My mother was a city girl.
If there's one story I heard when I was growing up, oh, let me see, perhaps three hundred and sixty thousand times? It was the story of my mothers first trip to Renmark. It's not so much a story, but a moment. The moment when the bus made its way out of the city, and headed north to the top of Accommodation Hill, which is about an hour or so into what would have been a four hour journey.
"We came over the top of Accommodation Hill and there was just nothing, NOTHING! And I thought my lord, where am I going? There's nothing here!"
She was seventeen and going to party, a party where she would meet my father. And the rest, as they say, is history.
As a child I never thought too much about the fact that she was originally from the city. I guess there were times that I actually felt sorry for her that she couldn't call herself a born and bred Renmarkian. I mean, was there anywhere better than Renmark? If there was, I hadn't seen it.
If we went to the city in our summer holidays there were activities that my mother felt had to happen. We took the tram, we went to theatre, we visited Aunts, and we relived the stories that came with the spotting of a certain landmark. I'm sure my mother must have often wondered how differently her life may have been had she not got on that bus. She never said it out loud. It never once occurred to me as a child that she gave something up or left something behind.
"Where am I going? There was just nothing. NOTHING!"
At breakfast this morning I asked Mum about the bus ride, about meeting Dad at the party, about driving over the top of Accommodation Hill and seeing nothing."Now I can't wait to get over the top of Accommodation Hill - it means I'm nearly home."
I feel exactly the same way.