Chapter 3: Adelaide to Roma
Copyright© 2010 by Pedant
Travelling with Patrick was easy – he and the nappy bag came to less than his capsule. And unlike what I'd heard, he didn't fuss or cry – only hunger or distress seemed to cause that. He drooled and smiled his way through breakfast (his new favourite: breast milk and gumming a bread crust) and check-in. He appeared to have every female in a uniform at his six-toothed grin – soon to be eight or ten.
He slept all the way to Brisbane, but didn't seen to like the smaller plane from Brisbane to Roma. Mum was waiting for us. She said we didn't need to hire a car – we could use hers or one of the utes. She took Patrick, told him she was his "granny," and he grabbed her ears and drooled on her. She was blissful. We put his capsule behind the driver's seat and mum got in beside him. I loaded the rest of our gear, Weena sat in front of mum, telling her about the wedding, and I got in and drove us home. As expected, Patrick fell asleep. But mum and Weena talked up a storm.
When we got to the house, Weena got a limp child and I got the nappy bag and the capsule. I'd save the baggage for the second trip. By the time I was done, the women had kidnapped the infant. I sat down to take it easy.
About 20 minutes later my dad appeared. "The ladies have kidnapped your grandson," I told him.
"Not unexpected," he responded. "Is he okay?"
"Seems to be fine. Travels well. Six teeth now. And you?"
"Getting older – but the alternative isn't wonderful."
"How'd the wedding go?"
"They're married. By now they're most likely in Broken Hill. Maybe Wilcannia."
"What was their plan?"
"Drive around for a few weeks, look at the smaller places between – oh – Newcastle and Murwillumbah. Evans thought maybe Maclean. He wants a place where he can have a small boat and fish; Willy wants a small plane."
"He's got the dosh?"
"Hmmm. Does she want a new plane or a used one?"
"I don't know. Why?"
"Bloke over near Cheepie's selling out. Gonna go live with his kids in Cairns. Anyway, he's got two planes at the Quilpie Airport. Wait. I'll find the circular." He rummaged on the table. "Here we are ... hmm ' – about 900 kilometres west of Brisbane.' stuff about the station and buildings. Vehicles. Here 'At QLP or YQLP, ' whatever that means. 'Two airplanes: one MOONEY 1979 white with red and a blue stripe. M20J 201 $125000; one MOONEY 1983 M20K $145000.' Never heard of MOONEY."
"Me neither. Let me see if I can call Willy." I got Evans right away. "Oh, Commander. I was wondering whether I could talk to Mrs. Evans, if she's not worn out yet ... Of course I'm teasing ... Where are you? ... That's what I guessed. Anyway can I talk to Willy briefly? ... Hey, Mrs. Evans! Has he begun beating you yet? No. He's fine. Anyway, have you ever heard of a MOONEY? ... Oh. Really. I never knew. Single engines. Well, here's the deal. A fellow west of here is selling out and among other things he's got two MOONEYs for sale ... Uh. A 20J and a 20K. The J is 1979 and the K is 1983... $125 and $145. Yes, I can phone him. Why don't you call tomorrow morning. Say between nine and ten? Sure. Love from all of us."
I looked at my father. "Do you know this bloke?"
"Met him a few times."
"Could you phone him?"
"Okay. Willy's interested in one of the planes. They're spending the night in Broken Hill. I guess they could be in Charleville in three days, by way of Cobar and Bourke..."
"More likely four. Cobar to Bourke's no fun. They'd be better off going through Nyngan. But tell 'em to spend the night in Cobar. There ain't nothing in Nyngan."
"Anyway, call now. Then you can say hello to your grandson."
It turned out that neither plane had sold, though someone was coming by in a few days. That didn't sound like a lot of competition.
Weena and mum reappeared with a washed, fed and alert Patrick who gave a happy shriek at grandpa and delivered a liquid kiss of some sort. My dad was delighted and took and dandled his grandson for nearly an hour. I told Weena about the airplanes and she was already looking forward to seeing the newlyweds. I asked mum about Jacky.
"Oh, he's fine. His fiancee, Alice, is a lovely girl. She's from south of here. I'm not sure what band. But she went to the university and has a degree. You'll have to talk to her. They've been in and out of the house – theirs not this one – the last few weeks. Jacky seems very happy."
"And the arrangements?"
"They get married here on Saturday. But there's a ceremony of some sort on Thursday and Friday."
"The full moon's on the 7th," dad said.
"Is that important?"
"I don't know. It's just a fact." Patrick gave a squeak and went limp.
"You're too boring, dad. Your audience just voted." We all laughed.
"Tea in about half an hour, Okay?" asked mum.