Life, Death and Tragic Music…

15th June 2011

Well so much for the best laid plans……the universe apparently hijacked my journal.

My blog was all there on a thumb drive from the Wednesday at the cafe, and then, disappeared!  

So I tell myself “Let that be a lesson to you.”  Save onto the computer as well as the little thumb drive!   Ironically, it’s the first time I ever worked completely off (or onto) a thumbdrive, but was trying to be more portable (and clever!) about working between the laptop at the café and my pc at home and having lots of half completed files spread between them.   Guess being too clever can be a problem as well.   (smiles)

Maybe it disappeared into the cracks of the green couch, or between floorboards, or…. Maybe Mary disapproved of my thoughts for that week….and removed the whole drive.  I had been immersed in deep thoughts about death and dying, so maybe the missing blog is but a gentle hint that I was on the wrong track with my thoughts. 

A death in our immediate family has left me pondering the subject, the elusive nature of life and the mystery of the spirit and life beyond.   I have my beliefs formed over many decades of listening and seeing beyond the physical, of realizing there is more to just about everything in life (and death), than meets the eye.    Mary certainly would agree with me on that, and then some.   After all, beyond the Hollywood definition of ghosts, it really is about energy, and the connections between the soul and the source, and the souls’ journey through space and time…. These energy bonds are not so much about haunting a building but communicating and connecting with people from the other side, just as a radio transmitter connects via radio waves to the various receivers.   I have felt this time after time, but most recently in the past few weeks.  Within hours of the shock passing of someone who had been in my life, and my family’s life, for a very long time, I stood on the verandah of his home, in the early hours of the morning, still reeling with the chaos of such a sudden ending.   I felt the night wind in my face, and the roar of the ocean in my ears.   “Where are you?” I asked quietly, from the depths of my confusion and turmoil to the serenity of the universe.

“I am everywhere” came the reply.   And so I believed.

At the funeral of my brother in law, I was moved by the turnout of people from so many different demographics.   As I sat there, feeling the deep shock and numbness of unexpected loss all around me, and supporting the loved ones beside me, I could not help but be moved by the sight of all these people – REAL people – who had come together to honour this humble, seemingly ordinary man who had touched their lives in countless ways.   In all the tears, the broken faces and shuffling footsteps, an image arose, strong and true, that I was witnessing something more, a lesson to consider. 

How do we measure the success of a life?  What marks or heralds us as having a successful life?   Is it the physical good looks or beauty we have displayed?  Is it in the power we have attained, or the wealth and riches we have acquired?  Is it even in the work we have done or the fame and glory we might have been granted?   No.   The answer was there before me – the sign of a truly great life – was in this gathering of REAL people whose lives had been touched by one man’s journey, a life that had inspired them in some way – great or small, or given them something that they could take away with them and cherish for the rest of their lives, be it stories, smiles, laughter, tears and memories.  It was who he was, the human essence of self, that in living, had created in others a seed of shared humanity that would see him continue to “be”, even though he was no longer physically there.  So in that moment I too felt inspired that perhaps all any of us had to aspire to in this life, was simply to be a good person, to love and BE OURSELVES, and to share kindness, laughter, tears and stories with those who touched upon our lives.    And leave behind us a trail of our humanity.    It was for me, a beautiful experience to see a life so truly acknowledged that more than tears, the day became about laughter and appreciation and a celebration of the humble man who was no longer with us in the physical sense.   As we went on to share a meal and drinks at a local hotel, the symbolism of a wake also seemed so powerful – like the waves behind a powerful boat – one life moved away from us at a speed we could not keep up with, and the love and laughter, tears, stories and memories rose and surged, racing along behind his passing like a guard of honour and love.

Of course, I had spent a good part of that Wednesday in the café  sharing bad jokes with staff and customers about the music playing in the tearooms.  That could also have offended someone “out there” – the spirit of fifties music perhaps?   And that too, may have caused my journal to disappear….

“Hoop de doo, hoop de doo, I hear a polka and my troubles are through!”   What can I say?   The music of Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney…… classics from my parent’s era drift around the tearooms constantly.  Most times it is background music but every now and then it seems to burst through to the conscious mind, demanding attention, and either has you cringing, laughing or singing along.  

“It’s tragic!” says Brenda with a straight face that hides a tongue in cheek smile behind the words.   “This music is tragic”….and we all burst out laughing.   It’s so old and yet quaint that somehow it brings forth smiles, or comments like “… I remember that music from……” or  “What movie was that in?”  … or the staff burst into song at odd moments along with the old tunes.  But somehow it seems to fit the old world feel of the Tearooms.  It is “vintage!”  I can almost hear the scratchy sound of an old wireless radio crackling in the corner and expect to hear the ABC/BBC news erupting in sober tones between songs……

And in keeping with the music, some classic pearls from the café patrons…..

Roses are red

Violets are purple.

Sugar is sweet,

And so is maple surple.


Mary had a little lamb

Its fleece was black as soot,

And into Mary’s home made jam

His sooty foot he put….


(My lovely Grandma Daisy taught me this – Daisy Riley 1899-1995)

Ps  I just can’t write the one my Dad taught me!!!



(why not Celia?  LOL)


 Ahh – that brought back wonderful memories for me of my own Grandmother from the same era, who also shared that particular poem, and many others that were such fun to myself and the other grandkids.   It does make me wonder now we have, or will one day have, our own grandchildren, just what poems and jokes will we leave with them?

Here I will add one that my Grandmother and also my Dad used to tell us when we were little…..

“The lightning flashed,

The thunder roared

And all the world was shaken.

The little pig

Curled up his tail,

And ran to save his bacon”



More inspirations and thoughts from our Café patrons over the week…

When you’re sitting by the sea

There’s nothing like a cup of tea

A cosy fire, a luscious cake,

With poetry does me happy make.

(Mary  9th June 2011)

Ps why don’t you advertise your poetry sessions at Tom Collins House in Swanbourne,Perth?

What a wonderful café!

First vintage clothing

And now a vintage tearoom!




“In the beginning God made man – after that there were a lot of mistakes.”

(Dan:  9th June in the year of our lord 2011)


Hah! Dan…and I thought that first one was the draft only before He perfected the plan.  LOL

There once were three girls going campin’

They had their boots ready for trampin’

They packed up the car,

They were goin’ so far,

Lots of eatin’ and walkin’ and snorklin’!!


(17th June 2011 lunch break during final shopping day for a BIG five week trip up North)


Hey Girls…..that sounds like a dream trip.  Hope you have fun and drop back into the Café to share some stories upon your return!


After 18 years cancer has sprouted anew.

Now it has a companion on the other eyelid.

I am resting after the biopsies.

Resting until I need to arrange

for new eyelids, cancer free,

and have some more creative priorities.


Friendly women’s chat,

All I hear is the burble,

Business instructions – close by –

This is when I paid the wages –

Paid on Monday.

The student makes notes.

Did you just circle that?

I did.

Before me is the circle

Of coffee foam with a

Curvy leaf drawn…



It never fails to move me at the very human stories that pass through the tearooms … the stories on their way somewhere that simply pause to take in a bit more of life amid a little self kindness over a cup of tea or coffee.   To the person who sat pondering these things, I wish I could have shared that circle with you, but I see that you are a poet and appreciator of the little things that make up the grandness of life.  I wish you wellbeing and more gentle moments of self reflection and indulgence at the tearooms…..


Ahh!  Here I sit as I gaze with witless renoun (sic)

Thereupon the traffic as it glides past the window,

Window to the soul,

Soul of life.


Gazing at the eagles,

The eagle eyed parrot,

Hovering, gliding,

Muffin with knife,

Sand beach,

Glazed turkey.

Here I sit,

Afore I continue on my journey…

(T Ronald  9th June 2011)



Aaah indeed.  Those precious moments of self reflection, just sitting in the moment and watching life unfold around you, with your self at the heart, a silent witness … all in the comfort of a loving energy filled space like this little café.    We should all make ourselves do such things on a regular basis so that we get to know our own life better and appreciate our place in it with greater acceptance.

I know I do.   (smiles)


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