Thursday, 18 June 2015

A Kid's Outing in 1881 by Lionel Edgar Laws

Lionel Edgar Laws, my great grandfather,  took to writing poems in his 70's in the 1940's.
In this one he is  remembering a sailing trip he took with some teenage friends down the Brisbane River.
My cousin Helen Butler found this 1906 map of the Brisbane River showing the location of Parker Island. In 2015 Parker Island is no longer on maps of the Brisbane River

A Kid's Outing

It happened way back in 1881
We were on a sailing cruise
A crew of five, all in their teens
We hadn't had any booze

The skipper was the oldest
Was related to an Earl
At handling open sailing skiffs
No doubt he was a pearl

We landed at a quarry
And when we got ashore
There was water at a deserted shack
And lemons there galore

We filled a bag with lemons
And with water filled two buckets up
Went across to Parker Island
Where we'd made up our minds to sleep.

We were greeted by the pelicans
They strutted in their walk
One of the crew said "I wonder what
These birds would say if they could talk"

They appeared to be quite friendly
Their pitch we didn't queer
Altho' we were only lads
We didn't interfere

Then we boiled the water
And without a woman's aid
Cut all the lemons up
And made some lemonade

We opened up the tucker box
And drank and ate our fill
?? might well give a ??
Before they passed their bill.

The wind was freshly blowing
When we hoisted up the sail
It came and went in heavy gusts
But nothing like a gale

When we got into mid stream
There was a sudden puff
He tried best to get her around
But ?? was slow stuff.

??? Unfortunately no matter how hard we try we can't read his writing in very,very faint pencil.

I'm not sure that this would win a literary prize but I felt it was  interesting to know he and his young friends sailed down the river and camped. Making lemonade without  a woman's aid must have been a feat for them then. Too bad we can't make out the missing words. Do you try to guess what he might have written? I didn't have his logic so can't think what he might have put in the ?? spaces. Anyone else hazard a guess?