By Tim Law
Tom met Sally on a Tuesday. He was five and she three. They both lived on Long Street in a little country town near the Copper Triangle. Long Street was a hard packed dirt road that joined the town’s heart to the main highway. Locals sped along that road like startled snakes while visitors took it at a snail’s pace. The unpredictability of traffic meant both Tom and Sally were banished to the backyard. For the two kids both of those yards stretched on forever morphing from grass to bush and ending at the creek. On that Tuesday Tom had found a decent branch fallen from a gum and with a bit of twine and a bent nail had made himself a fishing rod. The can of corn he had swiped from the pantry was not getting any bites so he asked the girl making mud pies if she had worms.
“Worms! Yuck!” Sally had replied. “You can have ‘em…”
Sally and her family had just moved down from the city. A boy around her age two houses down was just what she needed to help her settle in. Tom and Sally caught up often as they grew and a strong friendship formed.
By the time Tom and Sally attended High School their friendship had blossomed into something more. There was a period when the boyfriend and girlfriend parted while Tom studied journalism and Sally went away to be a nurse. As the war in Vietnam went on Tom took photographs for the Australian and Sally tended to the wounded. So far from home they found each other and their relationship grew stronger.
The two were married in May after the pair got home and Tom won an award for a painting he did. The first years of wedded bliss they spent in the city and tried to live their lives away from those who knew them well. With baby number one on the way though offered support from family and friends was too great a magnet to ignore. Sally and Tom both recalled the joys of growing up in a country town and wanted the same for their kids. City hospitals are better equipped for the just in case so the couple decided to stay at their city flat until after the birth. When their first born, Joseph, was six months old Tom and Sally packed up and headed for Sally’s parent’s place.
Back home where things rarely changed Tom started up a local paper and Sally found a part time job at the local clinic. Sally worked hard to acquire grants for medical equipment and under her watchful eye the medical service there went from strength to strength. Tom and Sally had two more kids, a boy named Peter and a girl named George. Friends and family welcomed them back and loved and supported their little brood. As time marched on they did indeed live happily ever after for the rest of their days.