Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
January 2023
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50th wedding anniversary

Four days after Christmas my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Their children (including me) organised a low-key casual barbecue for family and special friends to mark the occasion, held at the Waterworks Reserve which is a lovely bushy picnic area located on the boundary of Hobart as it turns into the mountain. After some initial ominous signs the weather took a turn for the better and it was a glorious and relaxing day (photo of Mum and Dad below courtesy of my brother David).

We’d booked the big picnic shelter and organised the catering ourselves, and there was plenty of food and opportunities to chat.

There was also a flock of very friendly kookaburras who joined in the celebrations, by perching on the railings and even allowing themselves to be touched.

The “anniversary cake” requires a little explanation. Chocolate cakes have been a traditional component of birthday celebrations in our family, and over the years Mum has made hundreds of them, not just for us but also for the teenagers in the early morning Church class that both Dad and I taught at various stages in the 1970s-1990s. The cake tin is even older than her marriage, and I used it again for three of the cakes we produced for the day’s festivities. We decided to make chocolate cakes for each of the descendant families (give or take a bit), and decorate them with personalised versions of the My Family stick figures, which was kind of fun (although we ended up with heaps of chocolate cake left over … along with heaps of other food as well!)

It was nice that all 13 of the grandkids could be there (this is one of the reasons Dave and Lucy came across from Adelaide as a surprise), along with four of the five children (one of my sisters, Catherine, was overseas and couldn’t make it, which explains the snowman on one of the cakes as she was in Sweden at the time!).

As eldest child I kind of ended up doing the speechy bit, which was mainly a piece of hastily composed doggerel (not my finest piece of versification, but life had been a bit chaotic leading up to the celebrations and I ended up writing it during the festivities). It’s a rather silly poem, and not obviously sentimental or heartfelt, so perhaps I should be more explicit about saying how much I love and appreciate my parents. I know things have not always been easy for them, as they have dealt with the ups and downs of family relationships, and I know that getting to this 50 year milestone really is a major achievement and worth celebrating. I thank them for all that they have given me (well, okay, there are the odd one or two things I inherited that I could do without … !); may they be blessed with happiness in the years to come.


It’s really kind of nifty
To come and cheer your fifty:
Your fifty years beyond your wedding day.
We see Scout – Guide relations
Now end in celebrations
So let’s all give a cheer and shout hooray.

You surely must be thrifty
To budget well for fifty
Years of shopping, camps, and sending kids to school;
And life was never boring
As you took us all exploring
In cars that — let’s face facts — were not quite cool.

We think there’s something shifty
In making it to fifty
With kids who are good looking and so young;
With grandkids to add blessings —
And not a little messings —
These are the things about which songs are sung.

Now no more words are lefty
That properly rhyme with fifty
Which stops this poem from going on and on,
So let us start rejoicing
And join me here in voicing
A toast of love and cheer to Di and John.

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