Thursday, 5 April 2007

“Those good ol’ days”

I had to take my son into town today to get a vaccination and on the way home decided to do my usual grocery shopping in the closest supermarket to the clinic. Have I mentioned that it is Easter Thursday, that is, the last day before a four day national long weekend holiday?

As I was pushing my trolley and son around the aisles I was thinking about how much easier it would be if I didn’t have to cope with supermarkets. As I tried to ease my way around the huge displays of Easter eggs clustered with besieged parents, I fantasised about non-commercial Easters. As I tried to pick a checkout lane that was actually moving; as I hauled the trolley to my car (it had other ideas for a direction to head); as I stopped and started my way through town in the heavy traffic and as I adroitly merged onto the highway (well, no-one honked me), I thought about how life was much simpler “in the old days.”

A healthy dose of clear driving, air-conditioning and thought snapped me out of my romantic reverie. Life was hard for the German settlers. You grew most of your own food, you hauled water for vegetables, fruit trees and the animals. You had cows that needed to be milked, fed, watered and butchered at the right time. If you were lucky, you had neighbours who helped with the butchering and maybe had a knack with wurst.

On the other hand, there were stores in town. Marburg had a store, a dairy, post office, bank and that other great essential, the pub (three in fact.) Rosewood had a main street of stores near the railway station. Minden had its own shops. Marburg even had a doctor, the venerable Dr. Euchariste Sirous. Now residents drive to Rosewood, Lowood, Ipswich or even Brisbane or Toowoomba for medical treatment.

Doctors may be rare around the Scrub and I might complain about taking my child to Ipswich for a vaccination, but I also haven’t lost children to dreadful, nowadays preventable causes. The cemeteries around here are full of children's names and the family history books list huge families. Seven children seemed a bare minimum to ensure a family's survival, fourteen or more is common. Easter Thursday aside, I appreciate what I have today.

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