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Good People

As a child, I was expected to show respect toward various “good people”. Catholic nuns, priests, and Christian brothers were to be revered. Then there was the social mix of important people who contributed toward the successful management of our society.

I got to know a lot of “ordinary people” such as Fatty Thompson the bootmaker and Bromo our milkman.

Fatty had a tiny shop that smelt of leather and old shoes. He understood that poverty caused my widowed mother to repair our shoes. He was a good man who welcomed me in for many a chat.

Bromo delivered milk via a horse and cart for the “Golden Star” Dairy. His horse, called Goldy knew all of the directions, when to trot, to start and to when stop. He responded correctly to Bromo’s different whistles. Bromo and I worked out a deal exchanging some cream for me giving him a hand delivering milk, early on a Sunday morning.

Decades later, on a cold windy day, I had returned to the laneway beside our house. I was visualising how the back lane had once looked, glimpsing the lane and closing my eyes to reflect on how it used to be.

A lady walked toward me. She was rugged up in a clutter of clothes to counter the cold. As she passed me I asked; “Excuse me, have ever known a man called Bromo?” She turned and looked at me and for some reason shook her head. “Do you recall a boy called Michael whom you gave hot cocoa to, he used to help Bromo on his milk round?” She cried and hugged me and said “Oh Michael, Bromo’s dead. Then Mrs Bromerly, walked away.

The “ordinary people”, the adults of my childhood, were good people, they are all dead.

Michael McKibbin DC

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