When is a book launch not a book launch? When the author writes about his family and his upbringing then invites all those, and some, over to lunch to celebrate his parents, their love and tuition, the memory of them and all those (immediate family and others) who had some part in creating his story. Not the written one that is, but the knitted one. The one that binds everyone in a community together. I was very privileged today to have lunch on the family farm of Peter Fitzsimons (here listening to his uncle) and to meet not only family but to chat with people from the Peats Ridge area, be served a cup of tea by a lady wearing a CWA apron (when was the last time that happened? When I was fighting bush fires in Bamawm I think, in 1980!) and to have earnest conversation with old friends I had only just met. As only country folk seem to be able to do. When Peter spoke to the throng (using the elephant as a pulpit) he spoke about family and community and of bonds that sadly we let fray and separate too quickly in our city lives. There was a book signing too but that was not really the gift of this afternoon. Or the point I suspect. Rather, it was about a community fabric that allowed a perfect (actually not so perfect) stranger to be woven into it and to enjoy some of its warmth and love. The duck snuggles in at the foot of the elephant. Fitting somehow.
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