I was driving down Pacific highway heading back towards west high street. I saw a sticker on the back of a SUV which had a crayfish on it with a blurb about Tuggerah. For those who don’t know the location it’s on the Central coast of New South Wales not far from Gosford.
My mouth watered as I was taken back in my mind to my hometown of Leesville, Louisiana where we’d go to get all you can eat boiled crawfish at the Catfish Junction. I can almost taste it as I type this on my iPhone. This spicy treat with hush puppies was a Lenten favorite of mine. When Adam first came to visit me I took him there to try it.
It’s funny how when you travel to different countries & they do their spin on a dish. It often doesn’t live up to what you remember. It’s made for the local palate. Every time I see Cajun or blackened I scoff because
it’s not what I am used too. Even if it says authentic I wonder because I had an aunt who made beautiful gumbos as well as étouffée which outshines the fares I’ve tasted in Australia. I can feel blessed that I know what it should be like & not an interpretation. I know this sounds prejudicial. I can’t help how I feel. I think Adam would concur with me.
There’s nothing like a bumper sticker to make the mind go on a journey or remember something to make you smile.
I have been driving back and forth from my piece of paradise to my newest place of employment which is at Park Beach. I am not going to go into details on this blog about my newest job. I wanted to share some humor about driving and road construction.
The Pacific Highway is undergoing an upgraded between Sapphire and Woolgoolga. It will save travelers eight minutes when it is finally completed. The Woolgoolga bypass had been completed right before Christmas 2013. They are about to do another switch back on Monday somewhere on the stretch of highway between Sapphire and Moonie Beach or Emerald Beach so I could probably write details about that as well because they are expecting delays. Thank goodness I don’t have to go to work Monday when it actually happens.
I have heard some people complaining about the speed that the construction is undertaking but I just laugh at them in my head because I can recall living in Louisiana as a child and our parish priest was talking about the construction of 4 lanes between Leesville and Alexandria. The actual year it got completed was 2006 I believe. The priest was talking about this in 1976 or even earlier. When Adam and I moved to the northern beaches of the Coffs Coast it was announced that they were going to do the upgrade in 2010. It is projected to finish in 2014. I believe they will do it on time but even if they don’t I think they will bet the Louisiana project hands down.
My enjoyment of travelling or driving isn’t hampered that much due to this construction. Many trees have been cut down. There are some really spectacular views that I have noticed especially when heading from Woolgoolga to Moonie Beach. I never noticed the mountains until the construction was taking place. I know it can be a bit bottle necked after Moonie Beach going into Coffs Harbour but when it’s finished I think the flow will be much smoother.
During my morning drive an ambulance was going south on the Pacific Highway. I was pulling to the left as you do in Australia when the person behind me tried to pass until they realized why I was pulling over. They moved over to the side as well. I had always wondered if I would have gone to the right instead of the left. I might have at one time when I first moved to Australia but it’s now second nature for me to keep to the left.
I wonder if they will bypass Coffs Harbour one day; however, even if they do, I don’t think it will stop the tourists from coming to the Coffs Coast. It’s a really wonderful place to visit. They might even get the sea change bug and decide to stay like we did. I wouldn’t blame them but I got my piece of paradise staked. Visitors are welcome but this yaussiechick is here to stay even if there is road construction.
Sometimes you think that you don’t really influence things around you or impact others but I came to a realization the other day after reading on Facebook about the death of a former coach whom I had as a homeroom teacher when I was in Seventh grade. Coach Causey was a really awesome teacher. He inspired a lot of students. I was really shook up and still can feel the effects of knowing he’s not back in Leesville. I feel so sad for his family because if I feel this bad, I can imagine how much worse it is for them since I have lost my own parents. I have an inkling of the sense of loss that they are going through at this exact moment.
The role of the teacher is quite important in my eyes. Although I don’t have qualifications as a teacher through university training I have done scripture teaching in Australia voluntarily for a few years. I have stopped for now because I am doing a sort of hiatus on that. I felt strange teaching scripture in a public classroom even though the parents have chosen for the children to attend the half hour course that our parish church provided for the area where I lived. I found it very daunting at times because when I grew up in the United States, it was a no go zone. In the first amendment of the Constitution Thomas Jefferson wrote about separation of church and state. In some ways, I totally get where he is coming from because the government doesn’t have a right to dictate to its citizens how they should or shouldn’t worship God. It’s up to the individual to do so which is another reason why I pondered the decision to continue teaching the children in public school. The government didn’t supply the scripture teachers with any funds. It was truly up to the parents to decide if they wanted the child to go to the classes. There was separation of church and state to the fullest extent but I still felt funny. When I tried explaining my feelings to some of my colleagues they just didn’t quite get what I was trying to say. I suppose it’s because you had to experience living with the concept of separation of church and state. It’s like trying to explain to a natural-born Australian why Americans think it’s their God-given right to bear arms (not all Americans do but a majority would rather die than contemplate giving up guns because they feel so strongly about this constitutional right.) You just have a mindset that feels ingrained. I know I am making a huge generalization here but if the shoe fits, by golly, I am going to wear it. For me it’s like trying to explain mateship if you have never been to an Anzac Day presentation, you just have to be there to experience the camaraderie that Australians have down to a tea. One of the things I really treasure about Australia is how relaxed they can be. They know not to take things too seriously but they also know when to be serious. I find growing up in the United States that some Americans can be very narrow minded or think they are better than others because they were born in the best country in the free world. I know I was guilty of this impression myself for the longest time until I decided to move across the Pacific Ocean to be with the man I loved. It was getting away from the USA that I actually found the scales of close- sightedness fell off of me.
I feel as if I have digressed here but I am hoping to tie this all together because even my generalizations have a lasting imprint. Coach Causey had a great love for the USA. I don’t think he had ever left Vernon Parish but he really understood to the best of his ability about the sacrifice Americans have done to try and protect their country for their future generations. In his own way, he left a lasting imprint on me and I am sure on many others who were fortunate to be taught by him. He instilled pride and respect to me about the great country of my birth. My own father served his country to the best of his ability.
In every life we come across, we do leave a lasting imprint. Sometimes the imprint maybe of love and happiness. Sometimes the imprint maybe of hurt and pain but I really hope that the lasting imprint I leave behind is of compassion, forgiveness, and love. In the end that is what I really want to strive for leaving a lasting imprint of love, peace, and tolerance.
What would you like to leave as a lasting imprint for future generations?