bilateral kellerberrin

May 7, 2005

Kellerberrin Saturday 7 May 2005

Filed under: keller dailies — Lucas @ 11:31 am

Feels like I can hardly keep up. My own computer has packed it in, so I am over in the gallery office doing this typing. It’s 10.36am, and Kellerberrin is “action-stations” this morning. People bustling everywhere and cars all over the place. Pat said it’s because of the speedway this arvo, and also there is the shire election happening. She gave me a huge bag of just-spun wool, and another smaller one from Di, for our Pipe-Vest project. It’s nice stuff – natural colours, wound in loose bundles (do you call them “hocks?”) .

While Pat was explaining to me about the wool, she remembered: THE CAKE STALL! There was a particular lady who had donated some sponges to the cake stall. These sponges are supposed to be the best. She bustled out to grab one. Swept up in the moment, I dashed back next door for my wallet and bought one too. Normally I’m not really a sponge man, but this one does look special – high and light and perfectly shaped like a big aspirin.

* * * * *

Last night, for the first time, I managed to make it to Jag the Joker at the Pub. Pauline stayed in town for her chance to hit the big time, James came in too, as well as their daughter Tamsa . Tamsa lives in Perth, she’s a radiographer, specifically a sonographer. They do ultrasounds. I learned that only a small proportion of ultrasounds are on wombs. They do them on muscles and organs and stuff too. Tamsa teaches horseriding on some weekends when she comes out to Keller.

Jag the Joker is a Jackpot game. Between 5.30 and 8pm on Friday night, you get a numbered ticket for every drink you buy. At 8pm, Brendan the Jolly Publican pulls the (potentially) winning ticket from a bucket. The holder of this ticket gets three darts to throw. On the wall are stuck a pack of cards, face down. You throw the dart and try to hit a card. The card is turned over – if you have “jagged” the joker you get the jackpot. The jackpot goes up $100 a week. At the moment it’s up to $3600. Can you imagine? That’s my new computer right there! A nice one too, even after shouting everyone a round at the bar.

I’m not addicted, I can quit anytime…

Well, obviously last night my number didnae come up. It’s a clever game though, cos I spent more on drinks in a few hours than I normally would, and so did Pauline and Roger. We had heaps of tickets. A guy called Lorne had the lucky ticket. There’s tension and focus in the bar, for the first time. Lorne throws the dart and hits a card. Brendan the Jolly Publican has a penetrating voice that would hold it’s own in an auction yard or stock market. In his own pub, on a Friday night, he is the King – the centre of attention, the bookie, the man with the wad of cash. He bellows instructions, and offers Lorne the chance to forgo the option of flipping the card to see if he’s jagged the joker, in exchange for 100 in cash. A bit of negotiation goes on, and Lorne contents himself with 100 plus a bottle of rum. What an anticlimax.

Earlier, while hustling for drinks at the bar, I had met Lorne. His wife has just had a baby, with a funny name (I can’t remember what though). His wife is Dutch. Lorne told me about how during the second world war, there were a lot of Italian prisoners of war in Kellerberrin, and they did building and construction work – wells, walls, perhaps they even built the cinema (the cinema bit is just my fantasy, I have no idea). How, I wondered, did Italian POW’s make it to Australia. Nobody knew. Maybe they were sent here by the good ole US of A to make sure we were doing our part. After the war, they were sent home again. This was kind of odd, considering that in the fifties, such a huge influx of immigrants came from Italy.

A friendly young chap called Michael, for instance, (or Pozza, as we call him) – his grandparents were from Sicily, and somewhere up the north of Italy. They were in stonemasonry and now the family still does a lot of concreting. Pozza had had a few chances to Jag the Joker in recent weeks, but no cigar. Seems everyone could use that three grand.

A few other folks I met at the pub:

* A young fellow who said he was planting canola at the moment. They plant canola in rotation because it is resistant to different pesticides than wheat. The weeds which aren’t eradicated by the wheat chemical are wiped out by the canola chemical. Plus, they get a canola crop, which is pretty handy, although it sounds like early days for canola production around these parts. He wasn’t sure whether it would have a high oil content, which determines what you get on the market for it. I suggested to him that he was a bit unusual, being young and keeping up the family farm. He was about my age, or a bit older, I suppose. It’s all I know, he said.

* Chris, a very young lad who has lived in Keller for three years with his folks. He works in the abs down in Tammin, as a “floor boy” – sweeping up scraps and skins and keeping the place tidy. Eventually he’ll be promoted to slaughtering. He vaguely knew Jeff, my only other abbatoir friend. Chris drives a late eighties falcon ute. He likes fords. His father is a Vietnam vet.

* Zed. I had first met this feisty lady at the pipeline sweatshop almost two weeks ago. (time is flying, I’m going to be outta here so soon!). Her real name isn’t Zed, its something exotic and a bit gypsy sounding like Zethir but I can’t remember exactly. Zed said that often, on a Friday night, she’s the only woman in the bar for Jag the Joker. One of the reasons for this is that the Pub has “skimpies” on this night only – an alarming phenomenon where the girl behind the bar pouring your beer looks like she’s forgotten to finish getting dressed before coming to work.

Zed likes to hang out and chat with the men. She hates the gossipy, denigrating “ladies conversation” that goes on in the front bar (where there are no skimpies). What do YOU like to talk about? I asked Zed. Oh you know, just ordinary stuff, like we’re talking now.

Zed is a kind of amateur journalist. She is Kellerberrin’s correspondant to the Merredin Mercury newspaper…I think she said they pay her $15 a week, so it’s likely she’s not part of the union. Ah you know, she said, people ask me to write something so I do. I proposed that it must be because she has a “clarity of expression”. She loved that, and thanked me for that phrase. She said that’s exactly what it was.

Not surprisingly, Zed used to be the Keller school librarian. Most probably that’s where her ability to organise information came from. Most of the young folks remember her from this role, and still call her “Mrs B” – the aboriginal kids call her “Mama B”. I should mention that Zed is six foot tall and over seventy.

* Neville. Neville’s an old fellow who is into gardening in a big way. He grows “elephant garlic” which by all accounts is as big as your fist. His beans are coming on, and his cauliflower and broccoli are just starting to form up now. I realised I had probably planted my vegies too late. I made a tentative arrangement with Neville to visit on Monday or Tuesday and get some of his worms (he has an abundance).

2 Responses to “Kellerberrin Saturday 7 May 2005”

  1. bilateral kellerberrin » Kellerberrin Wednesday 11 May 2005 Says:

    […] am About 2pm I went in search of Neville. I’d met Neville at the pub on Friday night during Jag the Joker, and we’d talked gardens and worms. He told me that he had disc […]

  2. bilateral kellerberrin » Kellerberrin Saturday 14 May 2005 Says:

    […] dies at the gallery, and she gave me a bag of wool for the crazy vest-for-the-pipe project last week. With much excitement, Pat has purchased a brand new computer. I was glad to hear this, bec […]

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