It’s been 14 years since you passed away and though I was only a teenager at the time I still remember the little things…
Your cluttered shed and the way it used to smell like garlic.
The boat that all the cousins used to play in but funnily enough I never actually saw it being used.
A Stephen King (or any horror) book resting on the kitchen bench where you always sat. The covers scared me back then but damn, now that my brother is buying up every Stephen King book available I wish we’d kept them.
A newspaper also lying somewhere nearby often open at the horse racing pages.
The pong of chook poo when you were preparing it to fertilise your veggie garden.
Going home with great big bunches of silverbeet from your garden.
The way you laughed at me when I decided that my reflection may make a good conversationalist.
Your false teeth and the stories you told about scaring kids with them.
The way you made your rollies (with Tally Ho papers) inside ready for smoking outside.
The tattoos on your arm which, if my memory is correct, were done by Nanna.
The little ditty you used to sing: “Jesus loves me yes I know. Jessica Barratt told me so.”
The sound your spoon made in your mug as you briskly stirred sugar through your tea.
Sitting down to dinner and being fascinated by the amount of salt you sprinkled over all your food.
Your delicious pumpkin scones.
How much you loved your dog Cassie and how you always took her for walks; bringing along a tennis ball for her to fetch.
Your afternoon naps which meant children had to be quiet.
Your fondness for port and lemon.
But most of all I remember going out the front with you whenever you had a smoke and staring up at the stars as you pointed out the different constellations.
You told me that all the stars up in the sky were windows to heaven and all the people who had passed away were sitting up there and were looking down on us. I’m sure you’re up there too and I like to think you’re looking down on me and somehow guiding me in the right direction. Especially with the Nicholsons. Though you’re no longer around I’ll always have the stars and every time I look at them I will always think of you; for it was you who inspired me to look up and marvel.