Chapter 2 Written / Published 30.6./2.7.17 (Pics by author, unless indicated)
Please note, events in this chapter predate those of the first chapter. A short trip takes us into outback Australia, where a job had to be done.
Back home, more spelling errors and a prominent Catholic clergyman in the firing line. Anyone for truth?
2. Fregon 750 L1
There are two little booklets that I follow, reading a biblical thought every day. Regular readers are aware of this. Over the years, among many chapters in my autobiography, the Word for Today by Bob Gass and Our Daily Bread has provided much food for thoughts, both spiritual and at times quirky.
Following chapter one's serious ending, let me begin this one on a more light-hearted tone. It involves the Word for Today and Our Daily Bread. The headlines in both booklets for Saturday 1st July 2017, the day of launching this Book 16, made me smile. To fully appreciate the humour, a brief explanation:
Now take a look at the headings in those two daily scripture readings for Saturday 1/7/17:
You are called to a 'Special Work'
Cleaning House (THE JOB 20).
Doesn't God have a good sense of humour? Love it!
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During the week leading up to Easter in 2017 there was opportunity to join a small group from church for an exciting trip into the Australian outback. It wasn't a holiday; a job needed to be done. A few days later I was indeed standing beside No.20, who did some heavy lifting with me.
But let's start at the beginning, Saturday April 8th, the day I had to rise very early in the morning. The time on the clock radio showed 5.07 AM. Please note digits 5 & 7. They kept cropping up unexpectedly, almost driving me crazy for a few days.
There were seven of us, the experienced leader and his wife, two young ladies, a couple around my age and myself. Our destination was the APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) lands, a large remote aboriginal reserve in South Australia's north west corner. The purpose of the 5 day expedition was to transport goods to Fregon, one of the settlements in the 40 000 square kilometer reserve.
Our large truck, proudly displaying the red shield emblem above the cabin, was laden to the last square inch. My job was mostly loading, unloading and distributing the goods, but I also got a little practice driving the heavy vehicle.
Later that afternoon, during a prolonged stop, I got talking to a lady. I thought I had gone nuts, as she mentioned that her husband had undergone 7 hernia operations in 5 years.
After a major delay to do with our load, our convoy arrived very late at our first overnight stop in Coober Pedy. We had travelled north on the A1, before joining the A 87, covering about 850 kilometers on that first day.
There were other visitors participating in the church service that day. One was Kathy from Chicago/USA. She was busy taking photos, as I was. At the conclusion the Minister invited anyone to join in a tour of his unique church and his 'house' adjacent to the main hall. All of course underground. Attached to a wall I spotted and photographed this picture:
A Rembrandt, Van Gogh or Monet?
About 40 kilometers north of Marla, after turning off the bitumen, we crossed the railway line Adelaide to Alice Springs and Darwin. From there onwards we travelled the longest dirt road I had ever been on. It was about 160 kilometers, but felt like 1000. I thought it would never end. Sitting in the passenger seat of the Hino became very tiring. We stopped twice (see picture early in the chapter) to change seating from the Hino truck to the Kia Carnival passenger van, another vehicle in our group.
One feature on that road was hard to overlook - car wrecks. It was incredible, how many rusted car bodies lay left abandoned on the side of that road. Had I counted them, I'm sure, there would have been 750. (Just joking!)
We arrived early in the afternoon at Fregon. It felt like we had come to a foreign country. Everything was so different to that of white Europeans. Yet, the people seemed happy. Fregon, our leader told us, had among them a strong, active Christian community.
There was barely time for lunch and it took us all afternoon to unpack our goods and prepare them for sale. Small electrical stuff and clothing was sold inside the youth center hall. To unload furniture had to wait until the next day. These items were sold straight off the truck outside.
Clothing and small electrical items were also eagerly sought after. All clothing sold for $ 1 a piece, which made accounting a little easier. I almost got into trouble selling a double bed and mattress (Pic. below). Unknown to me, it had already been sold. But the lady, who had wanted it was very gracious. It ended all good.
Before we opened the door to the hall for the sale to start, a local indigenous man spoke to the anxiously waiting crowd outside. I could not understand his language. At one point, he must have changed from speaking to praying. I only knew, because some people were bowing their heads. His prayer went on for a long, long time. Everyone understood and welcomed the Amen!
The Fregon annual Salvo's sale was over in a couple of hours. We were packed and gone another couple of hours later. After experiencing how the others live, one really appreciates their own home.
During April/May/June 2017 I paused my writing online. This didn't mean that I was not regularly updating my diary. As I browse through the pages I come across many entries, where things didn't add up, so I cut them out and pasted them in.
On April 15th, Easter Saturday, the A-League season was nearing it's conclusion. In 2016/17, unfortunately, our Adelaide United (AUFC) did not have a good season. Champions the year before, they only just managed to avoid the wooden spoon.
That Saturday AUFC drew 2:2 with the team they beat the previous season in the grand final, Western Sydney Wanderers. That evening I met up with my old friend Geoff, the one whose favourite number is 2. (That's why I entered into my diary that he sat in seat 222, planned or just fluke?) Before the match Geoff handed me a program booklet.
Inside was a little puzzle, possibly aimed at children to keep them amused during the game. If so, the spelling error in that puzzle - two pictures, spot the difference - was not a good example to school children. Take a look:
CAN YOU SPOT FIVE DIFFERENCES BEWTEEN THESE IMAGES?
A few pages further on in my diary I pasted a record of a spelling error. One would think that with spell check technology spelling errors would be a rarity these days, especially in a professional letter. Yet, I saw it, smiled, cut it out and pasted it into my diary.
The correspondence from this charity arrived in my mailbox not long after Easter in 2017. Obviously, it was just an uncorrected typing error, one wrong letter in the very first word after the heading: Take a look:
In recent years I rarely read newspapers. When my wife brings one home I may casually glance at the headlines. One day I felt compelled to read an article by an expert in politics, and promptly discovered another typing (or printing) error.
To fully understand why this one took me by surprise, let me first show a cartoon from a thirty year-old magazine. I had come across it, cleaning out an old cupboard. The cartoon depicts a young child, obviously learning the alphabet at school, pointing to a black board. The teacher is looking on.
The joke was from Page 15 in a quarterly magazine, High Adventure, winter 1986, of the Royal Rangers youth program of the Assemblies of God. The word Cowpoke, meaning cowboy in America, reveals where it was printed.
But it was not the joke, but the letter C which took me in. Fresh in my mind was my preoccupation with the typing error in our daily newspaper, the Adelaide Advertiser. The mistake was simple, the letter C. Take a look:
Adelaide Advertiser, 26/4/17, Page 20
May I suggest to the gentleman, not only politicians need honesty in their profession. What about business, police, the judiciary or simply the ordinary citizen. We have abandoned the truth and people are moving further and further away from HIM, who said HE is the truth?
How simple is this grass root solution? Teach children the ninth commandment, Thou shalt not lie. And when they do, punish them appropriately. If they do good, reward them. They learn at an early age that telling the truth has far better outcomes than lies. Nothing is more valuable than a clear conscience.
There is a brief entry in my diary, a segment I watched on breakfast television on 29.4.17, at 7.33 am. It illustrates how far society has abandoned the Ten Commandments and lives by its own rules. Doing right is no longer rewarded; but being smart, even when it involves doing wrong, often is. Here is the case of a deception and the praise it received on national television:
As I write the world's news is filled with the shock announcement by Victoria Police that Cardinal George Pell has been charged with sexual abuse allegations, dating back decades. The media love it. One news item* claimed the Cardinal was trying to crowd fund his legal fees, estimated in the hundreds of thousands of Dollars.
*Channel Seven Sunrise, 2/7/17, 7 AM News.
In my friend Peter Liddy's case lawyers took $ 700 000 or more, and achieved nothing. He still received a 25-year jail term. In the end, as I see it, it's the Cardinal's word against that of his accusers. To prove, without any doubt, innocence or guilt after so many years would be near impossible. Sounds like Mr. Pell's lawyers are preparing not for a picnic, but a banquet.
A fat headline in the Adelaide Advertiser (1/7/17 - Page 4) reads as follows: "Give me my day in court, says defiant Cardinal". Mr. Pell has indicated he will travel to Australia to face the charges. He looks forward to have his day in court to clear his name.
Let's examine the word defiant! Microsoft Word lists a few synonyms for the word defiant. Among them disobedient, rebellious, insubordinate. English is my second language, but I know it well enough that the Cardinal's reaction, looking forward to clear his name etc, can't be described as disobedient, rebellious, insubordinate.
An antonym (the opposite) to defiant is listed as compliant. Wouldn't this fit the Cardinal's response far better? He is willing to travel to court etc. Doesn't defiant has the connotation - he's guilty, but won't admit it!?
Even if he were guilty of the charges, it's not for a journalist to use misleading adverbs, to subtly influence public opinion. As Dean Jaensch says: We had enough of that!
It looks like the Pell case, as was that of Peter Liddy, will not only be a lawyer's banquet, but also a trial by media, inferring guilt before even the first day of court!
Friends, God knows every human heart, every motive, every thought. Whatever the outcome of this case, God knows the truth. All involved, including the Cardinal himself, will one day stand before God to give account of all their deeds, be they good or bad.
All men and women need to turn away from evil and embrace and follow the Saviour. Why walk in darkness? Why choose death and not life?
So choose life in order that you may live.