Month: January 2015

A Tough Poem

When I was a kid, I often heard that life was tough and that I had better get used to it. The words came from my parents, my parents’ friends, my uncles and my teachers, to name but a few.

There have been times when life has definitely not been easy for me, but very often those times were of my own making.

I prefer to believe that life is good, if I choose to make it so. For me, the glass is half-full or even three-quarters full.  I have been blessed with good health and a reasonably quick mind. The combination has led me into many wonderful situations and, yes, a few tricky ones. Overall, my life has not been tough…but I think I have been.

I have been able to fight my way through the tricky times. My dear old dad used to say that it was all about 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. ‘Don’t let the ba%$#**ds grind you down,’ he would tell me. ‘Nil bastardi carborundum.

Despite two years of Latin in Junior High school, I didn’t know if that was real Latin or Dad Latin, but I got the message.

Don’t give up. Life is what you make it. What you put in, you get out. 

It works for me.

Here is a poem by Mykal Osie.  I like it. It says it all for me.  Like the song says, “When the going gets tough,…….”


Times are tough
Tough times
Tough as old boots
Tough talk
Tough place to be
Tough people
Tough as nails
That’s tough
Tough luck
Tough it out
Tough call
Tough break
Get tough
Tough nut to crack
Hang tough
Tough act to follow
Tough love
Tough cookie
Tough guy
Toughen up
Tough shit

Tough isn’t eloquent
Tough isn’t tasty
Tough isn’t beautiful
Tough isn’t happy
Tough isn’t sunshine
Tough isn’t positive
Tough hasn’t any deportment
Tough isn’t comfort
Tough doesn’t compromise
Tough doesn’t smile a real smile
Tough don’t do pleasant
Tough don’t do easy
Tough isn’t soft
Tough isn’t fluffy
Tough ain’t kind
Tough ain’t reverent
Tough isn’t pleasure
Tough don’t mind either way
Tough can be cruel
Tough can be callous
Tough can’t care
Tough is cold and wet

Tough gets results
Tough gets you there

If you can’t do tough
That’s just …..

Mylal Osie

You can see more of Mykal’s work at


Summer Holidays

When I was a kid the summer holidays seemed to go on forever.

It was a wonderful time, full of adventure and experimentation. I don’t remember ever being bored. So it amazes me, when I am out and about at this time of year,  to hear the wails of children –‘I’m bored!’

My brother, my cousin and I never had time to be bored when we were on holidays. We had all manner of weird and wonderful things to do – some fun and safe – some not so safe. Greame did like to make things explode…but that’s a whole other story.

My dad had two weeks annual vacation. For those two weeks we were small prisoners of whatever exciting holiday adventure Dad had planned for us, but for the other four weeks my brother and I usually hung out with our neighbourhood friends. Sometimes, however, Mum would send us off to stay with our aunty who lived at the beach.

Well, to be precise, she lived beside the mouth of Currumbin Creek. Currumbin beach is a beautiful surfing beach on Queensland’s Gold Coast. The sand is white, the waves are great and the beach itself is wide and safe.


Currumbin Creek -actually a river by the time it reaches the coast – runs into the ocean at the northern end of the beach.

When the tide is low, there were sand banks in the centre of the creek where the local fishermen dug for sand worms to use was bait. For us kids, the sand banks were out of bounds unless we were accompanied by an adult. Nobody seemed to mind us crawling in and out of the machinery in the sand works on the point, but we weren’t allowed to wade out to the sand banks.  Go figure!

It happened that, one afternoon, my Uncle Herbie decided to go bait hunting…and…he took my cousin, Greame, and me with him. We were ten and full of energy. I think Aunty might have been glad to be free of us for an afternoon. We gathered up buckets, nets and the yabby-pump and paddled out to the middle of the creek. Heaven! We were on the sand banks! Yay!

All was well until Uncle Herbie realised that the tide was coming in. Hmmm. The channel over which we had waded was already too deep for Graeme and me to walk through, so Herbie made the decision that we should cross to the other side of the creek. Off we went. 

“No worries, kids. Grab my hands,” called Herbie. “It’s only waist-deep.”  And it was…..for him.  Greame and I walked on tip-toes as the fortunately slow-flowing water lapped our chests. Eek! 

We made it to the other side and were then faced with another problem.  The road bridge leading back over the creek was quite a way from where we were. It would be quite a walk through mangroves to reach it.

Again Herbie had the answer….the railway bridge. (Sigh) It was right there, close by, easy to climb up to. Again, off we went.

There were no sidewalks on the railway bridge, just the sleepers and the tracks. One had to hop from one sleeper to the next or walk along on the track. No problem…just don’t look down.

Herbie assured us that there were no trains due so we could take our time.

We made it….and were carefully climbing down into the waiting arms of my aunty when the train from Brisbane chugged over the bridge. Phew!  

Now that’s the kind of adventure that made the holidays fun and memorable – never boring – for me.  

Did you have any adventures when you were a kid on holiday?