Monday, September 18, 2017

Prayer of the Week

Compassionate Creator,
within and beyond all things,
holy are your names.
Grant what we need each day
in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes that bind us
as we release the strands we hold of others' guilt.
Do not let surface things delude us
but free us from all that holds us back
from our true purpose.
From you radiates all life and love,
the song that beautifies all.
From age to age it renews.
May your compassion be the ground from which spring
all our actions of body, speech and mind.


This prayer to the Compassionate Creator is one I've being praying a lot lately. In fact, I've been praying it at least twice a day – and always at the same spot: beside the tree that features in the photos accompanying this post. This particular tree grows beside Minnehaha Creek, not far from my home in south Minneapolis. I pause at this tree each morning and afternoon as I walk to and from my bus stop. You see, each week day morning I catch the #5 bus on Chicago Avenue, which takes me to the hospital where, since the end of last month, I've been working as a resident chaplain. I've discovered that my time of prayer at this tree is a beautiful way to prepare me for my chaplaincy work . . . as well as to start and close my work day. It has become a holy time, to be sure.

Perhaps not surprisingly I feel very connected to this tree. Also, the prayer I pray beside it is one which has long been a favorite of mine. I shared part of it at The Wild Reed back in 2009. Later in a 2013 post, I shared it in its entirety for the first time.

You might be wondering where this prayer comes from? The short answer is that it's a version of the "Our Father" which, in large part, is Neil Douglas-Klotz's translation of the Aramaic words of Jesus. I say "in large part" because I have adapted it somewhat. Douglas-Klotz's version can be found in his book Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflections on the Original Meaning of Jesus' Words. It can also be found online, here.

For other prayers I find particularly meaningful, see:
Prayer of the Week – August 3, 2015
The Most Sacred and Simple Mystery of All
Prayer of the Week – November 5, 2013
Prayer of the Week – November 14, 2012
The Art of Gentle Revolution
Prayer of the Week – April 12, 2010
A Prayer for Compassion

See also the following related Wild Reed posts:
Move Us, Loving God
Andrew Harvey on Radical, Divine Passion in Action
Active Waiting: A Radical Attitude Toward Life
Called to the Field of Compassion
"Window, Mind, Thought, Air and Love"
The Soul of a Dancer
The Art of Dancing as the Supreme Symbol of the Spiritual Life
Balance: The Key to Serenity and Clarity
Memet Bilgin and the Art of Restoring Balance
Sufism: Way of Love, Tradition of Enlightenment, and Antidote to Fanaticism
The Sufi Way
The Pagan Roots of All Saints Day
Celebrating the Coming of the Sun and the Son
In the Garden of Spirituality – Jeanette Blonigen Clancy
Beltane and the Reclaiming of Spirit
"I Caught a Glimpse of a God"
Integrating Cernunnos, "Archetype of Sensuality and the Instinctual World"
The Body: As Sacred and Knowing as a Temple Oracle
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Autumn . . . Within and Beyond
Winter . . . Within and Beyond

Images: Michael J. Bayly (April 2017, May 2017, and June 2017).

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Return to Sydney

Although I'm back in Minnesota and starting in on my chaplain residency, I continue to share images and commentary on my recent Australian sojourn.

Today's installment focuses on a quick trip I made from my parents' place in Guruk to Sydney on the weekend of August 12-13, 2017. I actually left Friday, August 11 and returned Sunday, August 13. Like I said, it was a quick trip, the purpose of which was to attend a very special birthday party.

Above: With my friend Collette, whom I stayed with while in Sydney. She and her boyfriend, Jeremy, live in the Green Square neighborhood of the city.

Above: With Collette in Goulburn in 1998.

Collette is the youngest member of the McGowan family, a family I first got to know in Goulburn, where Collette's father, Mike, had been the principal of the primary school at which I taught from 1988-1993. Before relocating to the U.S. in 1994, I taught two of the McGowan children – Jeremiah (in 1989) and Tess (in 1992).

I’ve stayed friends with all the members of the family ever since our shared time in Goulburn, and I always try to catch up with as many of them as I can each time I visit Australia from the U.S. Mike and Bernie's second eldest son Raph visited and lived with me in the Twin Cities for a good part of 2004. He visited me again in the U.S. in 2011. Back in Australia in 2014, he cycled over 1900 kilometers in memory of his sister Tess and to raise awareness and funds for melanoma research and prevention. (For more about this inspiring achievement, click here, here, and here.)

Above: With Mike, whom I hadn't seen since 2015.

Left: Collette (right) with her sisters Mim (left) and Dominica.

Above: With Collette – Saturday, August 12, 2017.

Above (from left): Mike, Jeremy, Collette, Mim, Bernie, and Dominica – Saturday, August 12, 2017.

Right and below: Tess's daughter Mabel, whose sixth birthday we celebrated in Sydney.

Above: With Mabel and Bernie (Mabel maternal grandmother) – Saturday, August 12, 2017.

Above: A lovely picture of Bernie and Mabel.

Above: Sydney's famous Habour Bridge.

Above: The Queen Victoria Building in Sydney's Central Business District. For more about this impressive building and its history, see the previous 2010 Wild Reed post, Sydney Sojourn.

NEXT: A Visit to Gunnedah

For previous posts in this series, see:
Australia Bound
A Visit to the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Overcast Skies
Austen and Australia
Donald Trump: A View from Australia
Photo of the Day – July 23, 2017
Return to Guruk
The Neoliberal Economic Doctrine: A View from Australia
Guruk Seascapes: From Dawn to Dusk
Good Mr. Dawes
A Visit to Sydney's Taronga Zoo
Journey to the Southern Highlands & Tablelands: Exeter and Mt. Alexandra
Journey to the Southern Highlands & Tablelands: Bundanoon and the Sunnataram Forest Monastery
Journey to the Southern Highlands & Tablelands: Goulburn and Canberra
In Coogee, A Very Special Birthday Celebration

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Quote of the Day

The simple facts are these: Senator Sanders enjoyed so much success in the primaries and Donald Trump won the election because they both tapped into widespread voter anger against the very establishment Hillary Clinton represented. And to top it all off, they both were simply more convincing and persuasive as campaigners than Secretary Clinton ever was or could be.

Think about it. Was there ever a time when Sanders or Trump didn't sound authentic and angry when they were on the stump? Love or hate them as candidates, they sure seemed like they were speaking from the heart. And their hearts were eerily as angry as a critical mass of American voters. By contrast, Clinton ran anything but an ad-libbed campaign with everything from her speeches to her tweets looking like they had been vetted by a team of advertising experts for weeks before seeing the light of day.

The Clinton campaign's repeated claims of how "experienced" and "presidential" Clinton was just made the case stronger that she was indeed part and parcel of the "establishment." It also made her come off as if she was perhaps unaware of the real concerns and anger so many voters hold to this day.

The Democrats and establishment liberals in general might want to start fixing this by following Sanders' personal example instead of bashing him. The latest Harvard-Harris poll shows Sanders is the most popular active politician in America. Leave it to Clinton's bad timing to release a book blaming him for losing the election just as that poll was released.

. . . What the political and media establishments don't get is that they all lost the election more than Donald Trump won it. It's probably impossible to prove or even ask about this question in a reliable poll, but Trump's victory was more about people voting against Clinton and all of Washington than people actually voting for him.

His stubbornly high unfavorable poll ratings give us more than a hint that this is true. But by continuing to attack him instead of changing their message, all of establishment Washington does nothing to improve its fortunes or esteem among the voters.

The good news for the Democrats is that Hillary Clinton's new book is an excellent example of what not to do and say for the next four years and beyond.

Related Off-site Links:
What Hillary Clinton Still Doesn't Understand About Bernie Sanders – Chris Cillizza (CNN, September 5, 2017).
Clinton’s Score-settling Frustrates Democrats – Jonathan Easley (The Hill, September 7, 2017).
Seth Meyers to Hillary Clinton: Lay Off Bernie Sanders – Laura Bradley (Vanity Fair, September 7, 2017).
Bernie Sanders Fires Back at Hillary Clinton’s Book Criticism: Stop "Arguing About 2016" – Matt Wilstein (The Daily Beast, September 7, 2017).
Sanders Brushes Off Clinton Criticism: "Look Forward and Not Backward" – Alexander Bolton (The Hill, September 6, 2017).
Bernie Sanders Still Towers Above Trump – Brent Budowsky (CNBC, September 5, 2017).
The Democratic Party Needs to Become a Workers’ Party – Scott Courtney (The Washington Post, September 4, 2017).

UPDATES: Hillary Clinton Admits Her '"Most Important" Blunder That Swayed the 2016 Presidential Campaign – Meredith McGraw (Good Morning America via Yahoo! News, September 10, 2017).
Clinton: I Am Done With Being a Candidate – Julia Manchester (The Hill, September 10, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Something to Think About – January 20, 2017
Election Eve Thoughts
Carrying It On
Progressive Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump
Quote of the Day – November 9, 2016
Quote of the Day – June 9, 2016
Progressive Perspectives on Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton
Hope, History and Bernie Sanders
Quote of the Day – March 9, 2016
Super Tuesday Thoughts on Bernie Sanders
Quote of the Day – February 17, 2016
Something to Think About – February 4, 2016

Image: Kristen Solberg.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Thank You, Frank!

In the increasingly contentious debate over marriage equality in Australia, Frank Brennan, a prominent Catholic priest and scholar, speaks out for what the issue is fundamentally all about: justice and compassion – the "common good."

Back in 2011 I offered a critique of Australian Roman Catholic cleric Frank Brennan's endorsement of the "gay civil unions" approach in advocating for the civil rights of partnered same-sex couples.

Here's what I wrote at the time:

[The "gay civil unions" approach] actively avoids applying the word "marriage" to loving and committed same-sex relationships. Under no circumstances, it seems, can a gay relationship be considered on par with a straight one. I take issue with this, as the meaning of "marriage" in the civil arena should not be something that the Roman Catholic hierarchy gets to dictate and control. For instance, if an opposite-sex couple that cannot or choose not to have children are still able to call their union a marriage, why can't a same-sex couple – many of whom are raising children? The Roman Catholic hierarchy's fixation on biological procreation as the defining characteristic of "marriage" lacks both reason and compassion. People recognize this. Indeed, it's a major reason why the hierarchy's anti-marriage equality efforts are being met with such resistance and hostility.

It's important to note that increasing numbers of people in civil society (including Catholics) have no problem with viewing same-sex unions as marriages, hence the emphasis on marriage equality. All this "gay civil unions" talk by a few clerics within the church comes across as a type of concession. This makes it difficult for many to applaud these clerics. Yet they at least are offering something, as opposed to the majority of bishops who want absolutely nothing in terms of recognition of gay relationships. Yet, truth be told, most people perceive the civil unions approach as being too little, too late.

Well, it's six years on and I'm happy to report that Frank Brennan has had a change of heart. Yes, he is now very publicly saying that, for the sake of the "common good," same-sex marriage should be legalized in Australia. He's also insisting that civil marriage should not be understood as an instrument of the church.

News of Breenan's support for marriage equality comes on the heels of reports that a number of elite Catholic high schools in Australia are defying church hierarchy leaders on same-sex marriage.

Why is marriage equality such a hot topic in Australia at the moment? Well, as I've reported previously, Australians will soon be receiving a postal ballot to share their opinion on whether same-sex marriage should be legalized. If a majority of voters support marriage equality (by a "yes" vote), the government will facilitate a parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage before December 7. Such a vote is expected to be in favour of marriage equality. If a majority of voters oppose marriage equality, there will be no parliamentary vote and same-sex couples in Australia will continue to be denied the rights and benefits of civil marriage. Both sides of the campaign have mobilized with advertising and media strategies to get their messages out. (Some of the strategies on the "no" side have been truly horrendous.)

Brennan's change of heart on same-sex civil marriage is the focus of an article by Michael Koziol in today's Sydney Morning Herald. Following is an excerpt.

In a marked departure from other Catholic leaders and many Coalition conservatives, Jesuit priest Frank Brennan said any concerns about religious freedom should be set aside until after a successful "yes" vote in the postal survey.

And he turned opponents' fears on their head, saying the increasing prevalence of same-sex couples with children was an argument in favour of marriage equality, not an argument against.

"We've got to factor that in to the common good argument about what's necessary," Father Brennan told Sky News on Friday, following his delivery of the Lionel Bowen Lecture this week in which he declared he would vote "yes".

The legalisation of same-sex marriage in like-minded countries such as Britain and New Zealand was also a reason to support change, he said, to provide consistency for couples who moved around the world.

He imagined the example of a married Canadian same-sex couple, where same-sex marriage is legal, who are in Australia. If one person were dying in hospital, their partner's spousal rights may not be recognised.

"That's a common good argument you've got to look at," said Father Brennan, who runs Catholic Social Services Australia and is a professor of law at the Australian Catholic University.

"They're the sort of arguments which have me saying 'yes'. We are now in a society very different from what it was a decade ago."

Father Brennan said he continued to espouse the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage - that it is between a man and a woman - but this had to be separated from civil marriage, which was the question before the Australian people.

"It's a very different institution from what is marriage in the Catholic Church," he told Sky News. He said concerns about religious freedom were valid, but should be dealt with by Parliament in the advent of a "yes" vote, and not "during the hubbub of a publicity campaign".

The comments underline a split among leading Australian Catholics, following an ardent defence of traditional marriage by the Sydney and Melbourne archbishops, Anthony Fisher and Denis Hart.

I appreciate and am heartened by the comments of Frank Brennan. I hope and pray that other members of the Roman Catholic clerical caste will seek and find within themselves the courage and humility to follow his example and be open to the reality of gay people's lives and relationships -- including the presence of the Sacred in their lives and relationships. It's been my experience that such openness and recognition leads people to seek justice and compassion wherever and whenever it is lacking. And that, ultimately, is what marriage equality is all about: justice and compassion, or in Frank Brennan's words, "the common good."

Lay Catholics have long been in the vanguard of the struggle for marriage equality, indeed the fundamental social justice and moral tenets of the Catholic faith mandate such participation. Whenever a member of the hierarchy joins us in this holy endeavor it is a cause of hope and celebration. Thank you, Frank!


9/2/17 UPDATE: On the question of civil unions, Pope Francis is now where Fr. Brennan was six years ago!

In a new book entitled Politics and Society, Pope Francis endorses civil unions for same-sex couples. Crux first broke this story in its sharing of excerpts from this forthcoming book, one which is actually a compilation of transcripts of a series of twelve conversations between the pope and the French sociologist Dominique Wolton. For the purposes of this update, however, it's Francis DeBernardo's analysis at Bondings 2.0 that I draw my readers' attention to. Writes DeBernardo:

Although many church leaders have suggested supporting such an arrangement in recent years, Pope Francis has never, as pontiff, stated his endorsement of civil unions so flatly. (He did support civil unions as a compromise to his opposition towards marriage equality when he was an archbishop in Argentina. As pontiff, he did make an ambiguous statement about civil unions, which inspired more questions than certainty about his position.) This new statement of support from him is a giant step forward. What is significant here is that he is agreeing to the importance of some sort of legal recognition of civil unions for lesbian and gay couples. I don’t think he will be campaigning for such legislation, but it sure sounds like he is comfortable with them and that he won’t be blocking them.

One can only hope that, like Frank Brennan, Pope Francis' thinking will continue to evolve so that in a few years he too will go beyond endorsing civil unions to calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the civil sphere.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The "Gay Civil Unions" Approach of Some Within the Catholic Hierarchy: Too Little, Too Late
Beyond Respectful Tolerance to Celebratory Acceptance
Marriage: Part of What Is Best in Human
The State of Marriage Equality in Australia (Part 1)
The State of Marriage Equality in Australia (Part 2)
A Catholic Statement of Support for Marriage Equality

Related Off-site Link:
Hate Speech in Australia Marriage Debate a Moment for Catholic Reflection – Robert Shine (Bondings 2.0, August 28, 2017).

Image: Australian Catholics for Marriage Equality.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Quote of the Day

Until we atone for our irresponsibility towards the Earth and commit to dealing with climate change, these weather catastrophes will continue. They are products of our recklessness as a species, and a wake-up call to all of us.

– Marianne Williamson
via Facebook
August 29, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
1,200 Dead; Up to 41 Million Affected in Asian Flooding – Andy Rowell (Common Dreams, August 31, 2017).
Hurricane Harvey Is Already the Worst Rainstorm in U.S. History, and It’s Still Raining – Eric Holthaus (Grist, August 28, 2017).
Harvey, the Storm That Humans Helped Create – David Leonhardt (The New York Times, August 29, 2017).
South Asia Is Also Experiencing the Worst Flooding in Decades, and the Photos Are Horrifying – Anup Kaphle (BuzzFeed, August 29, 2017).
Indian Prime Minister Modi Says Flood-hit People Getting Aid, Blames Climate Change – Nita Bhalla (Reuters, July 31, 2017).
Houston Mosques Are Opening Up as 24-hour Shelters for Harvey Victims – Samuel Osborne (Independent, August 29, 2017).
Just Before Harvey, Trump Admin Revoked Rules Requiring New Infrastructure to be Climate ResilientDemocracy Now! (August 29, 2017).
Climate Change and the Social Contract: How Our Choices Lead to Predictable Tragedies – Mridula Ramesh (FirstPost, August 20, 2017).
Ex-NASA Scientist James Hansen: There Is a Clear Link Between Climate Change and Stronger HurricanesDemocracy Now! (August 30, 2017).
Hell Hath No Fury Like Mother Earth Scorned – Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan (Common Dreams, August 31, 2017).

Above: Hurricane Harvey's aftermath: a Houston street on Monday, August 28, 2017. (Photo: Scott Dalton/New York Times)

Above: A woman wades through a flooded village in the eastern state of Bihar, India August 22, 2017. (Photo: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)

Above: People wait in a line to collect drinking water from a municipal tanker at a flooded residential colony in Ahmedabad, India – July 29, 2017. (Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters)

Above: Ofelia Castro leads her grandchildren across a flooded street as they continue an hours long trek from their flooded house in the Edgewood area of South Houston to a relatives apartment miles away. (Image:Robert Gauthier via Getty Images)

Above: People wade along a flood area in Birgunj Parsa district, 200 kilometres south of Kathmandu on Sunday, August 27. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Above: Indian one-horned rhinoceroses wade through flood waters at the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam. (Photo: Biju Boro/AFP/Getty Images)

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The People's Climate Solidarity March – Minneapolis, 4/29/17
Signs of the Times
Earth Day 2017
"It Is All Connected"
Standing Together
Standing in Prayer and Solidarity with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock
A Record High
Prayer of the Week – April 24, 2017
Earth Day 2015
Quote of the Day – September 19, 2014
Something to Think About – April 22, 2014
The Paris Climate Talks, Multilateralism, and a "New Approach to Climate Action"
Superstorm Sandy: A "Wake-Up Call" on Climate Change

Opening image: Houston, August 28, 2017. (Photo: Richard Carson/Reuters)

Monday, August 28, 2017

In Coogee, A Very Special Birthday Celebration

I may be back in Minnesota but my sharing of images and commentary on my recent Australian sojourn continues with a very special installment. . . .

As you may recall, back in April my Dad turned 80. Celebrations at the time were low key as something special was being planned for when I was back in Australia – a gathering of my two brothers and I with our parents in Coogee, a beachside suburb of Sydney.

We actually had two celebrations of Dad's 80th.

On the evening of Saturday, August 5, we gathered at the Coogee Bay Hotel for dinner and a birthday cake. That's where the photo above and at right were taken.

Above: Dad as a young boy in the 1940s.

Above and left: With Mum and Dad in Coogee – Saturday, August 5, 2017.

Given my Dad's history with the penny-farthing bicycle (below), I couldn't resist taking the above photo of Dad in Coogee on Saturday, August 5, 2017.

Above and right: Two more images of our (belated) celebration of Dad's 80th birthday at the Coogee Bay Hotel on Saturday, August 5, 2017.

This was the first of two celebrations for Dad that weekend.

. . . The second celebration took place the next day, Sunday, August 6, at the Coogee Pavilion, formerly the Coogee Palace Aquarium/Beach Palace Hotel (above).

For Sunday's birthday lunch I arranged for two of Dad's cousins – Clare and Joycie – to be present. It would have been ten years or more since Dad had seen these two cousins.

Above: Dad, Clare, Mum, Joycie, and Joycie's husband John – Sunday, August 6, 2017.

Right: Cousins Clare and Joycie as children in the 1940s.

Okay, here are a few more photos from the family archives . . .

Above: My great grandmother Emily Simmons, photographed sometime in the 1950s.

Known in the family as Gran, Emily was the maternal grandmother to my father and the paternal grandmother to my father's cousins Clare and Joycie.

Gran had four children, Isabel (my grandmother), Phyllis, Billy, and Tommy. Emily raised her four children as a single mother on the family farm, “Flodden,” in the Purlewaugh district of northwestern New South Wales. Her husband, Jim, died when he was quite young, and Emily remained a widow for the rest of her life. She died in 1982.

Left: My brothers and I with Gran, our great-grandmother, in 1976.

Above: Dad as a little boy with his parents Aubrey (Aub) and Isabel (Belle). This picture was taken in the early 1940s at “Flodden.”

Above: Gran's daughter Phyllis, pictured with Dad in Sydney in the late 1950s. "Aunty Phyllis" was my great-aunt and, I must admit, a favorite aunt! For more about Phyllis, click here and here.

Above: Gran's son William (Billy) and his wife Stella on their wedding day. Billy was my father's uncle and my great-uncle. He and Stella raised their two children, Clare and Trevor, in Tamber Springs.

Left: Billy and Stella's daughter Clare, pictured in the early 1960s.

Above: Mum and Dad with Clare – Sunday, August 6, 2017.

Above: Gran's son Tommy and his wife Donnie on their wedding day. (Donnie and Billy's wife Stella, pictured previously, were sisters). Tommy and Donnie also made their home in Tambar Springs.

Right: Tommy and Donnie's daughter Joyce, pictured in the 1960s.

Above: Mum and Joyce (Tommy and Donnie's daughter) at Dad's 80th birthday celebration in Coogee on August 6, 2017. They're looking through an album of old family photos that Mum had put together for the occasion.

Above: Joycie's parents, Tommy and Donnie, pictured at my parents' wedding in 1959. Tommy passed away in 1982, the day before his mother. His brother Billy had died one month earlier. Gran knew of Billy's death, though was too ill to attend the funeral. She was not told of Tommy's death. The two had a joint funeral. Like her sister Stella, Donnie lived into the early 2000s.

As well as arranging for Dad's two cousins to be present at his birthday celebration in Coogee, I also invited long-time family friends Jeanette and Cheryl .

In the photo above I'm standing at left with (from left) Jeanette, my brother Chris, Mum, my brother Tim, Dad, and Cheryl.

Jeanette and Cheryl's parents, Colin and Hazel, were good friends with my grandmother, Belle, and her second husband, Bill Smith.

Belle and Bill were known as Nanna and Poppy Smith to my brothers and I. To Colin and Hazel's children, they were known as Aunty Belle and Uncle Bill, even though thy were not actually related. That's how close the two families were.

Above: Belle (back row left) with Hazel and Hazel's three eldest children – Jeanette, Sue, and James. Cheryl had not yet been born when this photo was taken. I'm not sure when exactly this photo was taken but judging from the fashions, I'd say sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Right: As a young woman in 1967, Sue was my younger brother Tim's godmother.

Above: Jeanette and Cheryl's mother Hazel (left) with my paternal grandmother, Belle (right), and Belle's sister Phyllis (center). This photo was taken during one of my great-aunt Phyllis' visits to Gunnedah from Sydney in the late 1950s/early '60s. (For more photos of Aunty Phyllis (1913-1996) and her life in Sydney, click here.)

Above: My grandmother (right) and Aunty Phyllis with Cheryl and her husband Chris on their wedding day.

Above: Mum and Cheryl with Jane Worthington (center), another family friend.

For 40+ years it was a tradition for our family to visit the Worthington family on Christmas Day morning.

The picture above was taken in Gunnedah in 1985 and shows my parents with members of the Worthington family. From left: Louise, Peter, Andrew, Delores, Dad, Mark, Alison, Mum, and Jane. Absent from this photo are my two brothers and I and Sally Worthington.

Left: Dad and Jane – Coogee, August 6, 2017.

Above and below: A few more photos of Dad's (belated) 80th birthday celebration at the Coogee Pavilion on Sunday, August 6.

Above: My older brother Chris and Cheryl.

Above: Mum, Dad, John, and Joycie.

Above: You don't say!? . . . Joycie, Mum, and Cheryl, catching up on all the latest.

Above: The Bayly family – Sunday, August 6, 2017.

Above and below: Views of Coogee Beach – Sunday, August 6, 2017.

Notes Wikipedia:

The name Coogee is said to be taken from a local Aboriginal word koojah, which means "smelly place." Another version is koo-chai or koo-jah, both of which mean "the smell of the seaweed drying" in the Bidigal language, or "stinking seaweed", a reference to the smell of decaying kelp washed up on the beach. Non-Indigenous visitors to the area, from the 1820s onwards, were never able to confirm exactly what "Coogee" meant, or if it in fact related to Coogee Beach. Some evidence suggests that the word "Coogee" may in fact be the original Aboriginal place name for the next bay to the north, now known as Gordons Bay. Another name, "Bobroi", was also recalled as the indigenous name for the locality.

Above: A lovely photo of Mum and Dad taken back in Port Macquarie, August 10, 2017.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Happy Birthday, Dad! (2017)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2015)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2014)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2013)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2011)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2010)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2009)
Congratulations, Mum and Dad
Catholic Rainbow (Australian) Parents

See also:
Remembering Nanna Smith
Commemorating My Grandfather, Aub Bayly, and the Loss of the AHS Centaur
A Visit to Gunnedah
Port Macquarie Days
Europe 2005