We were like Laurel and Hardy. I was Stan Laurel, thin and dour. Big Brad was Oliver Hardy all over. He was big and rambunctious, so big in fact that you felt cooler in his shade in summer. We were pals many years ago when I was working in South Australia’s mid north. After work we would arrange to meet in a pub, one of four in the town. Big Brad lived in the town but I took a room in the one of the hotels.
I also saw him in the morning before work. I would get up early and have a run around the town and found him one day on the local sports ground. He ran too but that was just to limber up, he was in fact a shot putter, one of the best in the state.
Because it was so hot in summer you tended to do things according to the weather so you exercised in the cool of the morning and you drowned your sorrows with beer at night. The bars then were still men only. Ladies went in the Ladies lounge and men were not permitted unless accompanied by a female companion!
I often changed my allegiance with the hostelries there. Either I would fall out with them or they with me. I used to have a room in a hotel for the week I was away from home. That was it, a room. The communal bathroom and toilets were at the end of the corridor. One landlord of a pub I stayed at said I could move on after a week or so as I didn’t drink enough at the bar!
Big Brad loved his food. One pub had a steak night for some ridiculously cheap price. So we went. I ordered mine and he ordered two! While I was still getting mine down, he looked up from his plate which was all but empty and said “Aren’t you going to eat that?” pointed his knife at the fat and gristle I had cut off of mine. I shook my head and immediately it left my plate and was down his throat in a flash. “It’s a crime to waste food”. He admonished me.
His appetite for beer was also great but not his capacity to hold it. After one night out when we left the pub, seeing that he was a bit unsteady on his feet I offered him a lift home which was only a few streets away. He nodded in agreement, went round to the passenger seat and instead of getting in slowly buckled to his knees and leaned against the car. It took me what seemed like twenty minutes and with considerable effort on my part to manoeuvre him away, open the door and somehow get him into the car.
As I write this piece, with my back playing up again. I wonder whether that all started so many years ago getting Big Brad into my car.