”
“Jack, I don’t understand, you’re so ill, you’re dying,
This is no time to gallivant the countryside.”
And with that Jack recaptured his spark of wonder,
That unique twinkle in his eye.
“That’s where you’re mistaken Nicola, my dear.
There is no better time.
I’ve got a date with destiny. Into the sunset I must ride.”
He and Alvin resumed their mission, waved Nicola goodbye.
She watched them go and pulled out her phone, left a voicemail;
“Hi Jules, it’s Nic. Listen, there’s something you sure need to know.
Yeah, your lovely Dad…He’s gone and lost his mind.”
Jules and William sat in the school principal’s office.
Little Willy filled with fear.
He’d always been such a good, devoted student,
But so far this really hadn’t been his year.
He’d discovered something wonderful, something powerful,
Something that made him smile ear to ear.
“We’re worried William’s a pyromaniac, Ms Gallagher.
In his schoolbag we found enough fireworks
To blast right through the atmosphere.”
Young Willy was now suspended but the lucky bugger
Timed his misdemeanour to a tee.
As soon as they walked out the principal’s office,
Jules checked her phone, grabbed William, raced to the car,
“C’mon, get a wriggle on, we’ve gotta hurry out to Boodji!”.
Jules spent every moment of the journey
Making hasty plans on the blower.
Fair’s fair, she cancelled all her work appointments for the week,
But her stress levels sure weren’t getting any lower.
Driving a million miles an hour,
She was well over the highway speed limit.
And little did she know a few miles up ahead a police car was waiting,
Ready to hand out a hefty speeding ticket.
That didn’t matter now,
Not one tiny, little bit.
She’d received the call from Nicola to say
Her dad had skipped town for some mad scooter ride.
Her old man was officially off his tits.
“Surely both my parents can’t have dementia.
First Mum now Dad, God almighty, you know that means I’m next.”
This frightening thought surged back and forth in her mind.
It would’ve been safer to simply drive and text.
It didn’t bother Willy though,
Cruising way out deep into the country.
With a backpack chockers with fireworks
His life’s purpose was now clear;
Set all those bungers sky high and fancy free.
Shazza’s radar gun went off, “Got him yes!
That’ll teach this lunatic to drive so flamin’ quick.”
Tezza didn’t even notice who she’d pinged,
His attention was on the Boodji newspaper’s hilarious comic strip.
Shazza jumped straight outta the cop car,
Gaggin’ to apprehend the reckless law breaker.
But Tezza looked at the radar gun’s reading, “10 clicks an hour?”
He smelled the pungent waft of a determined
And resolute piss-taker.
Tezza and Shaz weren’t the most impressive cops
You’ll ever find in all Australia,
But they’d sworn an oath to take fine care of Boodji,
And they sure weren’t gonna fail ya.
Now Tezza looked up the highway, horrified to see his partner
About to cuff old Jack sittin’ in peace on his dinky red scooter,
While at that very same instant the lost love of his life,
Jack’s daughter Jules, flew down the highway in a blink,
Before she started blastin’ her car hooter.
“Sir, mind telling me what the speed limit is for this vehicle?”
Jack shrugged his shoulders, shook his noggin, “Sorry Constable, wouldn’t have a clue.”
“It’s 8k an hour, old man, so that means you’ve been caught on radar buddy,
Floutin’ the mobility scooter speeding limit by 2.”
Alvin started barkin’ and Jack told Shaz in no uncertain terms,
“Get out me bloody way!”
Tezza arrived, hopeful to calm the scene. “Hi Alvin. G’day Jack.
And I didn’t know I’d be seeing Jules today too.
Sheesh, she still looks gorgeous, I really have to say.”
Jules had looped her car round, parked and
Now she and William ran up to join the congregation.
“Dad, what the hell are you doing?” Shaz butted in,
“Breakin’ the law, that’s what, and now he’s comin’ to the station.”
William gave grandpa Jack a hug
While Tezza tried desperately to get Jules’ attention.
No one paid Shaz a single thought though
And that simply wouldn’t do.
Her pride and ego needed constant quenchin’.
Shaz piped in yet again, “Listen, ladies and gents,
There’s serious police business to attend to here.”
But she quickly joined Tezza in the knowledge;
The Gallagher family didn’t care for police officers.
That was heartbreakingly clear.
“Dad, I know you’re lonely without Mum.
It must be tough I’m sure.
But you and Alvin can’t be out here scooting all over the countryside,
You’ll soon be knocking on death’s door.”
Jack looked at his daughter and his grandson,
The family he adored,
And he knew he couldn’t keep his Big C secret from them any longer,
Not one nanosecond more.
“Jules and sweet young William,
There’s something you both now need to know;
The doctors tell me I’m cactus,
Terminally ill with cancer, and one day soon I’m sorry,
It’ll be my time to go.”
William started bawling.
Jules stood still in shock.
“Something more urgent now though,
Please can you both join me
For my final race against the clock?”
Jack pointed to Carol’s ashes, up front in the scooter basket,
“Help an old lover boy die with dignity,
Help me do just what Carol asked me.”
Swept up in the emotion,
Won over by Jack’s charm,
The coastal journey looked set to carry on
Until Shaz sounded the cop car alarm.
And this just as Tezza was about to comfort Jules!
His high school sweetheart’s affection walls momentarily disarmed!
Instead he raced back to the blaring vehicle, switched the siren off,
“Shaz, just calm the farm! Pretend for a moment we’re on the set of Blue Heelers,
Love comes first, above the law, it won’t do you any harm.”
The Gallagher Family waved Tezza and Shazza away
As they drove back to Boodji town,
Then turned to face down the back road.
“The special place by the sea’s this way.
Let’s get movin’, no time to muck around.”
Jules looked at poor Willy, then down at her favourite Jimmy Choo’s,
“C’mon Dad, leave the scooter and let me drive.”
“Sorry love, this track gets pretty narrow and dicey.
Ya city slicker, fancy pants car simply won’t survive.”
That was that. Off they set. Jules, William, Alvin, Jack and Carol’s ashes,
What a lovely day to be alive.
The sun shimmered up above. Parched brown grassy hills
Stretched out beneath blissful, crystal clear, blue skies.
“To your beloved Yabbara Beach, how far is it you reckon Pop?”
“Just a hop, skip and a jump mate. 50k or so.
We’ll be there by sunset if we keep chargin’ nonstop.”
“50k? You’re crazy Dad!
There’s no way we’ll ever make it!”
William was worried too.
He’d never walked anywhere really. His mum always had a lift to take him.
“Just plonk one foot after the other, trust me,
We’ll be there before you blink.”
A horn tooted loud behind them.
It was Tezza alone in a Police four wheel drive.
He pulled over, gave Jules a wink.
From the back of the truck he pulled out some monstrosity,
A V-shaped, two-seated contraption.
“I thought you might need this on your way to soothe your tootsies,
Save them from too much tedious compaction.”
The family stepped back to watch Tezza strain and struggle
Before latching the apparatus to the scooter seat’s central base.
And I know miracles are hard to come by,
But Jules had just seen one, let’s be honest,
It was written all over her face.
The scooter now had three seats!
Forget Jesus, Tezza was an instant Lord and Saviour.
“Terry, that’s amazing! I can never thank you enough.
You’re a true gentleman, and an even truer life saver!”
Thanks to Jules’ adoration Tezza’s day couldn’t get any better,
He was tickled pink and blushin’.
The same couldn’t be said for William though,
Straight for him a mighty pissed off snake at breakneck haste,
It was deadset rushin’!
“Don’t move Willy!” In a flash, Tezza pulled the pistol from his holster,
Fired off his loaded gun!
But even faster than Tezza, Berty the Kookaburra had swooped in
To save young William son.
And Berty sure scared off the snake, back to the scrubs ya mongrel,
There could be no surer thing.
But for his heroic troubles Boodji’s best fed birdie,
He’d copped a bullet through the wing!
“Tezza, ya numbskull! That snake was harmless,
But now look what you’ve done!”
Even though old Jack could hardly walk, he hobbled over fast as lightning,
Scooped up Berty boy, “Trust me mate, your time has not yet come.”
Jack bandaged up Berty’s busted wing,
Gently placed him in the basket beside Carol.
“Hop aboard Jules and Willy, let’s go.
And sorry Tezza, you’re not a numbskull,
Just take it easy with ya trigger happy, smokin’ barrels.”
Alvin was the only one left without a seat
But that lasted but a Kodak moment.
He jumped up in Willy’s arms, took a load off. Ah folks,
When it comes to family mobility scooter travelling, I’m the strongest of proponents.
Team Gallagher and wounded Berty set off once more
Down that back road at a pace marginally faster than a snail.
And there wasn’t a man, woman or child on earth
Who could dare argue against the fact,
This here path to Yabbara is one exquisite Aussie trail.
The sun was setting low now,
In the smoky, golden red sky.
And despite what Jack thought earlier,
There was no way they’d be reaching Yabbara anytime tonight.
“Let’s pull up stumps for the day family,
Get some rest, we sure as hell deserve it.”
He pulled the scooter into an open patch of soft green grass,
“You need a place to rest ya tired bones,
Now this is close to perfect.”
Jules and William were starving,
Their tummies grumbling out loud.
“What are we going to eat for dinner Dad?”
Little did they know he’d brought enough to feed a crowd.
In Jack’s backpack slung over the scooter seat
He showed them his endless tins of tasty baked beans.
“You just find some wood for a fire ok?
Then we’ll hunker down and dine out on these.”
With the embers of the flame dying out,
The sky a pure Milky Way,
Our travelling heroes laid down flat beneath the stars,
Resting their bean-filled bellies and reflecting on the day.
“Pop, I know you must miss Nan,
But when you’re gone, I’ll miss you even more.”
Little Willy started sobbing, crushed with the realisation
Life doesn’t last forever. We only get one of these lovely things,
That’s just nature’s law.
“Come now, my dearest grandson, no tears.
It’s not all doom and gloom.”
The Gallagher family cuddled up close, nestled all together,
Basking in the light of the glowing full moon.
“What matters most isn’t dying mate,
Living the best life ya can, that’s where the magic’s at.
Follow your heart, always be brave and know when your time comes,
You’ll leave this world all smiles,
There ain’t no turnin’ back.”
Up bright and bubbly with the dawn sparrows,
It was another belter of a day.
But in the harsh light of morning they could see up ahead,
A whopping big hill they’d have to navigate.
“From up top there we’ll get a 180degree view of Yabbara.
Come on, it’s bloody beaut.”
They each took their seat on the scooter and set off
On what seemed now the most commonplace of all commutes.
As the path got steeper and bumpier,
Tezza’s contraption moaned and groaned.
Soon enough little Willy’s seat broke right off. He fell straight down to the gravel,
Smashing hard on his coccyx bone.
Jules nursed her darling boy, “Come now sweety pie, you take my seat,
I’ll walk up this steep incline.”
But Jack was havin’ none of that,
“William, be a big boy and walk tall son,
Let your mother rest and recline.”
They reached the mountain top, William covered in sweat,
But desperate for his first ocean view.
And boy was it worth it, down there not so far away was aquatic paradise.
They were gonna make it! It was true.
The special place by the sea was within reach,
Provided they didn’t die going down the mountain side.
“Umm, Dad, you sure the scooter will make it to the bottom?”
“Yeah, yeah, stop ya worrying. I’m sure she’ll be alright.”
Jules decided she’d walk down with William,
And Alvin, the clever pooch, he did too.
They all had great respect for Jack’s mission, courage and driving ability,
But it was Jack’s belief in the scooter’s brakes they did refute.
“See you at the bottom family, and remember,
Clock’s tickin’, don’t bloody dilly dally!”
He then focused on the steep decline ahead,
A path destined to one day be the centrepiece
Of the global mobility scooter championship rally.
You guessed it, within a matter of metres,
The scooter’s brakes they sure did fail.
And now a stubborn, terminally ill man, a wing-clipped kookaburra and a dear old lady’s ashes
Were flying Mach 10 down a precarious mountain trail.
“William, hurry, run, run, run! We have to catch up! This is a disaster!”
But they had Buckley’s really. When it comes to movin’ quick sticks,
Jack’s scooter that day is second on the rung,
Only light will ever travel faster.
We’ll never know if it was the hand of God himself
Or blind luck plucked straight outta the depths of Jack’s well-worn clacker,
But he manoeuvred those four raging scooter wheels like a man possessed.
The ride of a lifetime, an absolute, mind-bending cracker.
Out safely on the flats, and with the Yabbara Beach dunes so close
You could reach ‘em with a one wood driver’s whack,
Jack clutched at his heart thumping away inside his chest,
He knew it was drumming head long towards a cataclysmic heart attack.
“Death’s door, this is it hey…”
Jack’s breaths were short and crashing.
He summoned all his energy for what mattered most, wish Berty all the best,
Then hold her one last time in his arms, his dear Carol’s ashes.
“No you don’t! Not on my watch!”
Tezza appeared right out of nowhere, you betchya!
He clasped an oxygen mask round Jack’s schnoz and mouth,
Brought him back to life, picked him up,
Laid him out tender on a stretcher.
Tezza’s contraption had a GPS so he’d be certain from afar
Jack’s voyage would come to fruition, be a life-affirming heart melter.
But he was worried about the mountain decline
So this morning he took the Police speed boat for a spin, straight up the river delta.
Alvin arrived first, then Jules and William were on the scene too.
“He’s alright but leave the scooter now, let’s hurry.
I’ll take you the rest of the way up the river,
That’ll see you through.”
Pedal to the metal,
Tezza thrust the speed boat full flight up the river.
The special place by the sea was upon them,
And even now as I think it all over yet again, up my spine it sends a shiver.
Flat on his back on the stretcher Jack rolled his head to the side;
He saw himself and Carol, when only in their teens,
Riding their bikes to the beach for a swim on the back path,
Clear as day in his mind’s eye.
The Yabbara access back beach loomed ahead,
Where Tezza was going to slide the boat up smoother than a jetski.
“Hold on tight!” He screamed so William and Jules held the boat rails
And Jack’s stretcher with even more force than Hercules.
The speed boat’s outboard engine ripped clean out
As it beached itself to a very expensive stop.
“Worry about that later, Jack’s got Carol’s ashes in the ocean
He’s come all this way to drop.”
Tezza jumped off to the back beach shore,
Held Jack in his arms like a fallen soldier.
Storming the beaches one last time,
Make love not war, that’s what I’ve always told ya.
They climbed the back of the dunes and all of a sudden,
Pretty as a picture, there it was, they’d made it.
The special place by the sea, heaven on Earth.
They’d arrived at Yabbara, everyone’s ultimate favourite.
Jack’s cancerous lungs chose this very moment to collapse.
He started coughing up blood. It was surely time to say goodbye.
Oxygen mask or not, it didn’t matter no more. Without lungs only one thing’s certain,
We can only hope to see you on the other side.
Tezza dropped to his knees, propped Jack up to sit in sandy comfort,
Seemed a fitting way to die.
“Wait! Wait! Wait!” William yelled.
“I know exactly what we’ve gotta try!”
From his backpack William pulled out more pyrotechnics
Than Sydney Harbour on New Year’s.
No one knew whether to look on in wonder or the clear alternative,
Pure unadulterated fear.
Jules could see the school principal had been right,
Her pride and joy was indeed a total pyro.
But he’d rigged up something other worldly in a jiffie,
And strapped it all to Jack,
“Hold on tight now, don’t let go.”
Strapped with enough firecrackers, explosives and bungers
Not even Queanbeyan would stock.
If Jack wanted to spread his wife’s ashes over Yabbara,
It was 11:59pm on the most important existential clock.
William had a lighter in his pocket, of course,
And he handed it to his grandpa destined for the sky above.
With Jack’s last ever breath he captured it all,
Whispered the words he was born to,
The others hopped back a safe distance atop the dunes
As Jacky Boy lit the fuse.
And every single one of the firecrackers sputtered, spluttered and stuttered to life,
Something colossal was about to be let loose.
Up and away into the stratosphere Jack soared!!!
Berty jumped off last second and flew away beautifully.
His wing had been restored.
But the main show was Jack and Carol,
Well and truly lighting up the Yabbara sky.
Leaving this world all smiles, no turnin’ back, not a chance,
What a way to say goodbye.
Berty swooped back in, joined his travelling party.
They watched cherished ashes falling to the water from up high.
Sometimes life makes perfect sense; start with love, add fireworks,
And finish with the sweetest of goodbyes.