A confusing ménage of slang and reminiscence.
As a child I used to think that willows were such tidy trees. They grew ‘trimmed’. That is, their fronds always reached a certain level and then stopped growing, as if they’d had a haircut. As I got older I realised that yes, well, they were actually trimmed. Cattle loved willow trees, and if you had cows in the same paddock as a willow tree, the cows would munch on the tree, chomping up as far as they could reach. Hence the neat line.
I’m no spring chicken, as my mother used to say. How old? Let’s just say so old that I saw Abba live at Ripponlea, and the pirate king’s purple pants first time around (as well as the second). Confused? I’m being deliberately so. 😊
I grew up on a farm. Not a farming family but surrounded by farmland. We lived in the old farmhouse, leased out when the farmer built a new one. We loved it. We had our home, our half-acre of vegetables, and we had the creek.
The farm was on the river flats, and we lived near a creek. Back in those days the creek didn’t run dry. In winter, it flooded—the farmer had a boat with an outboard motor, and they’d use that during the floods to get to the cattle. In summer we swam. At our own water hole, or as we got older we were allowed to take an old tyre and float down to Willow Bend, the popular swimming place a couple of kilometres down the road where all the young kids went. Of course, we had to walk home afterwards, but that was never a problem for us. I don’t know what happened to the tyres. I think we must have rolled them home with us.
Distance was never a problem. Sherylyn’s best friend, for example, lived twelve kilometres away. She, or her friend, would always be at each other’s places. They rode their bikes.
Willow Bend was so named because of the willow trees. They were everywhere and because it was a public area, rather than farmland, it was also the first place I saw willows that grew down to the ground. Willows grew all along the creek, too, and even out into the paddocks.
There are no willows there now. There’s no creek. It’s too dry for them. The times, as a great singer once said, are a’changing. I’m glad I had the pleasure of enjoying the willows along the creek.