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  • It took us some time, a little over a year to bury dad. Partly dysfunctional family, partly being not quite sure of where would be the right place. Then an invitation came for us to go to his school reunion, because they were going to put a photo of him up in the science lab at the high school. It seemed simple then, to bury his ashes in the country town where he grew up. Where the graves of his ancestors were. Where in 200 years time if someone went looking, his name and his connections would be there for all to see.

    The graves of his grandparents are there, and his great grandparents on two sides. Some from the Isle of Man, the others we are still not quite sure about, but who came to this small country town in the 1800s. So there is a sense of history, a sense of belonging here, as much as any non-Aboriginal person can feel they belong in this country.

    His school friends welcomed us and told us stories. I loved the one where the wrong baby was brought to his mother after his birth. She knew straight away that it was the wrong baby, and in a small community hospital they knew where he was and to the relief of the mothers the babies were swapped. The other baby was Norma who was telling us the story. Then there was the story of when he captained the football team and they beat the other country side who were twice their size. I never even knew he played football. We always knew he was good at golf but he was good at cricket as well, apparently, as was his father who had only one eye because he lost the other one in world war 1, but that’s another story.

    The power of stories to bring dad alive again for a time.

    The power of cowbird in providing a way of recording these memories, these stories that tell us of who we are and where we have come from.
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