Friday, 7 May 2010

Ladies Man.

Ozzie Harris was an odd little bloke, small and wiry, maybe late sixties, who lived with his brother and sister-in-law in what may have been the last surviving stucco house in Wollombi. Built in the late 1800s, it sat among trees on the town side of Narone Creek Bridge.

With abundant energy and little to do, Oz could be seen wandering about looking for a chat. Often, when you were outside, he would appear, wide smile and cheery greeting to stay for a few minutes or longer, wandering through his mind and yours for as long as you liked. Comments on the weather came first, the price of cattle followed then on to anything else that cropped up. But he always ended by offering his help.

Anyone could expect the occasional visit but women received more visits than average. Sally often mentioned that Oz had called but never hinted at anything untoward, in fact she found him ‘sweet’ and certainly 'non-threatening’.
I agreed with her, but suspected he had hopes.

So, as I was told later, when a youngish woman moved into a small cottage a hundred metres away just over the bridge, Ozzie called in to make sure she was OK.
Over the months, his help was offered and accepted until he was chopping her wood, attending her garden and helping wherever he could. She became dependant on his generosity and he felt the obligation her apparent helplessness engendered.

It was said she needed substances to face her demons and maybe that provided the last link to complete this tragedy. So, as shadows lengthened, she retreated inside to begin her routine that insulated against whatever ghosts shared her existence.

Late on that fateful day, it was also said, Ozzie remembered his promise to cut her some firewood. So, as light was fading, he grabbed his axe and hurried across the bridge to attack the wood pile before all warmth left the lowlands, which it did as soon as the sun climbed away up the hillsides. Tragically, his lateness and two ‘it was saids’ converged to end one life, ruin another and shock scores.

Inside the house, night was close. Lamps were lit, and the dog had settled in by the newly kindled fire. Spooked by the dog’s frantic barking, she grabbed her rifle and joined him at the door. Of course the dog knew Oz and had his tail been wagging, the outcome might have been different. But her dog heard only the squeak of gate hinges and it was the wrong time of day.

Through the glass and against fading light, all she could see was the silhouette of a man hurrying towards her, axe in hand. Fear, confusion and maybe a little substance induced paranoia tightened her finger and the gun fired, bursting apart the big heart of her only friend in town.



    Imagination and anticipation ' All Fired Up '
    I am going for a little ' Misty Morning Drive'
    to ' Wonderful Wollombi ' next week...

    Will think of, Dan, Ozzie,Cows, Craggy Nooks, Soil Scents,Tomatoes, Corn ,Open Fires and the Old Pioneers,( some of whom were related to little ole me )
    WOW !
    T'will be such a pleasure

    To ' fOlloW in YoUr gUmBoOt FoOtPrInTs ' ..

    A 'Long Time Dreamer', languishing in the 'Old Jungle Juice Pub ', sippin some ting '..
    Soaking up the ' Wonderful Wollombi Ambience'.


  2. That is so tragic Stafford, making a great tale though. I want to know what happened to her?

  3. Thanks both of you and Gabrielle, I will do a bit of sleuthing and if I find out more, I will Post it. I was told she went as mysteriously as she came.

  4. Butterfly, While you are there, drive out towards Cessnock and just past the cemetry and the mill pond there is a tiny cottage on the left, the last one before the bridge. A story is coming up about that. Also, between Laguna and Wollombi on the left is Laguna House, 1834. Worth a look. Of course the village itself has some wonderful stone buildings and if you go into the Anglican (Blacket) Church, see the record flood level marked on the wall!

  5. Bin there ..Done That
    Coffee Shop and Little Chat.
    Memories, legends,
    Stirring morning air,
    Dan and all your ' Memories '
    On the breeze' Rufflin My Hair '

    Will go again Dear Stafford
    More for another day
    The ' Fair ' just round the corner
    Another Coffee!
    ' Down Wollombi Way ' ..

  6. Robeeeena (was that the acceptable number of e's?) I have seen some of your poetry and really, you should start blogging so we can all read it!

  7. Thank you for your suggestion Stafford..
    Perhaps one of these days, I may get the urge..

    Meanwhile I am having so much fun watching you climb that seamingly illusive, ever decreasing literary mountain..

    Keep on keeping on please or Robeeeeeena may loose her ' ee's '..


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