Bang-up bush Xmas

Posted: December 18, 2009 in Family, Musings
Tags: , , ,

I learned to shoot and drive when still in primary school, but now need smelling salts at the thought of my own children accessing the same opportunities.

This Christmas is a big Bongers Fest at my brother’s property outside Biloela. A forty-strong gathering of the clan complete with cold room, camper trailors, and you guessed it, guns. ‘Slug guns,’ my brother clarified after a moment of dead air on the phone line. ‘For the kids.’

And his twelve-year-old wants to teach our ten, twelve and seventeen-year-olds to drive. Good grief, when did I become such a scaredy-cat?

My brothers are jaw-droppingly competent. If they want a tennis court, they will excavate, laser-level, underlay, bitumenise, fence and illuminate an obscure corner of central Queensland to rival centre-court Wimbledon. When they shoot a black snake, a crater in the parched earth is the only evidence of its passing.  When they do a job, they do it properly.

No doubt they have passed on competence and high-level skills in vehicular control and the safe discharge of firearms to the next generation. I can’t claim to have done the same.

Thirty years in the city has made me soft. I now solve problems with a mobile phone, a keyboard and a credit card. I probably couldn’t hit a barn door, let alone an icecream bucket, with a slug gun. But I have  inherited the determination that made my father pull his finger out of the dykes and carve out a corner of a hard land half a world away from his own.

Come Christmas-time, I am happy to relearn the lessons of my youth and teach my kids, if that’s what they want.  But, if they want to stay in the pool, or watch the Boxing Day cricket, that’s fine by me too. 😉

May you all enjoy a bang-up Christmas, wherever that may be, with all the peace and blessings of the festive season

Chris xx

  1. jason nahrung says:

    I know what you mean, Chris. I recently surrendered my rifles and my firearms licence. I am no longer a bushy. Hope you have a cool Yule out yonder.

  2. Michael says:

    Mary Crispness and a Happy Noumea to you too Chris!

  3. Joanna Gaudry says:

    Lol I took my daughter for a driving lesson (she turned 16 two weeks ago). No. Professional driving lessons for her for a little while yet. I’m just too tense in the car with her, and shout too much. Not good!
    Have a great week, and a lovely Christmas, Chris.
    Stay cool! Joanna :))

  4. Tony says:

    I spent a good chunk of my childhood riding around unsealed roads in the back of the family ute. I shudder to think about letting Toby ever do anything similar, so I know exactly what you mean.

    Happy Christmas to you and yours Chris. Don’t let the kids shoot down any passing reindeer.


  5. can I borrow your brothers? For just a few weeks?

    Have a jolly good Christmas!

  6. chrisbongers says:

    I wish I could borrow them too – they just don’t come to Brissie enough! Happy Xmas in Armadale.

  7. Trudie Trewin says:

    lol – I fully intend to let my eldest go spot-lighting in the back of a ute with rifles like I did at his age. Just as soon as he can recite War and Peace backwards in Hebrew, Chinese and Swahili with a hard boiled egg in his mouth!
    Your blog is fun, Chris – have a great bang-up bush Christmas.

  8. It’s funny how we change as we grow into ‘sensible adults’. I grew up as an outdoors kid. I used to adore camping and would happily catch snakes and spiders in my hands. Now I’m a city gal. I’m terrified of spiders and wont go anywhere that doesn’t have electricity. Sigh.

    Hope you can bring back some of the bush, Chris! Have a great (and safe!) Christmas.

  9. Too right! When I think of some of the things I got up to overseas (i.e. really dangerous things) – and now I shudder to think what my son (22) is getting up to over there … even knowing he’s got a lot more sense than I did at his age .. but hey, you’re only 22 once and the world is your oyster. Hope he doesn’t get cut on the shells too badly, and that your boys have fun whatever they decide to do.
    Have a lovely Christmas out there with your family in Billo, Chris. See you in the new year.

  10. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Sheryl, a wild youth gives us the stories that sustain us through our staid middle age and beyond! Merry Xmas to you and yours wherever they may be. xx

  11. Fraser says:

    Hey Chris and Family

    Merry Christmas and all that………….
    Well as you know Chris we have moved to the bush and can relate to it all.
    I grew up on the land and I guess that formed alot of my values and ideals and then I had 20 years in Brisbane which certainly softened me up.
    Reflecting on the past 12 months I think the differences between city and country are few but distinct………Tenterfield doesn’t have an Inala or an Ascot, everyone is dumped in a heap together which I would like to think breeds tolerance!? Like your brothers if something has to be done there is very little consultation process the job just gets done with minimal fuss. We have had to face life and death in a way that would not be dreamed of in Newmarket (dog killed by brown snake, horse dies, dig a big hole, kill brown snakes in house yard, chooks attacked by stray dogs, foxes everywhere, sick cattle, plants die no rain) and that was Monday…………
    And loving it all.
    As I say to people who come to visit us from the city, every single time you open your mouth to put food in remember where that food came from.

    Fantastic to hear that your artistic side has kicked in. Go Chris.

    See you at Buddina sometime.


  12. chrisbongers says:

    Fraser, I looked for you and yours at Buddina – someone was having a party at Marie’s Dad’s place, but it wasn’t you! Hope to see you all up there soon. Glad you’re loving the move. Give my love to Marie and Flynn. Chris xx

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