5. Australia over all
The German anthem used to include a verse starting with “Deutschland ueber alles”, meaning “Germany above all”. After the Second World War the title was deemed to be too boastful. It was changed to “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” (Unity, Justice and Freedom).
A long-running, popular Radio program on ABC, broadcast early every Sunday morning, is called Australia all over. I enjoy the live interviews, hearing about people from all walks of life and from many places all over Australia and, occasionally, beyond.
The host Ian McNamara, “Macca” for short, had taken on “legendary” status in Australia. One Sunday morning, as I was getting ready for church, I overheard an old bloke tell a story. It was about a flash flood and how he had to rescue his wife. Something inside me stirred. My mind questioned the truthfulness of the event. I placed it into the “tall tales-basket”. The inclusion of the numbers 15 and 300 had made my digital antenna go up.
My social diary was free that Sunday afternoon. To sit and watch sport on TV would send me to sleep very quickly. So I composed the following poem about the story I’d heard and emailed it to the ABC’s Australia all over the next day.
Emailed ABC Aust. all over – Mon. 23/6/03
Roy the boy
Old farmer Roy was fixing his gate,
when along drove his wife, his bossy mate.
“I’m off to town, buy a dress, spend a penny,
Be a good boy”, his wife cried, her name was Jenny.
The elderly chap many times told his wife,
“When it looks like rain, take the Four-Wheel drive!”
Despite the dark clouds, he again was ignored,
He waved her good-bye, as she sped off in the small Ford.
Five hours later, the last nail firm in the slats,
The rains came pelting like dogs and cats,
His mind filled with worry, it seemed she’d gone a week,
Would she make it across the flooded creek?
He quickly got ready, put the Holden into gear,
It was a manual, the source of Jenny’s fear.
The creek’s level was high, had his nightmare come true?
Stuck in the torrent, the Ford’s roof an ominous clue.
Stunned for a moment – “Serves the old so and so right,
Forgive my evil thoughts, Lord; yes I’ll put up a fight”.
His beloved clung to bushes, 300 meters downstream,
Roy hobbled towards Jenny, who was cursing, with a scream.
“What took you so long, boy - I almost lost hope,
Stripped to his undies he threw the 15m long rope.
“Enough rope? Don’t forget to click in the hook!
This will become a chapter in my memoirs book".
“What? You nag me for not warning you of the rain?
Give me a break, Jenny – Why do I cop all the blame?
Wake up, my sweet girl; you’re not yet too old.
You either learn them gears or do as you’re told!
The caller’s wife name was Jenny, the name Roy I made up. As a driving instructor who teaches manual I come across situations as described in the poem regularly, e.g. woman taking lessons to learn gear changing. (I also have experienced how women can be very uncooperative and …) Going from memory, the original version on the radio program did tell of the man stripping down to his undies.
“Enough Rope” is the name of another ABC production, a talk-show on ABC TV hosted by Andrew Denton. I had sent the producer of E.R the following email on June 10th 03:
Dear Andrew Denton,
Last night's story of Joe Simpson's survival was truly remarkable. Can you explain
why a man, who had such fortune bestowed upon him, can say that the experience
confirmed his atheism? Why did you not probe the "religious issue” further, Still, full
marks for having the courage to bring it up.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS. Did you hear the story about a 5-year old getting
roped in? She supposedly got entangled in a balloon
and carried away 70 km? Unless it's all ballooney and
a journo got carried away first).
There were two reasons for this email. I found it incredible that after surviving under such miraculous circumstances, Joe Simpson had his belief in nothing (atheism) confirmed. (Joe told his story, how he got injured mountain climbing and miraculously made it back to base camp over a four day period). One would have thought that over those four days he would have called on God for help and thanked him for his rescue.
My PS referred to a story I read and found equally hard to swallow. The report read like this: An air show by UK forces in Germany had barely started, when a fierce storm hit the area. A five-year-old girl was accidentally lifted into the air by ropes, attached to a hot air balloon, and carried off in seconds. Her body, having obviously been flown along the whole time, had later been found in a field 70 km away.
Researching the internet, some facts did not make sense. My first online search revealed the story on a New Zealand website; why not a German one? There were reports that the rope, the girl had accidentally been tangled up in, was a “steel cable”. Another account said the rope, no mention of steel, separated the balloon first and then the girl got entangled.
A young man on the TV news described how the balloon (with the girl in it) tore off and disappeared in 1 ½ seconds!! Nobody noticed the girl or spotted the out of control flying object en route. One website gave the girls name as Isobel. My efforts to find her full name (or that of her British parents) were unsuccessful. I emailed a website (that of a cycling club in the town), asking if they could shed more light on the story, but did not receive any reply.
The town were the storm hit (the storm, yes – but the flying girl …?) was named as Rheinhalden. If I only replace the d with a t the English translation is “keep clean”. One photo on the web showed 5 British Army Semi-Trailers carrying equipment from the ruined air show back home.
The skeptical side of my brain was very active at this time. Initially, it had been stirred by news reports, which revealed that parts of the story of Private Jessica Lynch (Chapter 66) were dramatised or fabricated. In my diary, written while in the US, I had expressed some doubt: (Sun 6/4/03) “Jessica Lynch keeps being mentioned. What is that all about?” (I remember writing it, sitting outside the office of Mrs. Huntley. I could see the name “Huntley” as hunt lie!)
This was the reason I continued my probing, analytical vane when taking information aboard. I suspected another story was a ‘media tale that was a little tall’. At the midday news, on ABC TV, a new scientific project was reported: DNA mapping of Kangaroos. It sounded very plausible and most people probably swallowed the story just like they did their lunch. If it tastes OK, why think about the ingredients. But I again smelled a rat listening to this news item. I emailed our National Broadcaster’s comment line.
Would you have just gobbled down that our Government was spending a huge sum (the total project was listed as 2.6 Million) to map the DNA of Kangaroos? Perhaps I misunderstood something? If my outside the box email, which arrived in their Inbox, made me look a fool, at least I hoped to be more entertaining than other junk mail, like offers on Viagra, penis enlargement, diets or get-rich-schemes, which annoy us every day.
Congratulation to Jenny G. (World at noon 10/7). After 130 Million years it's about time someone looked at the DNA of animals. We should have done this in the first place, before worrying about human DNA. Now that they discovered DNA you can't get away with anything any more.
However, Kangaroos are not the ideal creatures to start with. Fish, as Jenny mentioned, also have DNA and the whale would be the ideal guinea pig (it's hard to picture a whale and a guinea pig at the same time, but I have never lacked in imagination). Humans have the closest affiliation with whales than any other animals, Wye?
Well you may ask Wye. Ask Jo na, he has lived inside a whale for 3 days. There is a book written about his experience bearing his name. Pro G. points out that the Y chromosome is larger in man than in animals, this is why humans ask why. One thing you will find is that the whale never asked Jona: "Why are you here?" After three days he got so fed up (pardon the pun) with old Jo, he spat him out at the beach.
The whale's relatives still commemorate this historic whale/human encounter by trying to visit us on the beach. Unfortunately, we don't welcome them, but push them back in the water. Many die of heartbreak, because they feel rejected, the rest lives happily ever after.
Please Pro Jenny, on behalf of all fishermen, I urge you to switch your research to the king of all mamas, the whale.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS On the news I heard there were doubts about Private Jessica Lynch (allegedly rescued in a daring raid from amongst Iraqi forces). I happened to have been in the US at the time. If anybody wants more info, please ask. She was supposed to have come from a place called Elizabeth.
DNA evidence has been instrumental in solving many crimes. My comment about “not being able to get away with anything” may sound flippant. But I pray that technology like DNA fingerprinting will never be misused and innocent people convicted. A corrupt system could falsely data; a jury would never know any different. Our best inventions only serve us when we use them for noble purposes with integrity.
My emails must have been confusing to anyone analysing them. Were my misspellings deliberate or was I just a bad speller? The answer is yes and no, to say it decisively. I spelled why wye for a reason. Many locals would know why.
As soon I had typed the name Jona in above email I saw how exotic the word would look, when cut in half. (The German Jona does not have the h – which doesn’t mean Jona was German). The un-provable, far fetched idea about the beaching of whales connected to the biblical Jonah was originally Isobel’s musing; a very clever girl, my darling wife.
Why then would an invented story appear on the midday news in a Capitol City on a Government funded television station? Three scenarios came to mind. One, the story was invented for a dubious reason. Two, the story was specifically broadcast to check, who would believe it or would anybody query it (perhaps Mr. C All?). Three, I was wrong to doubt its authenticity.
I risked being regarded at lunatic by sending emails that on the surface sounded crazy. If the stories (I had sent further emails about doubtful news reports) were fact, I was losing what reputation I had regained. The lack of response from the media confirms this theory, e.g. I was deleted like a spam trying to sell enlargement aids for the male anatomy.
Subtle hints, both from my students, the media or members of the church, gave me the impression that, despite my US trip, I was being taken seriously by some. (Mandarins never tasted sweeter). Those that doubted what took place regarded it as an outworking of my mental, uncontrolled mind. One day the truth of it all will come to light. I had many times expressed my faith in God and his power. Praying with a passion and desperation was the key that kept me sane.
One of the prayers during early April and beyond had been the safety of allied troops in Iraq, especially the Australian contingent. God had answered that request 100 %, all our military personnel returned without even an injury. (Early in the conflict a journalist from Adelaide was caught in an ambush and died).
The excursion to the USA was also a stumbling block to my friends in Germany. I had emailed a group and told them very broadly what I had been through and that I was battling corruption. I believed that those, who could read English, understood to a certain extent and were less critical. The others I either did not hear anything from or they were worried about my mental state. Almost all of them kept reminding me that my priority lay with looking after my family.
Was I losing the confidence of the people I had longstanding friendships with? One relationship started as far back as 1960. He and another close friend, one I had met at a church camp in 1964, were questioning my sanity. I could read their thoughts between the lines in their emails.
What further price did I have to pay to see this, my dream, come true? When I thought I had sacrificed enough, God seemed to be asking:
“Do you love me more than these?”