It didn't take Sue and I long to switch to "Yamba Time". Advised to do so by the town clock which sits prominently in Coldstream St, we see no reason not to adapt quickly to our surroundings whilst others make plans and and set schedules. Therefore, we rose early which I must admit was a perverse way to buck the system.
By the time we were presentable, we could walk into Pippi's, a cafe restaurant just a stagger from home. As the sun streamed in through the walls of glass, we dined on fresh fruit and scrambled eggs and redefined lavish. Stepping out into the still crisp morning air, we walked the hundred metres to the descent onto Main Beach, noting changes and improvements to the access path which brings you out above the ocean pool at point, that with imagination, was within hearing distance of Mandy & Joel's wedding ceremony just four years ago. What a day that was. Like every turn, tree, corner or blade of grass, their wedding added to the pantheon of memories which swirled first about the Gibbens clan here in the first half of the 1970's and have been added to and extended to include our children and soon grandchildren.
The stories are told and retold in the tradition of grand oral history. My children now point to the markers and retell the history. It's the core of families who invest time in the past so that fertile futures can be revealed.
We stepped out past the surf life saving club and Sue added another memory of her time as a Nipper. The large storage area under the clubhouse where she remembered having the privilege of shower access, is in the process of rebuilding after a fire destroyed equipment of the clubbies trade six months ago. From here, we made the slow and steep climb up the path to the Pacific Hotel, perhaps Yamba's most recognisable icon. Still at a lowered ebb thanks to the cold and sinus infections which have dogged me for a couple of months, it was slow going.
We dropped in on Rose, Judy and Rachael in their unit a few doors along from the pub. They have the million dollar view this year.
From here, I surprised us both by managing to continue to the lighthouse, down the stairs to Turner's Beach and then return home via the town centre and the heart attack inducing hill which is Convent Lane.
Sue quickly had the wetsuit zipped and was gone to the beach, whilst I spent an hour writing my final report on West Indies and India's 2nd Test draw. I joined her and most of the family members down at the beach for coffee and the inevitable cross tangle of conversations which make these events fabulous fun. Its so easy to feel safe with these people who accepted me long before I accepted myself.
As tradition dictates, we spent time how we wished in our separate pursuits during the afternoon. Ours was spent on the frivolous wasting of time that normal life frowns on and actively prevents with its schedules and meetings and commitments. Somewhere there we shopped for groceries, spending too much and caring too little but I remember more our two up conversation, the taste of the sweet tea and the juicy oranges. Mostly I remember watching Sue's eyes laugh and hearing those deep, contented breaths slowly sucked in to finish long good thoughts.
We'll gather again tonight.
For photos of the day, catch the slide show to the right.