Story telling from Australia
I don’t cut the lawn because Clyde doesn’t have a lawnmower. Besides, I’d be doing Joe out of a job. Joe cuts the lawn, has done for years, and he stops for coffee if he’s got time. ‘I’m driving to Mildura,’ I told Joe last week. ‘Watch out for kangaroos if you’re driving in the dark,’ he said.
Joe used to drive a truck delivering mail and groceries to Wilcannia and White Cliffs, always at night. ‘It was cooler then, less traffic. Kangaroos were the only problem,’ he said.
Clyde warned me about kangaroos when I moved to Broken Hill. ‘They feed at night,’ he said. ‘If a kangaroo hops in front of the car don’t swerve and don’t brake. That’s how rollovers happen. Hit it if you have to.’
I dread the thought. I apologise if I kill a fly, relocate snails in the hope they’ll find somewhere more appealing than my strawberry bed and I haven’t eaten meat for 35 years.
‘First time I hit a kangaroo I stopped and cleaned it off,’ said Joe. ‘It takes a lot to stop a semi-trailer then set off again, throws the schedule if you do it too often.’ Which is why, Joe explained, he didn’t stop again on this particular two-hour journey from Broken Hill to Wilcannia, even though 35 kangaroos hit the front of the truck. ‘Worst thing was the smell,’ he said. ‘Couldn’t get it out of the radiator for weeks.’ He drained his mug of coffee and left it in the sink. ‘See you in a fortnight,’ he said.
That’s why I don’t drive at night.