Dave Wright & the Midnight Electric, asked a few days ago if I'd be free to help with a 'project' on Sunday (yesterday). I said of course. He picked me up at 1:00. As we pulled onto a nearby street he said his wife Effie and their twin girls were at a park around the corner from my place. He asked if I wanted to say hello. I said of course. We parked and walked over to them -- one of the girls, Memphis, ran up and hugged my legs -- and after saying hello to Effie and the other twin Sophia, Dave tilted his head in the direction of picnic tables about 10 metres away. I looked that way and saw a good 2 dozen friends: Dave had organised a surprise goodbye picnic.
'Shocked' doesn't begin to describe my mindset. Later on in the day it occurred that I'd never been the recipient of a surprise party. Ever. It was like getting tossed into a pool of ice blocks. My friends, of course, melted those blocks instantaneously and embraced me in a hold that kept me from running back to my place and reclaiming my hermit throne.
Amid the colossal spread of food and booze everyone had brought, there was even a beautiful goodbye gift:
After Dave presented the gift and said several kind words I coughed up thanks and tried to express appreciation for the collection of people I've been lucky to call friends here in Melbourne. When Aradhna and I moved to Victoria in December 2007 we knew no one -- literally, no one -- in Melbourne. Bit by bit we began to make friends, mostly through her work, but for me the dam burst after Springsteen's 2014 tour of Australia and New Zealand. I found my Southern Hemisphere kin.
Who are, and always will be, brothers and sisters for life.