RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR: Kermie celebrated with friends Don and Linda Wishart.
RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR: Kermie celebrated with friends Don and Linda Wishart. Contributed

Kermie celebrates new memories, old friends

WELCOME to 2018.

I trust that you all had a fantastic Christmas and a great New Year. We were joined by our Nick and managed to have video calls with Steve and Tom who are both overseas.

It was a quiet but enjoyable Christmas for us.

For New Year we had very old friends of mine, and more recently Rita's, join us.

Don Wishart and I go back some 48 years - to our last year of high school. Better known as DC (Donald Charles - the name sounding much more sartorial than the man), it was wonderful to have them join us here in MooTown.

Ever the Journeyman, Don and Linda have moved home 17 times over those years, owning many of them along the way.

Most recently they lived in Hobart, selling up and buying a home at Jarvis Bay on NSW's south coast. They immediately rented it out and went caravanning for a year. Upon their return DC was offered a job back in Tassie which, having regretted retiring early, he took. Nine months later they have again sold and moved back once again to the mainland, to the town of Don's birth - a lovely little place called Yackandandah, a little ways south of Albury/Wodonga. Under two hours from MooTown, they are virtually our next door neighbours and I am excited to have them back in our lives on a regular basis.

That last year together at school. What a time we had! There was the school gig the student social club organised. Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs no less! After an hour the principal pulled the plug and the whole school went on strike out on the oval. DC and I were in a band. We called it 'The Way of all Flesh' (sounded cool at the time).

Our first ever gig in the assembly hall, the curtains pulled back and there were 500 kids! We froze! Eventually we got going and on our third song (I think we only knew four) some 2nd Former screamed. Shit yeah! We'd made it!

We had mostly great teachers that year and a bunch of us underage lads and gals would often join a few of them at the pub over the road of a Friday after school, before heading to yet another all-night party. And what parties we had! Out on a Friday, sleep Saturday, out again Saturday night. Schoolwork suffered but jeez we learned a lot about life.

Being a few months older, I got my licence first and hitch-hiking went out the window to be replaced with a sales pitch to the olds about borrowing the car. God knows why but they usually swallowed my BS and the world was our oyster. One time there's me driving, my girlfriend and Donny across the bench seat. I'm letting her steer and we come to a fork in the narrow dirt road we were on. Long story short, I pull right on the wheel, DC pulls left, the girl screams and we collect the tree in the middle of the fork. Damage was minimal enough to blame it on a roo. I used to let Don drive the old Austin so I could go a-kissin' and a-huggin' in the back seat. Now there's a mate!

DC and I thought we were fat all those years ago. I look at those old photos and pray to be that fat again. Guess we grew into our nightmare. Damn that was a good year!

When I got engaged to wife Number 1 Don was the only friend to tell me what a mistake I was making. Wish I'd listened. When I got offered a job interstate and was wavering, Don was the one who said, "Your friends will always be your friends and the ones who don't remain your friends never were.” Sage words indeed.

Over the past half century we have lost touch on a few occasions but when we reconnected it was always like yesterday. I am so happy at them moving 'just up the road'. We started our adult lives side by side and we will finish them the same way. To me that's a bigger win than any lottery.

Take care of you. Kermie.

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