I was in Katanning last week.
It has nothing to do with this week’s offering. Just thought I’d mention it.
But now I have, I may as well go on a bit, since, it seems, going on a bit has become one of the characteristics of this column.
It is not the place it once was, Katanning, no way, a long way from it.
Well, it’s still on the same town site, with many of the same buildings and thank you, Katanning, for hanging on to those fine structures.
If you want to see a handsome looking town, with a sense of heritage, of the past, of from whence it has come, there are a number of them, but make sure Katanning in on the list.
I can remember back in 32, or 47, or more likely one of those years after the year I was born, walking upright, eating, probably talking, not necessarily making sense, but certainly able to remember what I did yesterday, when Katanning was not the place it is now.
If you said to someone: I was in Katanning last week.
They would respond: Why? Is there someone wrong with you?
It has, they say, the most culturally diverse community in this vast and handsome state of ours.
Not only that, in the local library is a young dude with enough energy to sell her excess to Western Power, sorry, Synergy, create a separate power grid and supply the entire Great Southern.
Not only that, you can buy a cup of coffee in town to better the one I bought the week before in Rokeby Road.
This week’s column, by the way, is about love.
But I’m not ready yet.
If you do drive down the Great Southern Highway and turn left at the sign for a fine example of the ancient craft of public building, don’t forget to drop into Mungart Boodja, an art gallery displaying the modern art of Noongar painting in the Carrolup style.
Inside you might find a man who could paint the world a vision of itself as it should be.
Ok, I’m ready now.
Love. That’s what this column is about.
Apparently there was a day this week when I should have remembered flowers.
I didn’t. I was busy in Katanning, or thinking about Katanning, or writing about Katanning, or missing Katanning.
This year is the 30th anniversary of my marriage to Hildegard, which is not, by the way, her real name.
Someone once told me, after I had taken Hildy’s name in vain in a public setting, that loud mouths such as me should leave their partners out of it.
So I do. In a manner.
Hildy knows I talk about her and write about her, but she, also, would rather I referred to her as Hildy.
Anyway, Hildy has been to Katanning. Just the once. A sad story. The marriage nearly ended there and then.
Sorry, I thought I’d moved on from Katanning.
Hildy and I are still in love. Isn’t that amazing, after 30 years of hell?
No, not hell, a long way from hell. We’ve had it good. We’ve been blessed. And Hansl, our son, also not his real name, but correctly spelt, is proof of our successful union.
He is, of course, a genius, a university graduate, high-income earner, tall, handsome, unattended, built like a Katanning farm-house, but does he visit, does he call? Yes, he does.
Hildy and I met in Katan, sorry, in Israel, on a kibbutz, in 1976 and we got married late the next year, in Perth, because the immigration department had her on a list of illegal immigrants.
And just to spite those bureaucratic bastards, we’ve been together ever since.
One of the first towns we visited during what I called our honeymoon, more a trip down south to see an old mate who promised a good weekend with plenty of beer and a side of lamb, was Katanning.
Hildy was bit suspicious, given I was vegetarian and drank spirits, but she was new to Australia and thought it best to go along for the ride.
She hasn’t been since.
Don’t say anything, she doesn’t know yet, but next week I’m taking her back.
I can’t wait to see the look on her face, because now, after all these years, you can feel the love in Katanning.