Once a Jolly Thingamabob Camped by a Whatchicallit
Some people, by which I mean whatsisface and whosit, tell me that the lingo used in “Waltzing Matilda” is so antiquated these days as to be meaningless to the average Australian by whom I mean Mr. Abdullah Hizbollah and Mrs. Fatima Talib. To this I say something derogatorily up-to-the-minute and rapier sharp such as “poppycock” or “tally whacker” or one of those “I’m down with that shit” (or is it “I’m down with the shits”) “fly” (house or blow, I must admit I’m not sure) expressions.
But seriously folks, it’s reasonably easy for anybody with half a brain, Donald J. Trump for example, to figure out that a “Matilda” is a “swag”, a “coolibah” is a “billabong” and a “jumbuck” is a male bodily part. A “tucker bag” is of course to anyone with the most rudimentary grasp of 19th century Aussie bush argot, a “bag’’ with “tucker” in it. But truly rooley seriously folks, being a “fair true” and “blue dinkum” kind of a “cove” myself, I am actually sort of touched every time I hear what really should be our national anthem in any fair estimation. As opposed to the dirge–like, couldn’t-inspire-a-fart-out-of-a-draft-horse, guaranteed-to-induce-coma-like-symptoms “Advance Australia Fair”, an uplifting ditty about a suicidal, kleptomaniac, outback hobo phantom who’s not the sharpest tea leaf in the boiling billie is a huge improvement and causes many an antipodean heart to swell with pride. Mine does, and I’m not even mildly kidding, I have no idea why.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “Did you see Misty Rain in ‘Foursome Party in Prague’?. God she was good.” No that’s not what you’re thinking, that’s what I’m thinking. You’re thinking “Why is this idiot banging on about “Waltzing Matilda?” Two reasons (how many? TWO!) 1. To shamelessly fill out and plump up a “Hash Trash” which would otherwise go something like: “First we ran away from the setting sun, then we ran towards it. The end.” 2. Last week’s run commemorated Anzac Day.
Slouch hats orf to Rocks Orf and (no way you’ll guess this: Muddy Man!) for a memorable run indeed. Although quite brief, 5K on the short, it was some of the best scenery we’ve enjoyed recently. Two (TWO!) river crossings as promised were spectacular from all view points both up and down the valleys and guaranteed that we wouldn’t be on in for every bit of an hour at least. The second crossing was Gallipolee-like in its drama. It must have pissed down convincingly up country: what M.M. informed us was a waist high but no-problem traverse was actually a struggle against swift and swirling waters clinging to semi-submerged bamboo and a chain of other Hashers clutching one another’s hands for dear life. It was chin high to me at one point, however, I WAS on a 45 degree angle, legs dangling in the rushing flow at the time.
Hero of the day was Dancing Queen who, with others, stayed on at the crossing to assist damsels in distress. I honestly couldn’t see much point in my hanging around getting underfoot, all things considered, including my vertically challenged situation. I hiked up the never ending flagstone steps, past the school, crossroads and on in to the wantilan ‘round the corner. Muddy Man greeted me grinningly, beer in hand and a mental image of me upending him into the soft drink cooler flashed momentarily before my eyes (kidding, not).
The circle, it was decided, would be held outside the less than perfect acoustics of the wantilan which would discourage Hashers from sitting on the stage area near the beer truck or around the Hash Cash table; a good idea as it turned out that almost worked. There were still lager malingerers though, who joined the circle at their pleasure (you know who you are, lucky you, I can barely remember who I am). But it worked out pretty well, was a good circle and we all got to sing “Waltzing Matilda”, even Swedes and eek, Germans joined in. We mentioned the war but we think we got away with it.
Hungarians and Norwegians grabbed their jolly jumbucks with glee and shoved them lustily into their tucker bags. It was an inernational coolibah and swag fest that was nothing short of stirring. What is it with that song? Certainly more than the sum of its parts, that’s for sure whether it’s Slim Dusty, Rod Stewart or Tom Waits singing it there is something unaccountably touching and engaging about it. Screw “Advance Australia Fair”. I’ve never heard Rod Stewart’s version of that.