The Meeting at 8pm

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It was to start at 8pm, Monday the 12th of May. It was the beginning of a frosty night when I parked my car at the front of the CWA building opposite the police station here in Moss Vale. I noticed a few men entering and I knew I would not just be the sole person to turn up. It took me back many years when I used to be a member of the ALP, back in the time of Whitlam and his sacking. “Maintain your rage” we were advised. Some of us did.

I decided to re-join, even if just for the camaraderie or commoraderie as it was more known for in those earlier years of brawls and fisticuffs. It was during the late seventies, early eighties. I remember a fire extinguisher being hurled out of the Balmain town-hall where a meeting was being held. A burly man in the back of the queue during a joining of new members shouted “make way for a pregnant woman”, while shoving people around. “You’re not fucking pregnant,” someone shouted, before all hell broke loose and the mentioned fire extinguisher thrown through the window, lights switched off and the books were stolen. That was the time when the factions between left and right wings were coming to a head.

Last night I was warmly welcomed by a few including an old ALP warrior and fighter from way back, Rodney Cavalier who now lives in Bowral.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Cavalier

I felt back home again with usual time taken up by the necessary rituals of all meetings, the passing of last meeting’s minutes, correspondence and the passing of motions. I was pleased to a positive sign emerging when a motion was passed, unanimously by the Moss Vale branch in favour of Australia being urged to also accept Palestine’s seat to the UN as an observer state. (Australia abstained from the voting in favour of Palestine even though 138 countries approved.)

The meeting closed at 10pm and there was tea, coffee and biscuits afterwards. A good meeting.

I drove home while the outside temperature was 4c. Helvi was there, nice and warm, watching the tail-end of Q&A. Milo jumped up as well.

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18 Responses to “The Meeting at 8pm”

  1. M-R Says:

    If I could attend your branch, I’d join.

    Like

  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Ahh the meetings. I have never liked meetings. Too boring. But sounds as if all was well that ended well. Plus you had two beings waiting for your return home. A loving wife and an adoring dog. Life is indeed good for you, Gerard.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, most meetings are boring. The worst are body corporate meetings. Give me two minutes and I’ll go sszzzz.ssszzzz..snnnnorezzzz.
      The ALP meetings are more than just chit chat or at least I hope so.. I have only been once so far and most of the people there seemed friendly and keen to talk.
      As one gets older I find that social contact is becoming rarer. Indeed, some of my friends, even family members are now in a different place after passing away.
      It happens to the best of us!

      Like

      • Rosie Says:

        “As one gets older I find that social contact is becoming rarer”. How very true and it is for this very reason I think that a lot of us enjoy coming to your blog. It is also the reason I am leaving my fairly isolated few acres and moving into a favourite town 1 1/2 hours away. And its only a week away now – that is if I can survive the constant flow of phone calls, emails and texts from solicitors, real estate agents, removalist and buyer’s family in between taking many loads in the trailer to the town and into storage until I can access the new unit. Then I will have Body Corporate Meetings. But also I will be able to go out walking every day and make lots of “new best friends” – just for that day. And you are right, Gerard, talking to the dogs out for a walk with their owners is a good way to meet new people.

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        How wonderful you are moving into a different way of life. You must be hectically busy right now. We love living in our town house and never regretted moving from the farm which we also loved. Different things at different times!
        I hope you have help to load up the trailer. How long have you lived on your acreage? Have you got a dog?
        We are right now trying to come to grips with latest budget blues. What a stinker.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rosie Says:

        Loading the trailer is not a problem – I don’t have help at this end. But I can tie down a load with truckie’s hitches – so no problem. At the other end I have family to help – I time it between their work shifts. The only reason I am doing loads is so I can separate things – some for the unit and some not for the unit. The removalists will take all the big stuff – some to the unit and some to my daughter’s garage to sort later. Downsizing! I have lived here for about 13 years. My last dog was a Jack Russell but she died about 3 years ago and I did not get another as I could see this move coming and thought it would be easier not to have the responsibility of an animal in a unit. And, yes – different things at different times. The budget – don’t even get me started!!!! Unbelievable! But we knew it would be so with Abbott.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        A truckie’s hitch is a handy thing to know. I wish you all the best with your new move. Downsizing is something we had to do too. It is not easy to chuck things. We gave a lot to Father Riley or Vinnies.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. berlioz1935 Says:

    Your description of the Balmain meeting, I think that branch was infamous, is the reason I never joined the ALP. While ideological close to Labor I could never join a branch. The right of the party is as power hungry as the Liberals.

    Anyway I’m happy for you if you can be happy in the fold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, I did leave after the Whitlam sacking. The curry had soured and the bonhomie of earlier times had vanished. We used to meet at the William Wallace pub afterwards and enjoyed each other a lot. With the bashing of Peter Baldwin and the struggle between the different factions things got lost.
      Yesterday was my first attempt to re-kindle the contact. It seems that the Moss Vale ALP branch, perhaps with input from Rodney Cavalier somehow withstood the march of impetuous time and cruel history. He still is the old firebrand which I liked from previous times.
      The biscuits and tea afterwards, perhaps…a nice gesture….was a good reason to turn up again!
      Foolish sentimentality? Perhaps.

      Liked by 1 person

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        I still can see Baldwin’s face, after the bashing, in my mind.

        “Foolish sentimentality?” Don’t say that. it is in human nature to expect more from life then what is just in front of us.

        That is why we strive and try to better our situation. They used to call it “romanticism”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rosie Says:

        Thank you for reminding me – I had actually forgotten the bashing of Peter Baldwin – and yes, Berlioz1935 – I, too, can still see his face.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Rosie Says:

    Well done Gerard. Loved your description of the evening. It takes members to make policies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Rosie,
      After the meeting finished and I walked back to my car a man walked up to me from the meeting and I had an amazing conversation. It was very cold and pitch dark. He kept on telling me that the ALP was gone, kaput. “We used to get new members approved through the unions”, he kept saying. “The unions were all powerful and they got things going from the members up”, “not like now when all gets decided by the top down.” Only 8% now belong to unions, he added.
      I kept agreeing, wanting to start up the engine to get warm. He held on my car door which was open. I had one leg in and one leg out of the car. He was overwrought with words just spilling and piling out.
      A pity we did not have the conversation still inside with our Aldi’s biscuits. Anyway, I loved that outpouring by the man and felt afterwards that perhaps I should have been a bit less keen to say goodbye.
      It was cold. I think his name was Terry. I’ll see him again next meeting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Sometimes I think I should jump back into the political process (beyond voting). And then I think not. But good for you. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

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