I know I write about dad a lot on this blog. That is a recognition that he is a big part of my life at present. I see him most weeks, and it is a pleasure to know him in this last period of his life. He is a terrific person – funny, warm, unassuming, kind – and I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend this time with him.
He has been a country person all his life, and has lived in Auburn for 64 years of that time, and Saddleworth, just a few kilometres away, for the rest (barring the war years). As part of the yearly celebration of Australia Day in the Auburn, local citizenship awards are made to acknowledge the contribution of different folk to town life. This year, dad was nominated. He was a reluctant recipient, as it goes against the grain for him to be in the spotlight at all, and he has been anxious about having to ‘make a speech’ of acknowledgement at the community breakfast on Australia Day, but the rest of the family have all been thrilled (and I am sure he will be pleased now that it is over!).
He has been a fantastic community person over the years, and it is lovely for people to notice and cheer him for that. He always hated being ‘out the front’ so though he was a member of many committees and groups in the town, he was never the chairperson of anything – always either secretary or treasurer – the harder jobs I always think! He was on the Primary School committee (treasurer) from the day Jane started till the day Helen finished. He was on the football and cricket club committees, the RSL, the senior citizens (not sure whether he was on the committee for this or just attended), the Recreation Park committee, the progress association, the Auburn Institute committee, the church treasurer, and probably more. He only did one year he says, on the bowling club committee as he wanted one thing just for recreation. Of course he also established and worked in the shop for 50 years – and the shop (in my humble opinion!!) has made a big difference to the town overall.
Anyway, the breakfast was yesterday morning, and all the ‘Becker kids’ were there cheering him on, along with other important people in our lives – Maxine from the shop and Deanne, who also worked there for many years, plus lots of locals. It was a most enjoyable occasion. It was a beautiful morning (cooler after all the heat we have had), the local councillor made a lovely little speech about dad, and he got the special certificate. He made his speech, even ad libbed a bit, and I think he did a great job.
It is a wonderful thing to know someone who has lived a long life, and especially to know them well. He is a treasure to all of us. He has led a quiet life on the whole, but he has definitely made his contribution, and been a very decent and good person, and as he says, he ‘feasts on happy memories every day’. It is a good way to live.