Tuesday, February 26, 2008
THE SHOWGROUND - 1 ©
"Suppose you'll be off to the show next weekend Yorky, eh?"
"What show, Arthur?"
"Lake Cargelligo show mate. Ya didn't know?"
"Never heard a thing about it."
"It's at the showground mate. There's prizes for the best bulls, stud rams, dairy cattle, the greasy pig contest and a lotta side-show events. She's a real good show Yorky. Ya don't wanna miss it mate. Everyone for 50 miles around will be there."
"Are you going Arthur?"
"Shit yeah, It's the highlight of the year mate."
All that week as I was riding round on the tractor discing one of Arthurs' paddocks, I was seeing movies in the imagination, of the Lake Cargelligo Annual Show. When Saturday morning came Arthur said,
"We'll take the whole weekend off Yorky. Ya don't have to work this morning. Anyway, it's a lousy weekend for the show. It always seems to rain on a show weekend. Has done for the last 3 years."
"Good on ya Arthur.", I said. "I think I'll ride into town early this morning."
"All right Yorky, but be careful 'cause those dirt roads are as slippy as hell, even in a Ute, never mind a motor bike."
"Can I use ya gum boots?"
"Yeah, help ya self mate."
"I'll wear a clean pair of overalls too. That'll keep mi good town clothes clean."
"Good idea Yorky. I'll be wearing mine too. That Showground will be like a big mud bog with all those people tramping around it for 2 days. See ya in the lake somewhere."
Arthur was pretty right on when he said the roads would be slippy. It took me about an hour and a half to get to town that muddy Saturday morning. The rain had stopped by the time I hit the bitumen road into the Lake. I hosed mi bike off at the garage and washed all the mud from mi gum boots. Mi green King-G overalls had stayed pretty cleaned and for a muddy Saturday morning I didn't look to bad at all, as I pulled up at the Dago's shop.
When I went inside the Greek Cafe, Jimmy Xmas was sat at the far corner staff-table drinking a hot cup of black greed coffee. Next to the coffee was a glass of cold water. He was puffing away on a Lucky Strike when I sat down across from him.
"Tikanyas, Jimmy Xmas", I said.
"Polyi kala Yorky. What'll ya have, ya bastard?"
"I'll have a hot cappachino Jimmy. It's a bit cool this morning eh?"
"It's-a-bastard Yorky. Every bloody year it's-a the same. It always rains on a show weekend. What-a to do mate."
"Oh well Jimmy, It'll be good for business. People will come into the cafe out of the rain."
"Many people stay-a at home today and my floor end up looking like a cattle yard. What-a to do?", he said as he threw his arms in the air.
"What you drink that Italian cappochina shit for Yorky? Why you not-a drink the Greek coffee?"
"It looks pretty strong and black to me Jimmy."
"It's-a good for you Yorky. I'll fetch you one. It's-a on the house mate. You're a good bloke Yorky. You're open to learn-a bit of Greek culture."
"Thanks Jimmy. It doesn't look too good to me but I'll try it anyway."
Jimmy Xmas comes back over to the staff-table with a small hot cup of Greek coffee and a glass of cold water.
"Here-a ya go Yorky. This is my favorite. I usta drink-a dis coffee back in my own-a country."
He put the small cup of jet-black coffee down in front of me with the glass of cold water next to it.
"You like-a some Ouzo in it Yorky?"
"What's Ouzo Jimmy?"
"It's-a aniseed drink. We drink it all the time in Greece."
"It it alcoholic?"
"Too bloody right-a it is. Whats-a use if it's not?"
"No thanks Jimmy. The coffee looks strong enough for me mate."
Very carefully, I took a sip of the Greek coffee. It was real hot, jet-black and very gritty.
"How you like it Yorky?"
"It's different. What's the water for?"
"Thats-a to wash it down after."
"Oh, that's a great idea. How thoughtful Jimmy."
Maybe the inventor didn't like the taste of his own coffee, I thought, as the black, tangy grit-water slid down my throat.
"You drink-a the water now Yorky.". Jimmy said as I finished off the small cup.
"The water tastes great."
"You make-a the joke, you bastard. Here, have a Lucky Strike."
"Yeah, I'm only joking, Jimmy, but I will try one of those Cappachinos now."
"Bastard Italiano coffee!", he said as he got up to make one.
As I was sat there having mi Cappachino and another fag, a young bloke called Gary Breany walked in.
"G'day Yorky, I saw ya bike outside mate. Thought I'd come in and see ya."
"G'day Gary. How ya going mate?"
"S'truth Yorky, you're picking up a pretty good Aussie accent mate. Another ten years and you'll be one of us."
"Sit down mate and less of ya bullshit. D'ya wanna hot Cappachino?"
"Why not. The old man gave me the day off work so I can go to the Show. What about you Yorky? Ya off to the Show mate?"
"Sure am. Mud or not it should be a real good day."
"Sure as hell will be mate. All the Cockies daughters will be in town today. I've got mi eye on one of 'em. They tell me she's a pretty fair sorta root."
"Yeah, sure mate and where ya gonna root her. Behind a stump in the mud?"
"Na, don't be stupid mate. Mi parents are going away for the weekend so I've got the place to mi self, apart from mi young brother, that is. Find ya self a good-lookin' Sheila, Yorky and come on down if ya like."
"All right mate.", I said. I'll see what I can come up with."
Gary Breaney was a month younger than I was. He was about the same build with a shortish hairstyle and a broad 'Occa' accent. I'd met him a while ago at a tennis match out at a Bush court and we remained good mates over the years I spent around Lake Cargelligo.
It was 10 O'clock now so I decided to hop on mi motorbike and cruise up to the Showground to see what sort of show it was going to be. I parked mi bike in the muddy paddock that had been roped off for parking, then paid the nominal fee for entering through the turnstyle. Although it was not raining now, the dust around the Showground had quickly turned to mud as quite a large number of people were already making the rounds of the shows.
I went straight over to where the Stock show was being held and talked with quite a few of the local Cockies. The local Cockies around Lake Cargelligo were, on the whole, pretty friendly blokes. It was good for me to meet as many of them as possible. That way I would be able to find work for myself whenever the time demanded.