This post is for J on his birthday. 

To J I owe so many debts. Four children for a start, culminating in four grandchildren and a year in Warsaw – his idea. But there have been many other debts over the years. Let me list the things I owe him for, in no particular order.

A move from an academic life in the city to the life of an almost-hippy and market gardener in the bush.

Conversations over nearly fifty years about poetry, literature, philosophy, language and languages, politics, and any other subject you can think of, which shaped my views in all these fields.

Camping in off-the-beaten-track places – by waterfalls, in rainforest, in the bush and in the desert, even in quarries and tips and beside busy roads.

A series of passions: rainforest, orchids, shells, rocks, boats, and most recently the trees of Warsaw in spring.

A near vegan diet.

A separation that enabled me to live in Broken Hill find out many thing about myself and my capacities.

A six day hike in the wilderness on the NSW / Victorian border and many other shorter walks in wild country.
And there are so many things I admire.

His physical strength and stamina.

His intentional and unconventional life.

His capacity to focus on whatever interests him at the moment with a devotion I could never hope to emulate: learning Polish, building a relationship with Maja and Jaś, constructing a boat or a domed garden, studying mathematics.

His adventurous spirit: he’s rowed a boat up the Murray River, walked around the rim of Mt Warning, sailed across Moreton Bay in a howling gale on his maiden voyage, cycled through Victoria.
When he was a young man he wanted to know everything. He would argue with me, but I reckon he’s come close!
Happy birthday, intermittent companion of 50 years.

About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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22 Responses to Debts

  1. quollgirl says:

    Tell the old bastard happy birthday. The phones refuse still to talk to each other by text. There is money in his account, some of which is for offences against your kindle. Rex says to say happy birthday to Patrick White xxxx


    • Thank you!! R and mob just came over with a chocolate cake with one candle, and J acquired cheeky chocolate chops in appreciation and for their amusement. I’ll send you the photo less publicly. We baby sat last night and shared a midnight vodka ( with R and M, not Maja and Jaś) to let the wild rumpus begin!


  2. restlessjo says:

    The reply before mine made me laugh out loud. But quietly because my head’s fragile after the Girls. Calamity! Laptop won’t start this morning. Where is J when I need him? No more Restlessjo…. What a wonderful tribute to him xx


    • You’ve pinpointed one area of J’s inexpertise: he’d be no help with a laptop. In case you didn’t realise, quollgirl is our eldest daughter. I hope the girls’ night was worth every aftermath!


  3. Sarah says:

    Awesome tribute. With no idea how to communicate a ‘yadhtrib yapph’ except via you, I trouble you to please pass along felicitations! Thank you. Xxxx. Have been enjoying your blog and the gorgeous photos! Big hugs to you both. PS Jim Zaris had a massive heart attack last week and died, went to the funeral in Narooma.


    • I was pretty dopey after a late night last night, and it took me a while to register your identity, and even longer to decipher happy birthday! I’d never heard Jim’s surname, so that added to the mystification. Yet another up-river loss. Thanks for birthday greetings. xx


  4. Rosemary Barnard says:

    Happy Birthday J. Celebrate in style and many happy returns. I haven’t seen you for more than 30 years, but I have enjoyed hearing from Meg about all the adventures you have shared, one way and another. I particularly admire your tenacity in learning Polish and your intimate knowledge of the Australian bush and its ways in the area in which you normally live.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tish Farrell says:

    The makings of a good life well celebrated by LIVING it. Congrats all round.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lucid Gypsy says:

    He sounds like a darling to me and a keeper 😉
    Also as a Gemini he’s bound to want to know everything. Happy Birthday to J and I hope you both enjoy celebrating x:-)x


  7. Heyjude says:

    What a truly delightful post – he must be dead chuffed or totally embarrassed 😉 And I think he is very lucky to have YOU in his life all these years – you are obviously very good friends and spur each other on. No regrets. xx


  8. freebutfun says:

    Sounds like a life it is good to look back at! Congratulations from me too☺


  9. pommepal says:

    Best wishes to J may the next year continue to be filled with passions and discoveries for you both. It sounds a perfect partnership, allowing time apart when necessary and sharing so much together. As Gilly says, definitely a keeper…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. desleyjane says:

    Wonderful. Happy birthday to J.

    Liked by 1 person

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