I believe people are influenced by their childhood. The way you are raised is ultimately what shapes you into your adulthood.
I look back on my childhood and feel nothing but happy memories. Sure, my smart ass mouth got me into a lot of trouble but I would not have had it any other way. People often turn their nose up at country kids from a small town. If you disagree with this statement then you are probably one of those people, sorry.
Let me ask you, have you ever lived in a small town?
I could not imagine living in a place where you aren’t stopped in the street for a chat. What would life be like if no-one tipped their hats at you with a grin and a quick ‘how ya goin’? Where would I be without the locals whose 3 seconds can make my entire day?
I was born at the Gold Coast but you won’t find much city in me.
I was raised amongst manure and mulberries under the Pine trees.
I remember racing out at the crack of dawn, chasing my pop’s heels into the back paddocks where the mulberry trees stood proud. I remember the purple stains that use to agonise my mother when I returned hours later, with a pain in my stomach but a smile on my face. Kira, my loveable protector, always my shadow. She would follow me anywhere. That dog was my best friend. We would run out to the horses together at feeding time. I can still hear her excited barks as I sung out for the four legged; the sound of hooves erupting from the back paddocks, driven by the hunger for fresh lucerne.
You can live in a house but that doesn’t make it a home. A home is what you see when you close your eyes. I can see it… smell it.. I can hear the familiar calling of Joey, our cockatoo, as she sings a tune to the setting sun.
We moved to Stanthorpe when I was just shy of 5. We lived with my grandparents for several years whilst our house was being built. I remember the smell of porridge and Budgie’s chirps waking me up. They were my alarms to signal a new day.
Growing up, there was never a day I wasn’t outside. I was either playing explorer with Kira, wrestling Star for cuddles or stuffing my face in Pop’s garden. I remember one time my brother was only 2 or 3 and he was in big trouble for eating all of the cherry tomatoes. I think it’s safe to admit now, thanks for taking one for the team Coops. I definitely couldn’t afford another strike against my name. In actual fact, I don’t even think I gave you one.
The beautiful chestnut girls were always there. Filly and Baby; the noble mares of the Thomson residence. Baby; always the cheeky child of the pack. Filly; always the caring mother. Star; the adventurous black blur who was always on his own mission.
I grew up with many animals and each one had their purpose. Pinto my guinea pig was the one who helped me relax. We would lay in the lounge room, watching movie after movie. I think we watched Black Beauty about a thousand times. Pinto probably knew all of the lines.
Snazzy, our trusted cockatiel, was always there to remind me to keep my hands to myself. He was one pet I could not wrestle into a hug; no matter how many times I tried he would not have a kid touch him.
Shadow, my aunt’s dog, forever digging up rocks. Our porch was always lined with her granite findings. She was never too far away, often asleep after her bursts of hard work.
Cashmere, my mother’s calm sidekick. She watched over me as a baby. I remember the hole it left when she had to give up her fight. Screw you cancer. It felt like losing an older sister. Love you Cash.
And then there was Pluto and Kira. If Romeo and Juliet had of been dogs, it would have been these two. The ultimate dynamic duo. Always together. They played together, slept together and even ate together. I have never seen dogs share food. To this day, they are the only pair of dogs I have ever seen share a bone. Pluto was my Pop’s dog. He was the protector of the whole property and he knew it. Kira on the other hand focused all of her attention on me. There are so many more pets who have shaped me, but these were the animals of the generation featured in these photographs. I have so much love for each and every of them. Ohana.
Yeah we might not have fancy shops. We might not have big high rises. But our views are found in other places. Have you ever climbed granite to the very peak? Have you had your heart pumping as you climb the rock face? If you haven’t you really really need to. We have dams not beaches. But they are just as much fun. We don’t have theme parks. We get our thrills from bush bashing.
I honestly could not see myself anywhere but the country. I am so so lucky to have grown up the way I did. They say everyone has at least one regret from their childhood. Well, I don’t regret anything. Not a damn thing.
Here’s to the country bumpkins.