Tuesday, February 23, 2010


This journey to the past is never ending but at least I have saved you from another scanned photograph.

It would have been my father sitting behind his prized possession, the TV TRAY. In caps because that's the way he thought of it. Coming home from the races on a winter's night, footy on the telly, fire on and his tea on a tray, he was in luxuryland.

So, we had a fight. I can't think what we would be fighting about at 8 a.m. when I was on the way out the door to the bus stop. I mean we were both so volatile we tended to keep a lid on things, going off to snarl in corners. My sister was a different kind of fish. She sulked, she could have sulked for Australia in the Olympics so with her, Dad sulked. They would go on for weeks until Mum did her block. But I'd explode and so would he.

The bus stop was right outside the house so I calculated the distance and flew out the door, having the last word as I went.

It must have been a good last word as he picked up his precious tray and threw it through the front door at me. He missed.

I did the only thing possible. I turned around and jumped on his tray. I flattened it to the grass.
And ran for the bus wondering how old one had to be for joining the French Foreign Legion.

He took the battered and broken creature inside and asked Mum if she thought I'd come home that night.

He rang about 3 and said Mum wanted to know if I'd be home for tea.

He was eating his tea from a brand new tray.

"Nice tray," I said. "Got it on Special." he said.


Anonymous said...

Red hair equals fiery temper. I guess your dad was too. I would rather an explosion than a long sulk. But how lucky am I? I am the receiver of multiple explosions.

Elisabeth said...

What a wonderful story, though it must have been awful at the time.

I live through episodes like this all the time with four daughters of equally fiery dispositions and a husband whose Irish blood and previous convict ancestry add to the mix.

Thanks, Jahteh. At least you didn't hold grudges.

Brian Hughes said...

I remember some bloke on the telly back in the 70s who used to sing 'Wagon Train' while smacking his head with a tea tray. (Good solid 70s televisual output by the BBC there.) Wasn't your dad was it?

JahTeh said...

I am also a thrower of any and all objects which I try to control since I have to clean up the mess.

Elisabeth, I try not to fight with my sister, it's like punching marshmallows, it gets me nowhere.
She's great at hanging up the phone right in the middle of a brawl. Her last statement which left me fuming was that I was so negative I was unpleasant to be around and this was during the centrelink/solicitor/estate agent/nursing home roundabout I was on. To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement.

Lordy Hughes, even if I remembered that, I'd try not to. But he did love his tv tray and Wagon train.

Jayne said...

They're collectors items now....tv trays, not parents although mine is gathering dust in her plastic urn atop the wardrobe...

R.H. said...

You stomped on daddy's TV tray?

naughty, naughty little girl.

I always knew.

River said...

There weren't any explosions that I remember in my childhood. We all kept pretty quiet, must have bottled stuff up I suppose. I don't remember my parents fighting either, but they must have, because they separated when I was 7.I still can't fight with anybody, I retreat inside myself at the first sign of disturbance and become a "yes" person. Anything to keep the peace.
I remember Wagon Train too, one of my dad's many favourites.

Kath Lockett said...


We *all* had our own TV TRAYS. And I'm absolutely sure that they were on special.

JahTeh said...

Jayne, I've graduated from the tin type to a nice wooden one but since I try to eat everything out of one bowl with just a fork, it sort of sits there gathering junk. Any flat surface near me gathers junk.

Robbert, it was a brave act on my part until the day I called him a @#%&ing bastard. I should have collected a VC for that.

River, my mother learned after many years that it wasn't worth getting in that last word.

Kath, I did make it up to him when a wedding present was two very expensive tv trays which became his.

Middle Child said...

Great stuff - a typical Aussie home it sounds like

Ozfemme said...

My parents were ridiculous snobs who would have us (their six RC offspring) believe that only Protestants ate in front of the television and would probably go to hell for it.

(Of course, it was perfectly okay that my father was cheating on my mother and my mother was emotionally abusing her daughters as way of coping but heyho....)

(I'm going straight to hell.)