It is a very warm morning, around 23, here in Gracemere today, Thursday 26th September. Up reasonably early, 6.30 for a leisurely breakfast as it was too hot in the camper to lie in for long.
Off to Uncle Bill’s funeral this morning. The service is being held in the East Chapel of the Rockhampton Crematorium at 10am. As we get our best clothes on the perspiration is running down my face and I find it hard to put stockings onto sticky legs. Heading into Rocky we get held up by what we think is roadworks but causing the early morning chaos is a very large RBT operation. Frustrating.
The gardens at the Crematorium are glorious in all their colours. A very fitting and grand setting for the service in the chapel. Backing into a carspace Murray puts his foot on the brake and it seems the car is still moving. After almost putting the brake pedal through the firewall he realises it’s the car next to us that is moving. Murray steadies his blood pressure and has a good laugh as we think of Bill playing tricks even now.
It is as if we have turned up to a family reunion for all Murray’s relatives, most of them are spread out across Australia, so don’t catch up very often. Uncle Bill has organised this get together well. The service was lovely. Many tears but some laughs also. Bill would have enjoyed it. His grandson Damien made a beautiful speech and Rus gave a lovely Eulogy.
The wake was at the Keppel Coast Country Music Club, in Yeppoon,where Bill spent many a happy hour. The weather was gorgeous, 30 degrees, the sun certainly shone just like Bill’s smile. A couple of his friends played and sang all afternoon. Francis, his partner got up and sang up a storm which impressed us all. Lots of catching up was done by all the cousins and other relatives,stories and memories were shared. We sat at Bill’s table and remembered him with some laughs and tears.
Bill was a simple man, there were no airs and graces about him. You took him as he was. He loved to stir people up with his trickery but he also loved to have a chat and catch up if you went to visit. We loved staying with him when we came up. The boys remember him catching crabs in the net and, with his bare feet holding them down, he would tie them up ready to cook. I remember the smell of fresh bread as it baked through the night ready for our breakfast in the morning. The best memory to everyone in the family is the way he used to hang his teeth out of his mouth and make them chatter while chasing the kids around. Kids loved Bill, we all did. He was a country man who enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. He loved his children, Tony and Sharon and was very proud of them, never ceasing to share a story about them with you. Their love and adoration for him shone through today. He is gone but will never be forgotten.
I had the pleasure of getting to know this man and loved him as much as everybody else. We were lucky to visit with him and Francis on my birthday in June, when he was well, and we made everlasting memories with him once more. The celebration for Bill came to an end but his memory lives on.
Together with Rus and John we had some Thai for dinner and a chat back at their motel in Rockhampton.It was great to see everyone again. We returned to our camp and packed for our long journey home tomorrow. This was a trip well worth making.