It was going to be a beautiful day.
You could tell just by the way that the sun peeked carefully from behind the cloud bank on the horizon and by the way that the energetic flock of Rainbow Lorikeets screeched its appearance in counterpoint to the gull cries. The high speed kamikaze flight of the colourful birds through and around the foliage of the large trees that lined the Esplanade thrilled me each and every time that I witnessed the event. Their high pitched screeches seemed to indicate their excitement in the practise also. Their derring-do exciting them to chatter stridently and incessantly.
I'd driven the short distance down to my favourite beach for a surf just on sun-up. The waves were small but perfectly formed. Fast smooth curlers that still challenged my resurrected morning practise.
This was my 'Patch' and had been since I had moved into the house not that far away with my new bride. Little did I know that I would have only ten short years with her before she was murdered. Working undercover for one last time for the AFP in some forgettable hole in South Australia. Keeping tabs on a break-away Bikie gang that was interesting the AFP with its drug distribution network. The empty time after her death not helped by my favourite past-time. Now of course, this 'patch' of mine held sad memories of a later time. Falling head of heels for a Penelope Piniccello, the estranged daughter of a Melbourne Underworld figure. It was never going to amount to much because of the garbage that we both had.....and the fact that her family roots would for-ever stand between us. She had begged that I relocate to another Patch as the occasional sighting by both of us, I surfing, she jogging the length of the Esplanade, continually opened the wounds for both
So I did remove myself for a whole winter, being informed through the grapevine that she had sold up and moved to somewhere in southern coastal Queensland.
So here I was!
Again enjoying each and every early morning having that surf.
Back on familiar and much loved territory. A mix of bitter-sweet memories and recollections of riding well-shaped tubes. The hotchpotch of emotion giving the beach a special place in my heart, and in my mind.
I'd overheard it said in my teenage years that if I was willing to put in the hours, then the world surfing title could be mine.
The mind had me there. Unfortunately, the body and the disappearing years always let
Just on sunrise, you had to jostle for a good ride with the other bald, paunchy middle-aged men who had similar dreams to me. Catching that moment of youth before donning that business suit to breathe the air-conditioned air of a stuffy office for eight to ten hours a day.
All of us legends in our own life-times as we rode the small sets into the sand.
I struggled out of my steamers, towelled down, donned my over-sized singlet top, safely stowed my board in the car and was licking on an ice-cream. Lazily watching the world go by. Appreciating the antics of the dwindling number of surfers being pulled away from their treasured time to jobs and responsibilities. Thinking as they would have thought; just one more good ride. Seated on one of those curved metal bench seats that never seemed to fit your shape. Uncomfortable as all hell!
The waves now more crowded with pre-teen grommets wanting to grab a few before the school bell sounded.
Clem 'Lofty' Hills Series:
Murder Squad Series: