Works in the Herald 1935
EPISTLES TO AB - HOPPER SWATTING

Fourway Farm,
January 25, 1935.

Dear Ab,

Well, Ime afrade there ain't very much news to tell you this week, Ab, except that things up around this way seems sort of getting back to normal and we are feeling like we was back home again.

We have had the grasshoppers - in fact, we still got em - we have had the flees and the blue beetils and the pear slugs and we have had a plage of parrits and a cupple of floods all in the one summer.

Well these things ain't what you might call normal, and they sort of upset the even tenner of our way so to speak because they only comes once in a blue moon and then not all of a heap together like this year.

As I sez last week I reckon its all a kind of judgment on muddle headed human beans for the silly dilly way they gone and let their greed go and tie em up in all sorts of ekanomic knots what a waggon load of angles couldent undo in a month o' Sundays.

But that aint what Ime trine to get at now so much as the strangeness of it all what makes the homely old Fourway farm at Billibilli seem like it was somewheres in furrin parts.

We aint used to these things, Ab, and mankine is apt to get awful bothered and peevish and a bit scared like about too much of what he aint used to. He don't feel at home with it like. That's where rabbits is different. Rabbits is always with us, and it would take an awful lot of rabbits to scare Billibilli.

But as I say things is getting back to normal because the good old annual bush fire boom started this week. Men is cocking their eye at bits of smoke on the north horizon and spouting prophesys and the wet bags on the end of sticks and broom handils is standing in tubs and buckets around the walls all ready for our old familyer frend the fire feend.

It makes us feel so homey, Ab, that I really believe folks around here would welcome a nice hot old fashioned bush fire after all these strange pages and visitations.

Be that as it may, I would rather that your brother Joe and his young cobbers had not started this here new game they got on to. This here sporting instink can waste a terrible lot of daylite, and on a farm daylite is money.

As I say the grasshoppers is still with us, and what does some of Joe's friends have to go and do but invent this here new game of hopper swattin, the before said bags on the end of sticks being what they swats with.

Nor I wouldent mind that so much, Ab, but your brother Joe has got to go and win the proud title of champeen hopper swatter of Billibilli with a record of 41 hopers in one single swat.

And now when he aint wasting time practising his swing and improving his stance he is wastin it swearing challenges and playing matching to defend his title.

And what makes it worse your ma is proud of it and incurrages him and sez this hopper swatting develops caricter and sich like tommy rot.

So I wish you would write to your brother Joe, Ab, in a sarcastic sort of was you know pointing how no self-respecting city feller would take his hopper swatting serious scept as a pastime for idol hours.

Make it hot as you can, Ab, cos I cant do nothing with him. Next thing he will be turning perfeshnil.

Love from all at home.

Your aff. father.
JAS. JAMES

"Den"
Herald, 26 January 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005