Goodbye Cairns – Hello Gympie

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Well, life’s vicissitudes being what they are, we now find ourselves in Gympie, Australia a couple of months before we planned to be. We had planned to take a long-overdue holiday break in Australia for a few weeks later this year.

We are staying in the home of our long-time friend Val Jerram, whose name has appeared many times here on Madang – Ples Bilonng Mi  before and is going to pop up more or less constantly in the misty future as we get treatment for Eunie’s medical problems. Read to the end of the post for news about that.

Though I should have known that it would be so, if I had had the power to think of some of the less pressing matters other than those which are daily squashing my mind into a sort of pudding-like substance incapable of no higher functions than basic animal instincts, the most intense of which is at the present time stark fear, I would have realised that I was in for yet another treat – it is freezing cold here in Gympie!

Sorry about that last paragraph. I just wanted to see if I’m still capable of writing a reasonably long sentence that is comprehensible. Did I make it?  I can’t tell.

Anyway, having missed several days of posting this month, I was determined to write, if for no other reason than to prove that my fingers still work. I ventured out into the freezing cold on Val’s veranda and got a shot of this blackish bird pecking away at some undoubtedly tasty grub in this bare tree limb:

I took the shot with the Bird Watching setting on my Olympus SP590-UZ. Though there are some aspects of the camera that don’t suit me, the 26X optical zoom is great and it has a wide range of “scene” modes that make it easy to get shots that would require a lot of fiddling with manual controls otherwise.

A few seconds later, I got the above bird’s handsomer cousin:

This place is a crazy house of birds all day long. I suspect that birds are going to be creeping in on the fish soon.

Here is a shot from Val’s veranda of the old Gympie courthouse:

I haven’t seen it up close, but it looks to be an interesting place to visit. This small city is also the home of the  Gympie Muster, the second largest country music festival in Australia.

Braving freezing temperatures this morning, I snapped some snapdragons:

And another one:

And that was the first morning in Gympie.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yesterday was scary. Eunie is sick, there’s no doubt of that. She could walk slowly. She put on a brave face, starting out at 05:30 for a cab ride to the Brisbane airport. We had to stop over in Townsville for a couple of hours and then fly to Brisbane, where we were met by Val. Then we had a little over two hours to Gympie in her car.

Eunie’s been resting today. I hope she gets some energy back. Watching any loved one, especially a spouse, go from strong and healthy to desperately ill in a matter of a couple of months is a shocking experience. It’s my first time.

I could do without it.

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13 Responses to “Goodbye Cairns – Hello Gympie”

  1. ZydecoDoug Says:

    Hang in there, Jan. Traveling is hell for anyone who’s even the slightest bit sick, so it’s understandable that Eunie’s weakness has become more profoundly real. She’ll stabilize once she gets to settle down somewhat in a home environment — still far from your true home, but certainly better than being in some sterile hotel. I’m sure staying at a new home base for a while will help to reinvigorate you, as well.

    As the Capra classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” reminds us each Christmastime, “No man is a failure who has friends.” And you and Eunie have plenty of ’em!

    My warm thoughts are with you both. And wear a coat!

    (Loved the run-on sentence, BTW!)

  2. Steve Bennett Says:

    Common Starling MadDog (Sturnus vulgaris). This time of year he develops that sheen on his chest.

    Take care Jan and all the best for Eunie.

  3. kristy Says:

    Hope Eunie recovers from the travel quickly and stays strong for treatments! Take care of yourself as well!

  4. Heather Relyea Ashley Says:

    Jan and Eunice,

    I was deeply shaken when I received the news of what you are going through, although that is nothing compared to what you must be feeling.

    You all have been permanent, faithful, seemingly-invincible fixtures in my life since before I could walk–and, have sure been there for my family in some very dark times. January 2005 comes to mind, but there are numerous others that we all remember. I am grateful to you two. Looking back, in someways, I always wondered if you understood my dad in ways that most others did not. 🙂

    Today, I sure wish there was something I could do more to lighten your load, but wanted you to know that this almost-M.D. is praying and thinking of you often–that medicine will do it’s work, and that the great physician will intervene as well.

    Sending love and prayers from Galveston Island, Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico,

    Heather Relyea-Ashley

  5. MadDog Says:

    Doug, she is getting better, day by day, but is very weak. We have her first MRI on next Tuesday. I hope something gets going soon after that.

    You are right, we do have plenty of friends.

  6. MadDog Says:

    I should have guessed, Steve. I’ve seen them pretty much everywhere I’ve been. I thought that they looked like the ones back in Indiana.

  7. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Kristy. My biggest problem is forgetting to eat. She seems stronger today.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Hi Heather. I think that your feelings reflect many others’. We have been around a long time, and I do think that I had a different concept of your dad than some did. Possibly it is because we had similar views, not necessarily conventional, about certain aspects of life. Thanks for your personal, comforting message, Heather. You come from a family of strong prayer warriors. Give it all you’ve got. – Jan

  9. Fay Christensen Says:

    Like Heather said, you guys have always been there for me in Madang when I needed help – computer and otherwise. I always remember you giving me supper while the ACCM files were having their monthly processing at your place – way back in the 80s when we first started using a computer for our finances, and I who knew nothing about either computers or finance was in charge of the operation.

    I’m praying for you every day, and there will be people at my church here praying with me. Any other way we can help, please let us know.

  10. Janice Says:

    Hey, Dear Ones,
    So often, we don’t share alot of common interests other than a love for our Lord and PBT, but that being said, we love you and hate it that the two of you are suffering through this awful pain and shock. Please, Jan, give Eunice a special hug for us. Somewhere in these past few years of hospitals and waiting, I have clung to some special verses that I will share with you as my gift for you to use as you will at this time: Psalms 63:6-8. The Lord has proven to be faithful. Love, Janice

  11. Christine Ortner (Schaumann) Says:

    Dear Jan,
    now, this is the first time that I am actually visiting your blog or should I better say -any blog! I am thinking of you and Eunice from across the ocean in Seattle. Just wanted to let you know. And this black bird you have taken a picture of, is this the one attacking joggers from behind, this is why they draw eyes on their running hats? Brisbane memories… Unfortunately, I am not as eloquent as others in English but I wanted to let you know that you are both on my mind and I am sending you hugs and kisses!
    Love Christine (Schaumann) Ortner

  12. MadDog Says:

    Thank you, Janice. I’m catching up on replying to my readers’ comments – sorry to be tardy. I suggest that we have far more in common than you may recognise. Disregarding faith for the moment, the kind of human spirit, toughness, street smarts and ambition to take on the job at hand are traits that we share. It’s this kind of curious mixture of raw humanity and faith that makes missionaries – missinaries that go the course. We’re cut from sort of cloth. We differ only in pattern and colour. I will make sure that Eunie knows about your message.
    Love, Jan

  13. MadDog Says:

    Fay, sorry to get so far behind answering comments. It was such a joy for me and all of the others who helped you with your work. It’s amazing how far back we go. Thanks for your prayers and those of the brothers and sisters at your church.