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eSwag-7

DRUGS & RADISHES

Posted on March 14, 2012 by
Raymond
on the road at
Gundagai
The Town Just below the Shelter Murrumbidgee Murrumbidgee Murrumbidgee Yass Bridge Yass current photos »

It will come as a terrible shock for those who know me to hear I embraced the drug culture in my youth. I know. Who'd have thought?

Standing by the Gundagai Bridge as the flooding Murrumbidgee River surges past the blurred memory of those times comes back to me, in as clear a focus as possible, given the state of semi-consciousness in which i lived for the greater part of a decade, or two.

To the left of where Tom sniffs right now is a work shelter. Sometime around 1973 I slept behind this very shed.

My friend Greg and I were hitching to Melbourne from Sydney. We weren’t too long back from the NIMBIN AQUARIUS FESTIVAL where we had gone to get our heads together. Greg was a strange hippy because he had always had some money. Something about a job or working or something.


South of Gundagai is the town of Yass. Two identical roadhouses used to stand either side of the highway. After thumbing a lift for 3 hours at Yass we finally got lucky. Unfortunately we'd been fooled by the roadhouses and were on the wrong side of the road, hitching back to Sydney. It could happen to anyone, especially after a spliff of Greg’s finest Durban Poison.

After trudging dejectedly back across the highway we got a ride to Gundagai, getting dropped off at this very shelter. We were so stoned and tired we slept the entire night on something lumpy.

In the morning we heard trucks arriving and the cheerful banter of Aussie workmen. Wordlessly, since the power of speech had not yet arrived, we frantically clambered down to the river bank with our meagre possessions. They would have included our sleeping bags, Greg’s stash, a bong and my nylon string guitar upon which I played Blowing in the Wind.

We hid behind the very same gum trees that lie half-buried in the flood water now.

"Someones been sleeping on the fucking radishes."

So that’s what they were. It was a lucky escape. These guys were very upset.

We still couldn’t talk but for a different reason. We were both convulsing in laughter as only hippies could when a straight’s radishes had been destroyed. It didn’t get any funnier than that. I mean they had actually grown the radishes and now we had flattened them. Hilarious!

Carefully we tracked around under the bridge and back to the highway, the sound of the furious horticulturalist fading in the distance.

It is eerie to stand here now, back outside a dilapidated work shelter which survives from 40 years ago. I am still on the road. In truth I have rarely been off it.

The Murrumbidgee River that has caused mass evacuations downstream in Wagga Wagga has dropped here but is still white with frothy whirlpools.

On our way, Tom and I got caught in the NSW town of Hay while we waited for the floods to subside. It did after 3 days and we made a dash via Deniliquin and then east across here to Gundagai. Hay is expecting the flooding Murrumbidgee to arrive in a week or so.

Who was it who said Australia is a land of drought broken by the occasional flood?

I am not sure what happened to Greg but it wouldn't have been good. Where I made a desperate lunge towards my version of sanity, I know Greg didn't.

Deep inside me I yearn for a resolution that wraps up this little post. Perhaps something that incorporates a flooding river metaphor, nostalgia, a reference to the Dog sat on the tuckerbox five miles from Gundagai and a warning against drug use. I can’t.

The Murrumbidgee River flows. Some houses get flooded. Others get swept away. Some young lives are caught in other tides. Some survive and are able to stand next to a marker from their youth, even if it's as inauspicious as a work shelter, and still wonder.

Why would anyone grow radishes?

Raymond

PS. Tommie shares some very personal information on his latest DOG BLOG. I ask that you be a little sensitive if you reply. He only shared this to help other dogs have the courage to admit to over-eating.
 

Comments
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Steve
Reply
I would NEVER have thought that Raymond.
Raymond
Reply
I know Steve. People can hide the most terrible secrets. Mind you I didn't inhale. eSwag
Rob
Reply
No doubt the Durban Poison gets some things a bit tangled up, such as "South of Gundagai is the town of Yass". No wonder you ended up going the wrong way! Raymond, your frank account of your experiences is appreciated.
Raymond
Reply
You are right of course. I was almost right though .. it's north. So it wasn't Greg's fault. Thanks Rob
Anne Looby
Reply
Memories... light the corners of my mind. Thank you for your honesty Raymond. Not everyone is brave enough to admit to their dark and desperate past. 
Raymond
Reply
and even less to their dark and desperate present. R
Mark
Reply
Yes lucky .. Very dangerous thing to inhale radishes
Raymond
Reply
Hi Mark... although not so bad when you grind them up. Cheers Raymond
Catherine
Reply
Hi Raymond, a lot of people find themselves going in the wrong direction and feel powerless to do anything, even when the reality is so simple as crossing a road. How come some of us survive to tell the stories, and others don't?†I'm going on a tiny weeny road trip to revisit the past, a very distant past, and no doubt will experience some existential ruminations, probably not over radishes. Catherine
Raymond
Reply
Hey Catherine. I am beginning to think "ruminations on radishes" might be what was missing throughout the 60 & 70s. Too much peace ... love ... dope and we all missed the radishes at our feet. Or as we slept in my case. Travel well. Raymond xx
Lindy bestic
Reply
Thanks Raymond, I do love reading your blog and Tommy's too. I recently drove up to Warialda and i loved seeing the incredible force of the flooding rivers roaring through the countryside. Lindy, Amooti, Dubbo and Tinkerbell. xo & woof to Tommie
Raymond
Reply
Hi Lindy. I'll look up Warialda. Rivers are my thing. I love the ocean and the desert. But there is something about a river I think. Glad you and your friends are enjoying the journey. R
Rosa Christian
Reply
We all have histories, especially when we reach our ages, that's how we got where we are.
Raymond
Reply
Hi Rosa. You are right. I listened to a Radio National program many years ago. Ninety year ld people were asked their biggest regret. Most of them said that they didnt take risks. I guess at that age you realize security is an illusion. Look forward to visiting your North Queensland shack. c ya Raymond
H
Reply
You are a funny man my friend. Glad you got your head together. This is great stuff.
Raymond
Reply
Thanks H. Yep, Nimbin was certainly the place to go to get your head together. I'll blog about the Aquarius Festival in Nimbin sometime. It made Bedlam look like the Dapto RSL. Actually. Bedlam DID look like the Dapto RSL. Raymond
Kate K
Reply
Nice work Raymond, you write really well.I still respect you.After the radishes I mean…Cheers,Kate K
Raymond
Reply
Hey Katie ... As they say "One radish is too many and a thousands not enough" Rxx
Barb
Reply
Ray, that is fantastic. I love your honestly. So you didn't notice the radishes! Love it.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Barb. It was amazing I noticed I was alive that night. R
Wendy McDougall
Reply
Hi there, Its great to read your stories. I know you have many to tell let alone current and future ones! If you haven't already seen the film, I am sure you will enjoy the documentary called 'Alone Across Australia' Its about a guy who takes his dog for a walk. 2,500 kms from bottom to top of Australia.  http://www.sharkisland.com.au/ourfilms/doc/alo/synopsis_alo.php Check out the link to the site by the producers, Shark Island. You in particular will get a lot from this as well as be entertained. You may even cry. But "do yourself a favour"... xxx
Raymond
Reply
Hi Wendy. I shall check it out. I've just completed a travel/memoir that delves into a lot of history you will enjoy. Its called "Dog Walking in a Cemetery". Raymond xx
Christinehunsaker
Reply
Why Raymond;  people grow radishes to dip,into salt you silly goose!
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