Last week, walking through the village, I was hit by a frisbee. Hit is probably too hard a word. It glided into my reach with no fuss at all. The owner was with his friends from a day centre in Geelong. It was their monthly outing to Point Lonsdale – a barbeque lunch.

“Frisbee” said Johnno coming up to me. “My name’s Johnno. What’s yours?”

“Hen” I said. “Henny.”

“Henny,” said Johnno pointing. “Sausages”.

I saw the smoke rising from the barbeque.

“Smells good,” I said.

Johnno replied. “Me too. Lunch.”

Johnno’s frisbee partner came up.

“Frisbee” she said, taking the frisbee off Johnno and throwing it so that it almost cleared the hedge into the Bowls Club. It stuck in a branch. I reached up and threw it low toward where the main party had assembled.

“Good throw!” Shelley clapped happily. “My name’s Shelley.

“Lunch. Sausages.”

She grabbed me by the arm and took me over to the main group.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Henny” I replied. “That’s short for Henrietta.”

I smiled at the three workers, busy in various phases of picnic preparation and feeding. Shelley and Johnno were the two who spoke. I was introduced to the others – Di, Gus, Rolly and Belle.

“Hi Di. Hi Gus. Hi Rolly and Hi Belle. I’m Henny. You can call me Hen.”
“No you’re not.”

Johnno wanted me to eat a sausage.

Johnno knew something more was needed.

“This is Mary.” Johnno took my arm “and this is Bill and this is Marjorie. I’m her boy friend.”

His cheeky smile went from ear to ear.

“No you are not!”

“She loves me!” Johnno persisted looking at me impishly.

Marjorie knew her cue.

“Yes I do,” she said “very much. But Johnno you are not my boy friend!”

Johnno was smiling, trying hard to look hurt.

But he giggled. Then he threw his arms around Marjorie.

“And I love you too” he said.

Shelley piped up. “Do you love me, Henny?”

Mary, Bill and Marjorie smiled at me – they knew how Johnno and Shelley loved to make friends wherever they went.

“Yes,” I said, feeling only slightly exposed, “You all make me very happy. Thanks for coming. Come again!”

“Here. Sausage” said Shelley.

Johnno reached over for the sauce bottle and squirted some on my snack which I was trying to consume in my now greasy fingers. Not to be outdone, Shelley provided two slices of bread.

After a time, I took my leave and walked on, happy. The kindness of Johnno and Shelley stayed with me as I walked. To be alive, to play, to eat, to talk, to joke is just part of being a friend. For a brief time they had invited me to be theirs.

excerpt from Hentrietta Dubb’s Diary

First Published “Rip Rumour” September 2004.



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