At The Top Of The Hill

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There’s a spot that you reach which is just about halfway between Adelaide and Renmark called Accommodation Hill. As you weave your way around the windy bends after Truro you come out of the last bend at the top of the hill. My mother always says that she arrived at that hill as a teenager from the city and decided she was heading to nowhere. Where am I going? There’s nothing?

For me, and now for the little travellers, reaching that hill is the first sign that we’ve got the city behind us and we’re closer to home.

I was interviewed yesterday for the ABC, the very first question was what it meant to be here. What does this area mean to you?

It’s home. I was born here, this is where I’m from.

I guess technically the real answer is that this was my first home. One of many homes.

Only moment before the interviewer had arrived I’d walked into a very empty Renmark Club. The club with the million dollar view is newly renovated and enormous. As I wandered by the barman he asked if he could help me, his voice almost echoed in the expanse of empty tables and chairs.

“I’m looking for someone.”

“Well, here I am.” he said with a wink.

I smiled and said I’d just check around the corner to see if she was outside. I walked to the end of the room, turned back and made my way back again. I looked out across the water, thought about how much the club had changed in 20 years and then chose a table, out of the 50 or more empty ones, in the middle of the room, by myself.

“That one’s taken!” yelled the barman.

And then we all laughed, me, him, the workman (a guy from school) and someone in the kitchen.

I looked ridiculous. One hundred empty chairs and me in the middle of the room.

Being raised in the country is a privilege I haven’t been able to provide my children. I offer them glimpses, slithers of life, they are now the visitors I felt sorry for as a child. Kids from elsewhere who don’t know or understand what it’s like to grow up by the river.

Maybe I gave the wrong answer when I said this is home. Maybe what I should have said is that this is my core, my starting point. That this is what makes me me.

A feeling when you reach the top of the hill.

 

Seasons greetings to everyone, wherever you may be, in whichever home you choose. xx

 

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