Old folk at lunch

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dinner with Kenneth and Maureen

We arrived at Kuraby at 5pm after a bit of demon driving through the peak-hour traffic and as we walked in the door Ken was playing mood music on his new electric goanna. It certainly sounded good. Maybe acoustic pianos will become obsolete soon.

Maureen dished up an incredible spread with various appetizers and lots of different dishes for the main course. And everything was excellent. And I got a reward for always mentioning how good Maureen's pavlovas are. She made a super-duper layered one for dessert.

At one stage we were discussing old cars and houses -- which Ken sees little point in and I remarked that he was just not sentimental. Ken said: "Yes, I am". Whereupon Maureen shouted out from the kitchen: "You are not"! So Ken got a bit undermined there. But he retained his good cheer.

I can't remember much of what else we talked about but I think we covered a lot of ground.

At one stage Ken got Von and Paul on Skype from NZ so we heard a live account of their canoe adventure.

Towards the end of the evening we got talking about Pauline Hanson and racism -- in complete defiance of the old advice never to discuss religion and politics on social occasions. But Ken and I know one-another of old so we retained good cheer despite Ken having the usual view about Pauline while Anne and I think well of her.

Ken seemed at first to be in favour of "affirmative action" but my claim that it was racist seemed to moderate his views somewhat. Not your everyday dinner-table topic! But Ken is good natured and knows that I am pretty ornery so I think he just enjoyed the back and forth: Which is more mature than a lot of people could manage.

I pushed my luck with the beverages a bit, having champagne, Merlot and Cointreau. But I got home without police challenge so all was well. I took the Echo as I had surgery on my hand yesterday and it was still a bit sore. The Humber has very heavy steering so that was out of the question with a sore hand.


Another very small incident which may nonetheless be worth recording was when I very "incorrectly" remarked: "When I see reports of people younger than me dying, I tend to feel rather pleased". Maureen was in the kitchen area at the time but I got a big smile from her in response to that. I imagine that she enjoyed the "incorrectness" and frankness of it.

The older you get the more you feel pleased at your survival, I think. Almost the very first thing nonagenarians say to you is: "I'm 90, you know!" There are a lot of nonagenarians in Australia so I have heard it often. Anne's mother is still alive at 93.

Update 2

After Paul had related on Skype how their canoe had got out of control and tossed both him and Von into the freezing river water, Ken chimed in with an admonition that they should have been wearing life jackets. That went down like a lead balloon with Paul -- as I could tell from his silence in response. Father and son there do NOT see eye to eye in most things. I had some sympathy for Ken on that occasion, however. Hearing that two of your children had nearly drowned has got to be stressful.

Unless I have been directly asked for advice, I don't think I ever tell Paul or Joe to do anything. I just offer information about what the consequences of any course of action are likely to be and leave them to integrate that into their own thinking however they may. I have never been disappointed at the result of that.

And I never really need to say anything to Von. She always makes good decisions. Or I think so anyway.

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