Six years on

I was originally going to post this on Sunday, marking 12 months since the event on the 24th May, 2014. In that time, there are still people regularly ‘liking’ the Facebook page and visiting the website. There was a final cheque deposited to the Leukaemia Foundation for $207 back in December (memorabillia coolers sold after the night), bringing the absolute final total to $39,934 fundraised. Not a shabby effort, hey?

However, with today being the 22nd May, it marks 6 years since Leukaemia got the final word on Dad, and I think this is a more poignant time to express some thoughts.

I am not a huge fan of emotional or motivating quotes, I’d much prefer to laugh out loud at something funny – but that’s just me. However, I read the following in a novel and it was exactly what I was thinking, but hadn’t quite been able to put into words:

The sadness of bereavement never disappears but one moves slowly to a place of peace.

In terms of the Coonan family, we have all dealt with Dad’s death in one way or another. But never think that a person can just “get over” a loved one dying. There is too much history to simply throw it all away and forget about it. We move on, but we still love and remember in our own way, every day.

We were in Taroom on the weekend just gone, for Tim and Georgina’s engagement party. Although this time we didn’t stop and visit Dad’s grave, the kids got great pleasure from waving to Poppy as we drove past the cemetery. Perhaps next time we will drop in, and Sophie (my youngest child, born after Dad died) will be the next in my kids to try and lift the headstone to see Poppy… There was quite a funny moment not long after Dad had gone and we were at the cemetery. Before we had left to go there, I had mentioned to the kids that we were going to see Poppy. And so of course, when you tell a not-quite three year old that, and then you tell them that he is in the ground, well… of course they want to see that! I’m pretty sure Dad would have been up there somewhere laughing his guts out.

It’s 5 o’clock now. Time for a drink on a Friday afternoon. Cheers, Dad.

Random post #8

Ross was not a fan of “the city”. Toowoomba was fine. Brisbane, not so much. Particularly in terms of driving in or around the city. His mother and sister live on the Gold Coast, so he had to deal with it. But I can distinctly remember, numerous times, if we were travelling somewhere different we would steer clear of the CBD. We could be driving along when dad would suddenly decide that we were getting way too close to the tall buildings and he would just about have a heart attack. I’m not one hundred percent sure if it was simply a fear of getting lost in the one way streets and NEVER EVER getting out of there alive again, but let me tell you, it was real. Tense words would be spoken between driver and navigator. Us kids would be in the back, feeding off the nervous energy. Probably fighting too, if I remember anything correctly about sitting in the back of a car with Tim and Peter.

And it wasn’t just the tall buildings. Ross was a country driver – in a four wheel drive. Sometimes we could be going along the freeway and apparently, also in the wrong direction. So what does a person do when the next turnoff is still kilometres away? It is relatively easy when there is a large grassy median strip between the roads on the freeway… you just use that as a turnaround bay to get back into the opposite flowing direction. Even if there is a gully in the bottom of it. And believe me, it happened more than once. Pfft, who needs intersections or exits. Not Ross!

Random post #7 by Al Hay

This random post about Ross is brought to you by Alison Hay, one of Ross’ sisters-in-law. Aunty Al sent me an email today after looking through the bits and pieces on Facebook, with something that she remembered:

Ross looooved Selastic. If something could be fixed with Selastic, it was. If there was a gap in something – Selastic. If something leaked – Selastic. If something would not glue – Selastic.

At one time there was an ad on TV for No More Gaps. It was a man using the filler to seal a window on a cabin. As the camera pans back, the cabin is on a small boat on a river. The man yells, “Prepare to dive!!”

Just so reminded me of Ross.

We now have a caravan that Ross used to take harvesting. The kids now use it as a cubby as it is a bit worse for wear. However, even though the wheels have fallen off it, to this day the van does not leak!!!

The Selastic is still holding. Not sure if I want to risk a dive though…

Thanks Al, this made my day. It is so very true, and I am sure there are a few other handymen out there who love Selastic as much as Dad did 😉

Terrence Alick Mapping Services donation

A huge thank you to Terry and Rosemary at Terrence Alick Mapping Services, for offering to donate a custom map of the Taroom area, which would be north to Theodore, south to Wandoan, east to Deearne, and west to Yebna. As an AO portrait map , it will be 840mm wide by 1m high at a scale of 1:150,000 showing as many property names that can be fitted in there comfortably. This would usually retail for $75.00 , but it will be the first of it’s kind showing this area. Check out alickmaps.com.au to see what other products this team are able to offer.

Random post #6

I suddenly realised that it has been a while since a random post about Ross, so how about we fit one in before Christmas? This post however, is more so about a specific doctor of Ross’ during his time fighting leukaemia. Dr James Morton was his main man, amongst the multitude of health carers during the 2 1/2 year battle.

His speciality is as a haematologist oncologist, so basically a doctor of blood cancers – mainly leukaemia’s and lymphoma’s if I am correct. Dr Morton was the brains behind the World’s Greatest Shave, coming up with the idea after a family organised a one-off event of head shavers to raise money for the Foundation. James ran with this original idea hoping it would become a world-wide occurrence, and although it has never really taken off to such a degree, the success of this fundraising venture within Australia has been beyond anybody’s wildest dreams.

Now here comes the interesting part. Have any of you heard of the AEIOU centres throughout Australia? These are early intervention programs for autistic children to enable them to access specialised childcare. And guess what? James and his wife Louise started this themselves after their second child was diagnosed with autism. Two brilliant ideas that although may have been a gamble, have each become a success in their own right.

On a slightly different tangent, Conversations with Richard Fidler on ABC Local radio is a bloody good listen if you ever get the chance. Just for you, I have found a podcast of Fidler speaking with Dr Morton about autism, AEIOU, World’s Greatest Shave and how he came to choose his profession. It takes 50 minutes, so make a cuppa and relax for a while. It is an interesting interview, I promise!

Click this link to listen: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/08/15/3293532.htm

Random post #5 by Pete Coonan

Written by Pete Coonan.

Dad was always a very vocal supporter when it come to watching us kids play sports, not one of those idiots screaming at a ref or 10-year-old players; just a proud dad throwing a few supporting words out there.

Except for one day. . .

I was playing a game of league when I was about 12, in Ipswich, when our little country side was really putting it to the Ipswich Rep team (normally the score would resemble a cricket score of 70-0). There was only about 5 minutes to go and we were only losing by a try when an Ipswich player goes down in what we all thought was a ploy to run the clock down. Next thing, we all hear this ‘F*CKING GET ON WITH IT, GET UP!’ One of my team mates says, ‘Shit who was that?’ I didn’t need to look, I knew the answer and with a sheepish grin replied ‘dad’.

He couldn’t have picked a worse time to be one of those crazy arse parents on the sideline. Turns out the kids knee cap was around the other side of his leg and his mother was sitting right in front of dad and WAS NOT impressed.

After a slap from mum and an apology to the mother a very red-faced father sat down and shut up.

And we won!

Random post #4

As do most people, Ross had some favourite sayings. Many will recall his “rodgee” and “yep yep”.

There was also one that I can distinctly recall being yelled out from the tin shed that was in our backyard. Or from inside a header. Or just when something was not quite going to plan. I am not sure where or how this particular string of words came together – perhaps it was simply an alternative to swearing in front of 3 kids.

Regardless, “SHIT POOP FART AND CACK” still makes me smile to this day.

Random post #3

I have been trying to think of something new to write as the next random post about Ross. And I had a brainwave! And yes, it hurt, for all those smart-alec’s out there who were thinking it…

It seems a bit ironic that we are going to be shaving our heads voluntarily next year, when for many who went with Coonan Harvesting, heads were shaved very much reluctantly and for some, being held down. It seemed to be a bit of an occurrence as the years passed, that if the crops weren’t quite ready or perhaps it had rained, beverages would be consumed and the clippers would make an appearance.

Like I said, some really weren’t overly fussed on having their precious locks come off. There is one story of a young bloke who had had quite a few bevvies and was basically asleep in his chair. So of course, the clippers made their entrance over his head. As they were drug back through his hair straight down the middle, the clippers were making their ‘bbrrrrrr’ sound. And this particular young bloke was “bbrrrrr-ing” right back at it. The next morning, as he awoke he ran his hand over his head (straight down the middle which is all that was shaved)… I believe that the following words could just about be heard on the other side of the caravan park: “OH NO! OH NO! NO, NO, NO! MY GIRLFRIEND IS NOT GOING TO LIKE THIS!!” And of course, the rest of his hair then had to come off as well.

Another fella tried to keep the clippers at bay by holding an aerosol can in front of him – and using a lighter to keep them even further away with the resulting flames!

I would love to know how many heads were shaved over the years. If you were made a victim of the clippers on a Coonan Harvesting jaunt, please add your name in the comments section.

Random post #1

I will try and post something random each week about Ross, to remind us all about why we are having Captain’s Night.

The following song was one that he asked Sueanne to play at the pub after his funeral. Unfortunately amongst the craziness of the day, it was forgotten. So here is “Nutbush City Limits” by the one and only Tina Turner!