Madeline Joan Buchanan
16 December 1925 - 17 April 2014
Jack reads the poem at Madeline's requiem:
Cooking - kitchen gas rings ﬂame; the oven gets dinner on the way.
Cheese scones — a fresh batch, a warm scent on the dinner table.
Gatherings in the kitchen
Foster's Lager froths chilled glasses for guests seated round the summer table setting.
Washing pegged out on the line, stiff drying in Bendigo where nearly every day is fine.
Chooks some white most brown and red cluck as they are fed, kitchen scraps scattered round for them to garner on sawdust strewn ground.
Hand hosing gardens on each even-numbered day.
Nurturing lettuce, tomatoes, herbs - mint and parsley, beans and other greens until the drought dismembers all that's standing in its way.
A hand knitted sweater warmed me on my seventieth; a crocheted, multi-coloured quilt. Sweaters for her men folk, things for Joan - gifts for others; sewing for all those nurses’ stalls.
Now she's retired from nursing; Madeline numbers her last seasons.
Walking down the street with her I would hear women say they've missed her and often there's - ”Good Morning, Sister!”
Now vision gone, her body prone to back pain and other never-ending agonies, she musters yet more courage to carry on the way she is.
Her memory of everyone she ever met; everything that ever happened; from the nineteen twenties long ago to now (nearly nine decades later) is never lost for long.
But for Madeline — Ken, her kids, grandkids, family and nursing are and were - her life.