We are moving into winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, and although we don’t expect any snow, we have had some chilly nights already – when I say chilly I mean high 40’s-low 50’s F. Yesterday and today we even had some rain – the first in a long time. It is actually a pleasant change to see a bit of rain and gray skies -it breaks up the monotony of those beautiful sunny days with an incredibly blue sky that we take for granted in Alice Springs.
With the cool weather, some activities fall off (I believe the town pool closes this weekend) and other activities pick up. For instance the world-renown Camel Cup is coming up the weekend of May 16-17. The Australian-American Association is getting its act together to host the U.S. Ambassador, William Lane, here in town that weekend. We have scheduled a dinner for him Friday night, a champagne breakfast at the Old Telegraph Station (a historical reserve which is also a favorite place for picnics and barbeques for Alice Springs residents) on Saturday morning and a barbeque outside of town in a dry creek bed Saturday evening. In the interim he will be an official guest at the Camel Cup on Saturday afternoon. In case you are wondering about the barbeque in the dry creek bed, it is a great place to have a barbeque. You can just dig a hole in the sand, pull some dry wood from under one of the trees nearby over for the fire and throw a metal plate over the pit to cook on. Since you are in the creek bed there is no worry about starting a bush fire. There are a number of places you can do this not far from town, but far enough from the lights of the city that if you just walk a short ways from the fire you have an excellent view of the southern night sky, and if you have never seen it there is no way to describe it. One night out of town to see the unpolluted night sky with the Milky Way stretched out across the entire sky makes the entire trip here worthwhile. But I am digressing …
A number of significant events have occurred in Dwight’s life. His mother finally gave in and allowed him to drive her car by himself. He took his girlfriend to dinner and a movie (in the same building, the Community Arts Center, which has a Bistro), which is located a whole 7 blocks from our house. I kidded Dwight that he had to call when he arrived, but his mother wasn’t kidding when she told him to. He called and I said, “Grimm’s Wreckers” Dwight did not think that was funny. Anyway, I had to ask him if he had locked the car and turned off the lights. I am glad Dorothy was not my mother.
Dwight has also won second prize for one of his photographs in a Territory-wide contest and in another contest which just ended, we haven’t heard who the winners were, but Dwight sold one of his photos to a couple from Sydney. So, now he qualifies as a professional photographer.
Toby has quite a few activities still going on – guitar lessons one day a week at school, bowling on Sunday evenings, French lessons and computer classes (after school) as part of the extension, or advanced classes he attends part time, and Sunday school. He is also the Captain of the “B” chess team of his school and they just had their first match against another school and did very well. He is justifiably proud that he is not only the only sixth grader on the team, but captain of the B team.
There are times when we don’t see Dorothy for long periods of time. The weekend before last, the Australian National Folk Festival was held here in Alice Springs and Dorothy almost lived down on the grounds where it was held. The activities ran almost full time from 9 a.m. until well into the night Friday-Sunday. Then, she put in a lot of hours at the office typing up the articles about the Festival. I keep wondering if she is so busy now writing articles for a paper that is only published twice a week, how she is going to manage if and when they start publishing five days a week, as planned.
It appears that we are finally going to get out of Alice Springs. We are tentatively planning to fly on the Air Force plane (which flies into and out of Alice every Monday) to the RAAF base outside of Sydney in July. There we will rent a car and drive up into the northern part of New South Wells and perhaps all the way to Brisbane and back to Sydney to return here on the Air Force plane again. (I had thought about flying commercially out of Brisbane until I found out it would cost almost $1000). Anyway, I have put in for leave and if it approved I will start to plan the trip in detail. I am looking forward to it – we have been here in Alice for almost a year without leaving.
Well, I can’t think of anything else fit to print so I will end my part of this letter and turn it over to Dorothy.