Autobiography Dieter Rolf Fischer Book 11
(Photos by the author, unless stated) Book 11 / Ch. 13 Written / Published 31.12.12 / 3.01.13
This and the next chapter tell of experiences at the end of 2012. Following this, God willing, we shall continue our European adventures.
"The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 40, 5).
13. The Happy Wanderer(s) IVI
It had been only ten weeks since I had returned from overseas. Plus, it was very close to Christmas. Still, for a number of weeks I had had an urge to take a trip to Sydney, the city I hold many fond memories of. In the weeks leading up to the long trek to the East of our vast continent, I had been delivering 5000, or so, Yellow Pages phone books. The trip was to reward myself for all the hard work I had done.
Had things gone to the original plan, my friend, who had helped with the phone books, would have taken the trip with me. However, his elderly mother had died in mid December. He had to arrange the funeral and all that's involved, after a parent dies. That's how I came be driving my little, green, one-litre Suzuki minivan east on Sturt Highway on the morning of Thursday, December 20th 2012.
The shortest route would have been via Lameroo, Pinnaroo and Ouyen. That morning I preferred to drive via Renmark in the Riverland and Mildura. Either way would lead across the Hay Plains to Narrandera, where I had planned to stay the night in my new, two-person tent.
If I had any doubt about taking this trip so close to Christmas, a doubt shared by my family, it was removed from the moment I woke that Thursday morning. Knowing I would be travelling to Narrandera that day, how could I not be surprised to read the digits on my clock radio? I had woken, without setting the alarm, at 5.07 AM.
But there was more, a further twist in this saga. I had packed and was almost ready to leave on my long road trip to Sydney. I felt I had to email somebody with the tale of my wake-up time. Just as I did, God's timing is amazing, on Radio ABC 891 Adelaide a young man was giving the weather forecast for that day. It was just before the 7 AM News. That was our son, Jonathan, speaking from the Kent Town weather-bureau. (He does this about every two weeks or so, when on duty during the early morning shift. It was he, who had travelled with me, when we saw the 50/7 cloud near Narrandera.)
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Narranderra - TOP PUB
No cloud in the sky over Narranderra on Dec. 20th, 2012.
If you think that's WOW - so did I. On the same evening of this discovery, on Sat 29/12/12, I was riding my bicycle in Port Adelaide. I carried my camera and took this WOW picture. (More about this bike ride in the next chapter).
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At Narranderra, after erecting my tent and cooking some dinner, there was sufficient time to take a brief ride around this country town. Crowds of people did their Christmas shopping, or were just enjoying the long summer evening, the longest of the year (almost). The voice of a female country music singer echoed up and down the main street. She sang an interesting (not) Christmas carol; the lyrics rather different: "I'll be there before the next teardrop falls..." I was unsure, where the voice originated from. It sounded professional. It possibly was a recording.
Just off the main street, outside the CRC (Christian Revival Centre) church, life was happening. A Christmas sing-a--long would have been just the thing I would have loved to end the day with. I was too late. There was no Carol singing, rather I had just missed a screening of a movie. A young man informed me they had just shown the movie The Crippled Lamb. As I left I could read the writing on his T-shirt: 'Memphis Tennessee'.
The next day my little green machine took me to Sydney. With the exchange engine installed about 12 months earlier (as reported in Book 10, Ch.11) I knew she'd make it OK. We arrived around 4 pm Friday 21.12.12, the day an ancient tribe had predicted the end of it all. (Read on, how for some Adelaide folk it felt like happening!).
One of the reasons for taking this trip in my Suzuki (registration plate WEW 228) was the football match between Adelaide United and the new A-League Club, Western Sydney Wanderers. I was a little amused when I put WEW next to WSW. (I saw ES).
Before kick-off I was able to briefly shake hands with the Adelaide Coach. (His name is John.) Did I speak too soon, when I praised his efforts this season? "You must be doing something right". His team had had two big wins at Hindmarsh Stadium!
The story was different at Parramatta Stadium. Our team was 3:0 down in the first half. The onslaught of the Wanderers did not stop there. Soon after half-time kick-off the blitzkrieg (news.com) continued - 4:0, 5:0. (They should have called it Bridge-Krieg - Mark Bridge scored a hat trick).
Being 5:0 down, supporters of Adelaide United really thought the world would end, as predicted, on 21.12.2012. To top it off - spooked numbers? It was Round 12 of the season!
There was a glimmer of hope for Adelaide in the 68th minute. No. 10 Vidosic managed a consolation goal. Had it stayed that way I could have at least linked the 1 - 5 / Adelaide twist, written earlier in this chapter, into it!
But the Wanderer fans were hungry on that warm, humid night, just before Christmas 2012. They had acquired the taste for goals. The young team had so far only managed 7 goals during the previous 11 rounds. Their appetite made them shout louder and louder: "WE WANT SIX, WE WANT SIX". In the *90th minute they got it!
The 6:1 result was among the worst I had witnessed as a United supporter. Two previous blitzkrieg defeats came to mind. A 5:0 thrashing in a semi-final by Perth Glory, after a 38-hour, 2700 km road trip by bus to the West Australian capital. The other big defeat was in Melbourne's Etihad Stadium - 6:0 in the grand final.
Looking at my odometer reading on the dash of my Suzuki, I felt like texting the coach:
Being enthusiastically passionate about sport is one thing, letting you spoil your day, when your team loses, is another. I had made up my mind that this sporting result was not going to dampen my mood during my Sydney adventure.
Driving all this way for one football match would've been a waste, even with a win. I had booked into the small YHA Hostel in Glebe for two nights. Besides the hot room, no air-conditioning, fans only, I had a comfortable stay. I wanted to make the most of that Saturday (22.12), and enjoy the beautiful city on the harbour. I had landed there from Germany in July 1969, 19 years old, never been kissed.
Sydney is where I met my future wife. We were married, after an 20 months courtship, in a little church in Neutral Bay. The views from across the road of the church, which has now become a cultural centre, are stunning.
The cycle path over Sydney Harbour Bridge is on the eastern side. Pedestrians must use the Western side. There was hardly any bicycle traffic on the bridge, so I set up my camera for a photograph of myself. (Earlier, at the Rocks, a lady had offered to take my photograph. She took one, then promptly took another. I smiled to myself.)
As I was busy with my camera I noticed a train was approaching. Since the tracks are right beside the cycling path, I paused, knowing the vibrations would spoil the picture. As I did, I watched the train go by. Nothing special, except the carriage numbers. Actually, it was not the numbers, I could not read them, it was the letters that went with them. There were only two, D and N, a few of each. It meant nothing at first, until about an hour later.
At the Kirribilli side of the big bridge a market was held. Locals and tourists mingled, shopping for that special gift for their relative or friend. I spotted a stand, where a young man sold just one item - a book called THE MAN PLAN. The name intrigued me. I enquired some more and was assured that the contents, which looked very well illustrated was all good. It supposedly covered many subjects any young man should know about. (I admit, I liked the title too, and the statement on the cover that it sorted out a wild guy like Wil Anderson!)
My three sons might read it, I figured, since it was not a religious publication. However, on the first page I discovered bad language. Not merely the word s.h.i.t. - worse. Why write: "...they were ultimately f *** lonely, when you can express the same meaning by "they were ultimately very lonely'? (I feel I ought to ask for my 20 Dollars back). Authors should be the last to be propagating bad language!
Perusing the stalls at the market, after eating my bread roll and apple for lunch, I had an idea. I wanted to take a picture of the nearby Hotel, where my wife and I spent our first night after our wedding on 24/7/71. It took only a short ride beside the bridge approaches to find the place. Next - one thing led to another - letters and numbers!
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The next stop on my walk down memory lane in Sydney was an address I had stayed in Cammeray. I parked opposite No.301 Miller Street, not thinking at the time, how my Suzuki 228 matched.
The landlord back in 1970 had been a Czechoslovakian couple named Siska. I have fond memories of my time living there. It was walking distance to church and a short *bus ride to my Issy.
While in Sydney I wanted to visit at least one relative, which I did. Until then it had not occurred to me that one of my nephews lived at 5 / 11 R.... Street. How all seemed to fit into place! We had a wonderful afternoon together, taking a drive up to the Northern Beaches. On those beaches I had learned to respect the ocean, the power of the waves, and not to play soccer on the sand without proper sun protection! I never mastered the art of surfing. Those beaches are famous for the sport.
My nephew took a picture of his wife and I.
My nephew and his wife had invited me to stay the evening for dinner. But I had to apologize, since I wanted to take-in a little Sydney Christmas that evening. Carols on the Domain was happening that night. On the 6 PM radio news it was announced that the fenced off area, where the event was held, had already filled to capacity (50 000). Undeterred, I still cycled into Sydney later that evening on my (Standish) Mission bike. (I felt this was part of my mission).
As did thousands of others, I watched the event from a distance, on the big screen. One big name, the drawcard for the evening, had flown in as a guest star - Rod Steword - (spelling???). He sang a song from his new album Merry Christmas Baby. The crowds loved Rod Stewart, and of course, Natalie Barr, the co-host the evening.
She was obviously was chosen for her charm, talent and popularity on breakfast TV. Maybe her name had also something to do with it - Natale, translated Christmas in Italian. (With the surname Barr she would also be well qualified to host an Easter presentation, singing rousing Easter hymns to celebrate ...?)
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Casually flicking through the WOW 13 Readers Digest shown above, my eyes fell on a word, and a picture almost at the same time. What came next blew me over, thinking that it was written after I had published Chapter 11 of this book you are reading. But since this only happened in Dec. 2012, and the RD Magazine was dated November 12, this was impossible.
My creative brain composed a story with real meaning from the data in the magazine. Take a look:
Readers Digest Magazine November 2012 - Article
A Light on the Coast
But there was more. Readers with a good memory will recall the number (71) and how I had photographed numbers on the bike path. The numbers were 100 and 7.
How surprised was I, as I turned the page in the magazine? There was a picture of a cross, in the same article of the Readers Digest Magazine. Not only that - I found it on Page 107:
Readers Digest Magazine November 2012, Page 107.
Why the * next to cliff (below the lighthouse)?
In recent days, as 2012 came to a close, there was much talk of the US being on a fiscal cliff. President Obama interrupted his vacation in Hawaii and flew to Washington to fix the problem. The news reported that the matter had been solved, for two months, anyway.
Friends, the world needs both - real truth, real love, real life. It also needs healing.
Tax cuts or cutting Government expenditure are not the answer to the human soul's need for a real saviour, who heals. Christ is the one.
HIS birth at Christmas started the healing process. HIS death on the cross completed it.
Now it's up to each one of US to accept God's gift and follow HIS ways.