Hilda Oakley

Australian author and poet

   Oct 02

Adventures with Molly

It was another ordinary day in Janelle’s week. She’d thought that André’s retirement would bring them lots of excitement. But, two years on, things were just the same.

Janelle’s children were grown up and left home. With rearing children, and the burden of a mortgage, she and André had kept a tight budget. Now they had the time to indulge in the little pleasures of life that they had so sorely missed. But it just hadn’t happened.

Janelle wandered out to the letter box to see if there was any mail. She was a little surprised to find a business letter addressed to André from a Law firm.

As André opened the letter he gasped. “I can’t believe it! Janelle, wait until you hear this! Uncle Tobias has passed away and his solicitor wants to see me as soon as possible for the reading of his will!”

Janelle was cautious. “That’s wonderful, dear. But we don’t know anything about it yet. Perhaps we’d just better wait and see.”

On the appointment day, they arrived at the solicitors of ‘Rayne, Holmes, Hancock and Associates’. They were ushered into a large office. There was a long, highly varnished Board Room table and set around it were ten high-back, black leather office chairs.

As the will was read out, André was dumb-founded. He was the only beneficiary of the will and his uncle was worth millions. Janelle was shocked – but highly delighted.

By the time they arrived home, Janelle had begun making plans. She could mix with the elite of society! She could go to the hairdressers twice a week! She would have her hair dyed a rich mahogany colour! She could now fill her wardrobe with elegant, expensive clothes, shoes and hats!

They began living life to the fullest. They engaged in dare-devil stunts like bungee jumping, white water rafting and going jet-boat riding through shallow water and across rapids. They travelled overseas, first class, no less. They went to the best theatre shows and top class motels. They lived it up.

One night after attending, yet another posh dinner party, they arrived home about two in the morning. Janelle felt terribly unfulfilled and restless.

“André! Let’s do something entirely different. Why don’t we buy a four-wheel drive vehicle and see a bit of the country?” she suggested. André didn’t need persuading. He’d had enough of the “high-life!”

After perusing many car lots, Janelle screamed with excitement. “That’s the one we want!” It was a huge maroon wagon with plenty of extras, including a tow-bar at the rear and a winch fitted on the front bumper-bar. It was perfect.

Taking possession of their new car, they went to pick-up Molly. She’d be on the journey with them. All Molly needed was a new coat. She looked very regal in blood-red and gold.

They were on their way. They travelled for hours over country roads, heading into the centre of Australia. Kilometre after kilometre they journeyed, everything was dusty and dirty. It was a new experience for these city dwellers.

The time came when Janelle needed to stop for a call of nature. Up ahead was an old galvanised iron shed. The walls and roof were made of rusty corrugated iron sheeting. On the outside, crudely splashed in white paint was a sign, ‘Ladies and Laddies’.

As the vehicle came to a stop, Janelle leapt out and made a dash for the toilet door. She had no sooner sat down when there was a ricocheting, crash, echoing throughout the whole tin shed. It sounded like an explosion going off. Janelle came scrambling out of the toilet shaken and clothes all in disarray.

When she found out it was only André tossing a large rock on the roof, she was furious. “I’ll get you back one day!” she spluttered in anger.

To André, it was all just in fun.

Back on the road again, they travelled another thirty kilometres before reaching the highway. Here they found a smallgoods store where they stocked up on supplies.

André was a tease, “Don’t forget to visit the loo before leaving?” he snickered, with a smile.

Veering off the highway, they travelled down another winding road. Here they found the Off-Road traveller’s pub which had nice clean kitchen and showers available. Tonight’s cooking was going to be easy, sausages and a damper.

They became accustomed to travelling through the scorching hot sunny days or driving rain. The best time of all was stopping at camping areas or holiday parks where they had their ‘sing-a-long happy hour’ in the afternoon. This was the time they could enjoy themselves and meet new friends.

It always made them feel guilty, when they arrived in a new town and had to leave Molly back at the camp-site. They’d go into the town and supermarket to stock up on supplies. Molly knew they would always be back before nightfall!

On one occasion they had left Molly at the camping site and went for a short adventure and discovery drive in the country on their own. It happened to be during the wet season and their four wheel drive had become completely bogged down in the mud.

Janelle was driving at the time. Realizing she was going the wrong way, she decided to do a U-turn on the muddy road. With their wheels bogged down to the axle, they realized they were going to be stuck there for quite a while. An hour of manoeuvring backwards and forwards, then luck happened. A group of bikers appeared on their loud Harley Davidson motor-bikes and stopped to give a hand. Gathering dried branches, sticks and stones and using a lot of muscle power, they had the vehicle out in no time. It was time for drinks all around.

Then there were the days of beautiful sunshine, and the sky above a velvet blue. It was a time to enjoy the spectacular array of flora and fauna, to see the beautiful wildflowers and also meet some unusual and delightful people along the way.

Meandering along late one afternoon, after travelling many kilometres in the heat, they came upon a small clearing in the bush. It looked like the perfect camping area, a place to settle down for the night.

After setting up camp, they thought they could hear water trickling and gurgling nearby. They walked along a rough, narrow winding track, amongst huge lush emerald green tree-ferns and brightly coloured bushes. Then it appeared like a vision. A glittering, sparkling waterfall cascading down into a pond of clear water below.

“This place is absolutely magnificent!” Janelle shouted in delight. “I’m taking these dusty clothes off and going skinny dipping!” In a split second, without hesitation, Janelle was undressed and dived into the clear, cool water. André quickly followed.

They frolicked and splashed around like a couple of young teenagers, enjoying the coolness of the water and beauty of it all. As the sun sank in the west, moonlight glistened on the waterfall, reflecting its image in the pond below.

They emerged from the water and lit a campfire and toasted marshmallows. Then, with the moon shining above, they created a special memory, repeating their wedding vows to each other.

Janelle sat mesmerized gazing into the fire, thinking of her friends back home. They wouldn’t recognize her now. She didn’t really care about wearing posh clothes anymore. She wore her faded blue jeans everywhere. Her grey, mousey coloured hair was tied back into a ponytail.

André and Janelle were the happiest they had ever been. For Janelle, the simple life was the best. Happiness wasn’t something money can buy.

They both agreed that the best time of their life was when they were touring around the countryside in their four-wheel drive, towing their beloved caravan Molly behind them.


Hilda Oakley
Copyright 15.07.2013

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