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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Australia or New Zealand (01/15/09)

TITLE: My Favorite Australian
By Linda Payne


Australia is a place I have always wanted to visit, but, so far it has not happened. However, for five years we did have a little bit of Australia living next door to us in the form of a woman named Edna.

Edna, or Eddie as her friends call her, was a feisty octogenarian who lived alone having survived two husbands. Over a “cuppa” one day, Edna shared stories with me about growing up in the outback as a girl, eating kangaroo meat, living far from any friends or people, and eventually falling in love with an American soldier and moving to the U.S. where she has lived ever since.

She never had any children of her own, so when we moved in, she quickly adopted our two boys, Dan and Jon as her grandsons. And she adored our dog, Toby. For five years, Jon was her paperboy. Since their own grandparents lived far away, Edna often filled in as a surrogate grandma attending concerts that Jon played in. On the night of his senior prom, Dan went over to show Edna how good he looked in his tux. And, whenever we went on vacation, she gladly welcomed Toby to her home with plenty of “snackies” tucked away in her cupboard for him.

Perhaps because she is just naturally friendly, or from living isolated as a child, Edna loved people. When she didn’t have a group over to play cards, she was out visiting and participating in any number of activities. She was active in our church’s senior citizen group, played chair volleyball, was a loyal Cincinnati Red’s fan, and a fierce euchre player! Her bourbon balls were to die for!

When my husband was assigned a church in another city, Edna cried. We were taking her family away.

How sad that too often we wait until people have died to speak of how much they have meant in our lives. Through her indomitable and independent spirit, Edna has been an inspiration to me. From a young girl living a solitary life on the outback to moving to a strange country as a young bride with no family or friends to depend on, Edna has met life with courage and faith. So I am glad for this opportunity to tell Edna how much she has meant to me. I may never get to the continent of Australia, but I shall always treasure the little Australian known as Edna.

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This article has been read 646 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Connie Dixon01/22/09
Sometimes the relationships we develop outside of our own families are even more precious than the automatic ones. Edna was fortunate to share in your family for so many years. Sounds like you all were her favorite Americans. :o)
Joanne Sher 01/23/09
She sounds like she was a wonderful lady. I enjoyed hearing about her.
Myrna Noyes01/23/09
What a lovely and interesting woman Edna appears to be! I wish I could meet her! :)

I would have been fascinating to hear more detail about her stories of living in the outback and of how different she found the USA from Australia.

Blessings on your writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/24/09
You did a good job of introducing your lovely Austalian neighbor to us.
Beth LaBuff 01/24/09
This is a lovely tribute that captivated me as I read. Love the details like "cuppa" and "snackies". I could see this lady from your writing. There are some good spiritual lessons in this as well.
Karlene Jacobsen01/25/09
Great tribute to Edna. Memories are so precious.
Joshua Janoski01/26/09
You mad ea good point that sometimes we wait until someone is gone before we really reflect on how special they were in our lives.

Edna sounded like a wonderful person. Thank you for sharing her with us.