REMEMBERING CLAY Australians visit Great great-grandfathers homestead Part III
Having the lamb chops delivered to the meat market frozen was a surprise to the Patterson’s. Lamb is their largest meat seller as the sheep are raised locally in Australia and New Zealand. The meat would be butchered and cut at the site of the market. Since most cities, towns, etc. are located near the ocean, fresh fish is in great abundance and readily available all year. The temperature rarely goes below freezing so fresh vegetables are grown in some parts of Australia all year. Their favorite food was our salmon and they couldn’t believe how tasty it was at the restaurants. We season our food much more than they do; they use mostly just salt and pepper. Our newest varieties of apples were another favorite. Most food is boiled and not fried. No wonder they loved KFC and Wendy’s! The first thing that Margaret said when we went shopping the next day was, “Where are the sidewalks?” I finally figured out her astonishment. We are in the country and not in a village like Liverpool, which I did take her to visit later. Because she doesn’t drive, she walks everywhere. All the businesses and stores are close by in Berorwra, New South Wales. The Patterson’s walked every day all around the roads north of Route 31. Luckily, there were very few days of the 25 that even had a little moisture. They spent many hours going to all the stores along Route 31 and couldn’t believe the varieties and brands offered. Terry bought a leather coat and Margaret well-known walking shoes for about one quarter of the price in Australia. Since October is Halloween month, they were introduced to all the advertising, decorations and costumes, and candy at the stores. Australia is just beginning to recognize Halloween- mainly just children’s neighborhood parties. They thrilled at the house decorations everywhere. The one we had to return to for a photo was on Horseshoe Island. A witch had flown into a telephone pole! When they said “Clay doesn’t have many birds”, I had to laugh and had to explain that most of our birds have already flown south for the winter. The only ones they were able to take photos of were the long-neck geese that hang around Bonstead Road along the Oneida River, and the pigeons and sea gulls that hang around the Mall parking lots. Also, there are flocks of small brown birds that sit on the power lines. The colorful spring and summer birds are gone! I was told about the Australian laughing Kookaburra bird that kicks out the eggs from another bird’s nest and lays its eggs so the host mother bird can hatch them. As we were getting ready for our November election, the subject of government came up; especially with all the campaigning going on right before they left. Of interest is that in Australia, if you don’t show up to vote for local, state or Federal elections, you are fined. Of course, the Queen is still the head of state. Houses in Clay, and much of America, have basements and attics; a surprise to the Patterson’s. Australia is just beginning to build more apartment complexes much like America. Single family homes are three times as costly as in America. The flora is so much different here. They took so many photos of the fall colors as our trees lost their leaves. And they were amazed at the height of the pine trees and their acorns all over the ground. Terry had to brag about the snow gum tree in Australia that keeps its leaves, but the trunk turns beautiful shades of pink, gray and gold in autumn. The Patterson’s summed up their image of Clay and America and compared us to Australia. They felt that we “colonials” were much happier people than the United Kingdom. They said that it seems Great Britain “sent all the good ones away.” When they left with very few souvenirs, they announced that they had taken over 1,000 photos with their two cameras; and with a promise from us to come to Australia.
Dorothy Heller, Historian