This weekend marked three years without my father, Billy. In a combination of coincidence and homage I found myself in my old hometown of Euroa. Every visit evokes memories of days past, the streets full of ghosts, each crossroad has a memory if I search deep enough into the recesses of my mind.
Sometimes the memories find you.
As was the case when I arrived in town. I checked out the shops. Looked at what had changed, what had stayed the same. Checked out the real estate agents, might be buying there soon. Checked out the price of fruit and veggies, still a rip off.
I marvelled at the autumnal golden hour light dappling through the maple leaves of the trees lining the main street. I wondered if the Mawson’s would end up owning the entire street. They already owned the post office, newsagents and bakery. Good on them, they work hard for it.
I wondered whether dinner would be had at Flam Shams, the Jumping Jumbuck or whether to grab fish and chips from the Cherry Tree. I could smell the smoke from the fireplaces being fired up for the first time this autumn, the cloud hanging low over the Strathbogie ranges was a reminder that the season was turning cold.
It was indeed turning cold.
Time to get home, put the heater on and see what’s news. I go to turn right at Railway St, when I realise I shouldn’t be turning right. My bed was left, it was at the Jolly Swagman not at Charman Avenue, not at dad’s, not at my childhood home. He was no longer there, it was no longer my home.
I had taken myself back to a previous life and the cold reality that life was no longer there, no longer mine, it left me numb. Life slaps you in the face sometimes. This time it was a much needed and welcomed wake up call.
The ghosts of past and present had tricked me. Time to build a new reality.