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Thanks for that, Adrian.

That post is sad, but still manages to make a reader smile. I think we sometimes forget that for many people Christmas is just another day and not a happy one at that.

I bet he spends Christmas alone and I bet when he's gone his relatives will be there in a shot. Thanks for writing about such things. Cannot stomach reading about boofheads on beaches and stuff like that at the moment. The ability to write about people with feeling is a great skill to have.

Likewise, thanks for that little yarn, Adrian.

I keep coming back to this blog for the the great human stories that pop up from time to time, holding the magnifying glass up to the myriad characters, sights and sounds of Sydney.

Like Darlene, I am tired of all the negative stuff, the fear and intolerance, it just seems to go on and on.

Best wishes for Christmas, Adrian.

Adrian, that sounds like a great-uncle I had named Earl. He was a veteran of WWII, a tanker who had six tanks shot out from underneath him. He spent the last 15 years or so of his life living by himself in an old house he didn’t much take care of.

After he retired he would do pretty much the same thing every day. Take care of what little business that was required, and then, about 4:00 or so, walk the three blocks over to the bar and have 3 or 4 glasses of wine. (And not any wine that came with cork in it, it was the cheap stuff with a twist top. He didn’t like beer.) My Dad said he would stay home drinking wine if the Vikings or the Twins were on TV.

He lived in fairly large house – him and his wife had six children. His wife was a Ponca from Oklahoma. She went down there one summer, met a man, and never came back. He raised his last two kids on his own.

He lived by himself about 15 years. They only found his dead body because the bar owner asked the local cops to check on him. Nothing gruesome, he just died.

I doubt that anyone can know if that’s the way he really wanted to spend the last years of his of his life.

Thanks folks for the positive feedback. It's sometimes hard to identify what's important, amongst all the daily dross one encounters. In this case the poems evocative verse of an old soldier sleeping alone on the floor brought it all home for me. Right next door in fact.

In the same vein I've a story coming out next month in Investigate of an old digger living alone in a harbour side mansion. Whilst materially different circumstances both old diggers radiate a certain essence, something pure and inspirational. They've experienced horror in their country's service, yet in the twilight years fade alone and unruffled, exiting life with patient endurance. As demonstrated by David's great-uncle, another of those to whom we owe so much.

Adrian, thanks for this post. I think also it isn't just the old diggers that get forgotten, it is any of our older relatives.
For me there is my Grams who is a classic example for me - she worked hard to bring up 5 kids on her own when my Grandfather died and yet there are some that remember her but others who don't, and they will be the first to come for the money afterwards.
Until recently one of her highlights of the week was to go to the hairdressers and talk to everyone there. Now she is in a home and the staff there keeping telling us that she the most visitors of any of the residents - and these aren't her family.
Which is sad cause now she doesn't really know what is happening around her on a day to day basis.
To have given so much and yet to not know the full impact that they have made on this world. I think that is the saddest thing to have done to that generation.
Also, thanks for the interesting posts in the last year.

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