Monday, April 09, 2007

Onward Christian Soldiers

This afternoon I set off on a late afternoon walk, opting for a bush walk that is fairly rugged and has more ups and downs than the English cricket team, (sorry, just had to get that in!).

At the start of the reserve I came across two women looking rather apprehensively at the rocks, stones, earth and tree roots that make up the "footpath". Part of the walk is shown in the photo.

"Excuse me," one asked in an American accent, "Is this walk safe?"

"Yes," I replied, "As long as you stick to the footpath."

One lady looked again at the track and asked, "Is that a footpath?"

She obviously hasn't driven on Sydney's roads, otherwise she would have thought the footpath was in great condition.

Anxious to be the friendly, smiling face of Australia to visiting tourists, I asked where they we from. I wont name either the town or the state, otherwise it may give the incorrect perception that I consider these two ladies as being representative of both. I know the town and the state, and they are not. In fact until today, I have never met anyone from that state that I didn't like.

"We're here with a church group from *****" the one replied, then added that her husband was a minister there.

"Are you anywhere near *****?" I asked.

"Oh no. In fact I won't go there any more. Too many blacks, if you know what I'm saying".

Yes, I did know what this member of a church group and minister's wife was saying. Peace on earth and goodwill to all men - terms and conditions apply.

I ignored her remark, opting instead to provide a little background information on the walk she and her friend were about to embark upon. I told her that it was originally inhabited by Aborigines, who hunted in the bush and caught fish from the river. That is until the arrival of white settlers forced them off their land and away from the river.

Looking quite concerned she hypocritically commented, "Oh that's a shame".

I know I shouldn't have - but I just couldn't help it. Naughty Mike.

I smiled and said, "Just as well, otherwise you may have decided not to come here."

She looked quite hurt but obviously wanted to finish on a note of brotherly love.

"We wont hold you up any longer - you go ahead."

Oh thank you. How kind of her to give me permission to continue my walk. Telling me what to do in my own country - where did she think she was - Iraq!

I went ahead, leaving the Christian Soldiers to march onwards - towards a place I have mentioned here before - Blackman Park.