Gertrude’s Diary #107 – What’s so Good about Friday?

Like many lapsed members of the Roman Catholic Church, I find Easter to be the Christian feast day most likely to evoke childhood memories.  As I attended a publicly run primary school, I am able to compare my own experiences with those of my classmates.

me:  “What did you do on Good Friday?”

them:  “We went to the Show.” (ie we spent 4 hours in sideshow alley knocking our brains around in our skulls.  Then we bought our own weight in show bags and spent the next day in a sugar coma.)  “What about you?”

me:  “Nothing much.” (ie.  I looked forward to the end of Lent and went to the longest Mass of the year.  The priest wore black and read an interminable Gospel.  There was a lot of shuffling.  Then we went to the Stations of the Cross.  Time stood still.)

them:  “What did the Easter bunny bring you?” (ie. On Sunday we got up and ate chocolate until we were nearly sick.)

me:  “One big bunny, four middles and six small ones.  (ie. We got up and fasted and then dressed in our best clothes and went to Mass again.  After that we went to a big family lunch that required us to sit still and not get our clothes dirty.  We were not permitted to spoil our appetites with confectionary.  Eventually we got home and were permitted the few nibbles of chocolate our bloated stomachs would allow.)

I may be embellishing slightly.  For instance, I remember that at least one year I was treated to an icing sugar egg, due to the fact that my twin sister suffered from migraines and chocolate was considered a trigger.  It was deemed unfair to let me eat chocolate when GertBySea wasn’t allowed.  At least the trip to church that year didn’t seem like such a chore.

We did eventually get to the Royal Easter Show on Easter Monday, or sometimes on the following discounted Children’s Day (or Scabs’ Tuesday, as it was otherwise known).  This week I’ve been reading Kylie Tennant’s Australian classic, Ride on Stranger, set in the Sydney of the 1930’s.  Tennant’s picaresque novel (yes, I did have to look that word up on to be sure of its meaning) includes a description of the show that outdoes any pale attempt I could make.

And how, anyway, to pin down only one year’s events, when each annual pilgrimage to the far side of Sydney brought something new? Would I describe the year we got lost and had to wait in the police tent until our mother rescued us?  The first year we rode the skylift (there were always a few thongs and loose fitting sandals beneath its path)?  The first year I caught the train home by myself?  The year I turned 22, when two girlfriends and I screamed and laughed ourselves stupid on the ghost train?  The year it rained all day and each new pavillion was preceded a mad dash through a downpour?  (Come to think of it, that year was particularly memorable for the pungent effects of rain water on fresh manure.)  The splendour of the Hall of Produce?  The spectacle of fireworks viewed from the top of the ferris wheel?  The delight of the Farmyard Nursery?   Ah, the heady pleasures of the Show.

Have you ever noticed that the acronym for Good Old Days is GOD?

One Response to “Gertrude’s Diary #107 – What’s so Good about Friday?”

  1. I remember the icing sugar egg and the fact that it sat on the sideboard half-eaten for about a month before being thrown away. Chocolate substitute FAIL.