Your Century

The year 1905 began on a Sunday. If you had been born In Korea you would already have been one year old then. Instead you chose Australia as your entry point into life, Just weeks before the founding of Sinn Fein in Ireland - Surely these things are connected. This is your century: The following year radio first burst onto the airwaves. A poem was recited and I wonder if upon your birthday Someone else was also inspired to sing a song, as you Lay in your crib in Bittern? Perhaps you don�t remember, Being only one year old, or two, at the time. Does the Batsman remember every run he makes to reach his Century? Perhaps he does. Your stamina astonishes Us all. You�ve outlived Bradman, seen off Deng Xiaoping. For you, the Great Depression was eighty years ago But nevertheless a real, tragic and desperate thing. Perhaps it�s nothing to you now. You�ve never driven A car which is, I�m sure, good. Now I remember the Blue Volkswagen in the garage of your Mildura house. Only recently have I come to know some of the finer details of your grand and long life. The Mornington Peninsula days, Papa�s work in the Mallee, mum off To school in Somerville, her marriage at Shepparton � You�ve seen it all, seen a thousand people come and Go, held newborn babies and cried by gravesides, Cajoled your grandsons into making cups of tea and Straightened out the crinks in flanellette sheets like A steam press, the muscles in your fragile arms Working overtime as you knead scone dough, pick up Little children or count the Rosary. We have been so Lucky to have been just a small part of your life and Times, your century that never seems to end. Not That we begrudge you your longevity � far from it. It�s just that I wonder how long your daughters will Live, not to mention your many granddaughters & Great granddaughters. We men don�t seem to be So lucky, passing on just when things get interesting, During our sixties and seventies. Of course, you Were too old for all that fuss, the swinging sixties and so on � but what do you remember of the Beatles? I bet you didn�t like them. I�d really like to know. And what about television? Cinema? The Internet? Well, I�m sure it�s all old hat to you, and not a patch On the football. Collingwood, Collingwood, who�s Going to help out poor old bedraggled Collingwood? I think that if you were to go to a match, grannie, They�d perform a thousand times better. As it is, You know everything there is to know about it, Just by watching it on the telly. So you see there Is a use for all this new technology. It lets us Speak to you when we�re faraway, as I am now. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you and The whole family. This century, your century. Those other old ladies in the nursing home � Well, I�m sure they�re speechless now. You�ve Certainly given them all a target to aim for, eh? But, in the interests of brevity I think I�ll end My poem here. No one likes a windbag gabbing On when there�s food to eat, champagne to drink And Moya hovering close by with the camera, so Happy birthday Gran, may you live a hundred more. [For Mary Fitzgerald Unthank, nee Hurley - born 8 November 1905]


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