If you don’t come from Brisbane, how often do you look up the BOM website to get a weather forecast? For this blogger it is at least once a year and a comforting traditional prediction is there for today… showers and thundery rain. Huey has not disappointed. Mother Nature’s roulette wheel is spun around this time of the year, every year on the first day of the Brisbane Test.
If you are not a cricket fan, please endure this indulgence (the point is expanded soon). This day has memories flooding back through 40+ years of trying to find a way to see or at least hear live, the first ball of the First Test match of the Australian cricket season. Today’s first ball of the first day of the First Test (affectionately dubbed the first pill by cricket tragics) happens to coincide this year with the first official day of summer.
I’ve got memories down through the years of the long summer days watching a Test up at my grandparents’ house where they had an orchard in the Yarra Valley. All of the cousins had their special time to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s place. Mine was the long school holidays for two weeks some time in December or January. Back then, cricket was on ABC TV and there was only a budget for one straight-on camera down the pitch. So you saw the batman face-on one over and then the next over was from behind the wicket, so you would see the bowler coming in and the batsman’s back. The first day of a season was often when we were still in school. One year the first pill happened at recess and the radio broadcast was piped out onto our playground on the loud speaker. I think by lunchtime Australia was nearly all out and Rodney Hogg (a fast bowler, not a recognised batsman) was our top scorer with 36 runs. As a teacher for 20 or so years, if the timetable had me scheduled for class when the first ball was bowled, my kids would see me frantically enter the room with a coat hanger. Shoved into the back of the telly that coat hanger became a makeshift aerial and together we’d watch a grainy picture of another opening to the international cricket season.
So, thanks for hanging in there – my expanded point is? Well, here’s some questions for you. Think of the patterns in your year. What are the things that punctuate your year, that when they happen, great memories burst open? Is it the Myer Christmas windows? Is it an annual holiday place that even when you say its name quietly to yourself, you are taken back there?
At the heart of this, is that intangible feeling of warmth and security. I don’t take it for granted. I can see a little kid sitting on a wooden bench seat in the old Southern Stand at the MCG for the Ashes Boxing Day Test of 1974. I was really grown up – seven years old (and like, nearly eight) there next to my dad. I don’t even have to close my eyes to transport back to that time. What memories do you have from your childhood days that make you feel warm? Dad took me to my first day at the cricket and a life time obsession with today was born, of wanting to see the first pill flung in anger for the long summer ahead.
You’re a young person reading this? Can you guess what special things you do right now, every year, that will be the memories that make you smile when you are forty, fifty or ninety-seven years old?
People who layer our memory, with good experiences, are giving us a gift that may help us to feel secure for perhaps even, a lifetime. We can give back by doing that for our kids now and in the future. At 11am today, Melbourne time, guess what I’ll be doing?
What are the memories that make you feel warm when those times and places come back around? Who made them happen for you? What are the funny little details you remember?
Feel free to share your own thoughts and memories in the space below.