And the way it was during a Sunday pilgrimage to the dump that the revelation came. And I suppose all good pilgrimages have as part of their DNA some kind of new understanding, some sought-after sense of clarity.
So it was for me dear reader. It was not precisely a Citizen Kane moment, when through watering eyes I saw my long lost ‘Rosebud’ – my definitive childhood artefact strewn out before me. No, it was
just ‘luck’ that I met and ‘luck’ that since then I have thought of ...
Cast thy mind back now dear reader: Sunday, gloomy with showers and the dump has more mud at the tip face than the 55 flood. My phlegmatic accomplice realises, as we arrive to jettison our cargo, that he has worn his thongs. Error.
Suddenly however, the clouds begin to part, the sky juice ceases and a dazzling shaft of sunlight shines directly on the bonnet of our conveyance. I glance to my left and observe, on cue, a most remarkable sight: one of good fortune’s agents is hurling from the truck beside us rolls of luxuriant, shag carpet. They unfurl obligingly at my colleague’s door.
He alights the vehicle with a knowing grin and carries out his dumping unmolested by the sea of squelch which has enveloped the entire site. Remarkable!
Driving back, my spotless fellow-traveller and I discuss sporting chance – both good and ill. He regales me with a tale of a man who, because of his unrelenting magnetism for rotten luck, became known as ‘the black cloud’ – an inauspicious title.
Turns out that black cloud has, during his cricket career, been given out in every conceivable manner.
It seems that ‘things’ just seemed to happen ...
For instance, during a pre-season trial match, the umpires, in a spirit of pre-game good-will and made the announcement that they wouldn’t be giving LBW’s.
‘The black cloud’ decides to open …
Out first ball – LBW. The cloud was observed going home muttering, “That’ll do me.”
Such was his fame for cursed fortune, team-mates would at all costs avoid travelling with him for fear
of some beastly calamity befalling them.
And as ridiculously unfortunate some sports-people seem to be, there are others who, as they say, appear to have been kissed on a famous place by the fairies.
We all know them dear reader, the charmed ones, the blessed: Bradbury, Wally Lewis, Muhammad Ali …
A friend of mine, during erstwhile pool games at the old Calooda Cafe in Church Street would often, as an errant shot cannoned into a corner pocket, moan that something rhyming with farce would beat class every time. And he seemed to make a fair point.
They are the mystical few, who, by some design of nature are destined to receive the bounce of the
ball, the rub of the green, the extra good crack of the whip.
Or perhaps it is merely that fortune follows their bravery, their brazen assertiveness.
And many a Maitland boy and girl has been whispered to, by a wisened aunt or uncle the time honoured maxim: “just back yourself.”
And maybe that’s it. If one believes, then maybe that’s the heart of all battles.
Driving home across Louth Park, I looked out at the beautiful horses and foals grazing and existing here on the floodplain - and it occurs to me that I was dealt a good hand, I’m living in a lucky place.
Goodnight, and good luck to you.