Saturday, March 12, 2011

Big Brad



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.

18 comments:

  1. ohh, that's a good story... living in the land of oz a way back i could not get over that i couldn't go into the public bar.. i had to sit in the lounge by meself as the men partied on without me... i never forgot that... and then everything changed... i guess you could say you two were mates, eh...

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  2. What a lovely read, I can picture all your stories so clearly, wonderful!

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  3. That's a great story...I remember as a kid sitting in the Travellers Rest Lounge Bar with my female relatives having a fruit cocktail...Thanks for bringing back the memories:)

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  4. Hmmm, I've seen this happen myself. I've even heard of people pressing lawsuits against their former friends due to it.

    Makes me really want to know Big Brad. Sounds like my kind of guy! Thanks for sharing this with us!

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  5. So that's how you got your bad back. Should choose your drinking companions better - I only ever had to help Dave Bennett, and he was a 'titch'.

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  6. You do spin such a good yarn..I can picture you trying to squeeze Big Brad into a tiny car..it made me smile..thank you for that! Jae

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  7. Men were not permitted unless accompanied by a female companion - I appreciate encountering that in your story. It's a side of culture that's the opposite of what I am accustomed to. Oh, and I like your perspective on Josie's post.

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  8. A wonderful tale of a larger-than-life friend! Ahh, life in the "old days", it's wasn't so bad, was it? :-)

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  9. sometimes, a small act leads to big changes in life.

    eloquent writing..

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  10. Haha. I think he may owe you a bit of monetary condolences. Great story!
    My Blog

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  11. He was certainly a larger than life character! A great story perfectly told.

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  12. A sweet tribute and then a laugh out loud last line. As i get older, I too, wonder at the source of the decomposition!

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  13. The good ol'days. Liked the way, you went back into the past...

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  14. I like the way you wrote this!

    Here is my Sunday Scribbling post:
    unknown gap

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  15. Your back troubles? Maybe they did start then. It makes me wonder whatever happened to Big Brad.

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  16. I enjoy your reminiscences Old Egg. I can remember sitting outside the pub in the car because nice ladies and children didn't go to those sort of places. Dad would bring us out a drink and a packet of smith's chicken chips and we had to sit and wait for him.

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  17. I love the stories you write. I get to see life through your eyes and visit places I've never been.

    Thank you

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