Sunday, November 7, 2010
Right after early breakfast each day, Aunt Lyla would cut us some cornbeef sandwiches for lunch, we'd collect a couple of mattocks from the tool shed, and off we'd march along cattle pads into the Noogoora burr, which a lot of the time was as thick as a brick wall and grew well overhead. By that time grandad was too old for horse riding and mustering so he always made himself useful doing other jobs around the station and when he had some spare time it was off with his mattock to dig out Noogoora burr.
Looking back it was a pretty useless operation because the burr was growing much faster that the rate at which a couple of people could cut it. But it kept grandad busy and that was all that mattered.
Anyway, one day when we were cutting burr about two miles from the homestead, a bloody great big boar came screaming down the cattle pad we were cutting burr on. We heard it crushing through the burr and knew it was trouble, so my cousin and I climbed a small tree by the pad and looked down, only to see grandad straddling the cattle pad with his mattock held high over his head waiting for the pig to crash through the burr and charge him.
It staggered along the pad for a couple of yards and collapsed kicking and squealing.
Grandad whipped out his knife and cut its throat.
Boy! What an experience for a town boy that was. Grandad was a bit shaken but apart from a few cuts was OK. It was late morning so we decided to have dinner then and there. (By the way "lunch" was "dinner" in those days and "dinner" was "tea", back when I was a country kid.)
I cut the pig's snout and tail off, with grandad's permission, because I could get a 2/6 pest bounty from the local shire council for them.
As we were eating our sandwiches I started thinking what a great waste of food it would be to leave that pig lying there for the dingoes to eat when we could be eating it back at the homestead.
"Get that filthy thing out of here. Get it out of my kitchen. Get it out of the homestead." She was furious.
I was astounded. What was up with her?
But I picked it up and trudged, shocked, back down the stairs.
And down there I was in for another shock. Grandad had had a heart attack, or at least that's what I thought, because he was laying on the dirt at the bottom of the stairs. I dropped the leg and ran over to him.
"Grandad? Are you OK?" I cried.
He could hardly talk ... because he was wetting his pants laughing.
"Didn't she want it," he gulped. "Well! I'll be blowed and you went to so much trouble. Well, we'll just have to give it to the dogs.
And that's what I did.