On the passing of my brother in 2014

Ode to Pete


Come, bid me farewell as I head out to sea
I’m off to another reunion
The horizon beyond is calling to me
The ocean my perfect seclusion.

Well here we are, it’s the time we all feared
I’m sorry I’m not up to greet you
But I realised there’s somewhere else I need to be.
Yes, it’s fitting we share a few mem’ries and tears
But I swear that my time here was plenty for two
So there’s no need to pine over me.

I built skateboards, caravans, and billy carts
And we’d steer them down Kings Road Vaucluse
We’d cycle to swim down in Alf Vockler’s baths
And we’d sail Manly Juniors there too.

We chased Mr Whippy for Gluggs and ice-cream
Got banned from St Peters and the Cubs
Not much study was done at old Grammar School
Banned from Alf’s as well, had no worries it seemed
Perisher, Palmy, and Vaucluse Yacht Club
Life flourished with very few rules.

Our home in Woollahra, where we became men
And many a party was held there
These years were defined by a new regimen
South West Rocks formed the means to repair.

As a teenager, I took to the surf
Saving lives became my summer sport
Fantastic for picking up girls I might add
So Palm Beach became my default summer turf
I relished these times, such a fabulous rort
Yet much more joy was still to be had.

From that skinny kid at the Vaucluse Yacht Club
To Cavalier and African Queen
We’ve come quite a way from the old Grammar tubs
Please take good care of What Boat? for me.
 
Bid me farewell as I polish my last car
And I fear for my tools with some dread
The new garage cupboards are well above par 
I finally finished the pool shed.

I’ve eaten fine food and I’ve drunk fine wine
And I’ve dined dressed in suits and bow ties
Yet my treasured meals were with family and friends
On a bright sunny day, at their house or mine
With cold sausages, rum & coke, and meat pies
Cheering “here’s to good health” without end.
 
The greatest days of my life, what double thrill
To have watched the birth of my daughters 
And all I ask so that my life is fullfilled 
That they be each other’s supporter.

I hope that my actions defined the man
I wasn’t accepting of rumour
More the loving and loyal son, brother, friend,
Loving and devoted husband and Dad
Some say a wicked and sharp sense of humour
And a Billy Thorpe fan to the end.
 

Come, bid me farewell as I head out to sea
I’m off to another reunion
The horizon beyond is calling to me
The ocean my perfect illusion.

Push me away from the shore one last time
Cheer and laugh with me as I set course
I’m feeling the breeze and I’m trimming the sails
The forecast is clear and the weather sublime
I’m living the dream with no sense of remorse
Just a library of jokes and great tales.

Don’t pity me for the winds I was tossed
Don’t grieve for the pain of my leaving
While I agree the lost battle was tragic
There’s always a lesson to come from a cost
Your life is a tapestry ripe for weaving
And my life is part of your fabric.

So bid me farewell as I head out to sea
My bow points to an unchartered realm
The horizon beyond is calling to me
And I’m back in command of the helm.


Michael Reid, April 2014

©️  Michael Reid 2014, all rights reserved

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