MUM'S electric wheelchair is playing up.
It has taken on a life of its own and, at the most inopportune moments, decides to ignore the joystick and head off in its own direction.
As a consequence, we decided it is a bit too risky to let mum go off and play in the traffic by herself.
A couple of days tied down to the house was sending her stir-crazy so, after I knocked off the mail run, I suggested that I would walk with her down the street where we could have lunch together.
As a precaution I took the mechanic's last resort - a 4lb hammer.
It's been a while since I've had lunch down the street in our little town.
"Where would you like to go mum?"
"Tommy's," was the reply.
Tommy's is the local bakery. It goes under another name but everyone just calls it Tommy's. We got there without mishap and I went in to order.
"Your mum has hot milk, yeah? I'll bring it out with the food."
Tommy's is a take-away, not a sitdown service joint. But they know mum well and look after her.
As we sit there, enjoying a brief ray of winter sun, Bobby walks up and stops for a chat.
While he and I are shooting the breeze, mum's friend Yolanda happens by.
No sooner does Bob leave when Lorna turns up and another conversation begins.
Bev, mum's sister, is next, followed by two or three other pals of either mum's or mine.
A half-hour lunchbreak turns into an hour and a half of catching up with recently and not so recently seen friends.
I, like many others, take our little town for granted, but sitting there brought home to me what a sense of community is engendered in small towns.
Sure, everyone knows everyone else's business and sometimes it can be a bit like living in a goldfish bowl, but getting a smile, a g'day or a longer catch-up like we did this day is a really good trade-off.
And you know that if there is adversity, the whole place will pull together as one.
Older truckies often say that the sense of community has gone from the industry.
If true, that would be a great shame.
Our industry - like my town - is relatively small.
Sticking together and sticking up for each other makes us all stronger - and happier.
Mum and I got back home as far as the front gate before the wheelchair got wilful.
A slap with the 4lb hammer got it the rest of the way.
Take care of you
Kermie, 0418 139 415, firstname.lastname@example.org
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