Works in the Herald 1934

Fourway Farm,
October 25, 1934.

Dear Ab,

Well, here we are back on the old fambly seat after a hectick week in a fairy city all gone, as you might say, Centenary conshus. And I must say that for a man and a true citizen of Billibilli loyal to the districk's resolve to give the Melbourne Centenary a cold shoulder, I seem to have got a awful lot of pleasure out of me visit. The old farm still seems to be going round and round in circles and I dreams at night of fairylands and princes and flying ships, brass bands and general beanos.

Well, Ab, I dessey your own native gumption has already woke you up to the truth of all this humbug about Billibilli boycotting the Centenary. Meself, I tumbled to it at the beginning, but I kept up the pretense jest for the sake of injoying the fun.

It takes a strong man, Ab, what in the calm cool hours of privit life can live up to the burning words spoke in public; and Billibilli ain't so full of strong men as public speeches would have you think.

In this respeck it don't differ from any other town or city in this or any country in the world.

When I go into the town now and watch them patriotic twicers what have come back from a secret holiday greeting each other with sheepish and sidelong looks of dout and sispicion, well, two sleeves ain't hardly enough for me to laugh in.

And I hope it don't need no preaching from me, lad, to put you wise to that sad flor in human nacher, and the public faces most men puts on to hide their privit thoughts and inclinations.

It would pain me to think that any scion of the James clan could ever be took in by sich. For a man can still play the game straight, Ab, and be kind and helpful to his feller man without letting said feller man bamboozle and blind him with a lot of purple poppycock.

That's why your old man aint killed his self with worry long ago. Life, by and large, amuses me. And the longer I live the louder I laugh.

Think it over, lad. It aint a bad recipey for living.

Well, be that as it may. The holiday is over, and we now got to see about droring in the belt and spitting on the hands and earning enough to pay the next bit of intrest on the old familiar morgidge.

Which reminds me of another thing about living.

It was old Bob Blair, dead this twenty year, what taught me the trick, and he knew some crool hard times in his day, and many a scheem and shift to ease them.

"When times gets tough," he used to say, "and you got to spread the butter mghty thin on the bread, try eating it upside down, with the butter side next the tongue, and you'll think you are living on the fat of the land."

Well, Ab, I hope you will never have to try it. But I have, more than one since then. And you would be surprised what a awful kind parent to invention old mother necesity can be at a pinch.

Your brother Joe hints at going to town soon to see some Centenary, and from what I seen of you, I reckon you are still human enough to see he gets a good time.

Love from all at home.

Your aff. father.

Herald, 27 October 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2004