Yesterday, for those who don’t know, was the Melbourne Cup. If you are NOT Australian, you may not be aware of this horse race that, quite literally, stops this nation.
My cousin Em, holds an annual ‘race day’ at the property she helps run with her husband, which coincides with the Melbourne Cup. It’s huge and colourful and FUN. During it, she organises fundraisers for Men’s Health – especially using the Mo for Movember angle to get blokes to stop working (it takes a bit out here for that to happen) and get involved in a fun way. And while I want to pay tribute to the endless energy and goodwill of my amazing cousin Em, this post is really about someone else.
Let me explain…
Out here, men work really hard. Women do too, of course, especially the ones who work beside their men. But the blokes are amazing – hard, physical, taxing work day in, day out. Many don’t really take weekends, and often head out to start their days before most of us have breakfast, and are home well after dark. On the whole, they love their jobs – it’s rewarding to see landscapes flourish, cattle in prime condition and content, baby calves on the ground safely. But it’s exhausting and it can be heartbreaking. Sometimes its the weather, the droughts or floods. Sometimes its the animals, if there is an accident or if sickness sets in. Sometimes the markets, over which the farmer has no control, that take finances deep into the red. And sometimes its the sheer distances they face to do ANYTHING.
My man is among this brave brigade of blokes who tackle the endless daily tasks, and deal with the unending list of challenges unique to this calling, to help feed his family… and also this country. (You think I was joking when I chose the blog name for him, but really, I wasn’t). He does it with a fair bit of pride. My father and his father were (and are) the same. I think they are all incredible.
In this day and age, bush blokes not only shoulder a mountain of real old-fashioned work, but they also have to be astute businessmen in technology-driven world, and meet a whole different set of expectations (than their predecessors) when it comes to being a father and being a husband. It’s an-often precarious juggling act to make sure they fulfil all these roles. And to keep their senses of humour too? Quite the challenge…
So we all talked out boys into putting their work aside for a day, along with their razors for a week, and dress up for the Bush Race Day.
Mr Incredible spent a few days growing this little beauty – I call it The Porn Star Handlebar – and he took out second prize on the day. (He was pipped at the post by my brother – what can I say, I am surrounded by hirsute menfolk!). Dash even had an (eyeliner assisted) chin stripe to get into the spirit (you can JUST see it in this pic).
That’s my brother second from the right. (Our stationhand Lachy on the left, my cousin L and our neighbour D – Lachy and D didn’t attempt the moustache-growing… at least I don’t think they did!). They are all great blokes (they can pay me later) but today I am going to
embarrass pick on single out someone else.
Do you remember Em’s husband… J?
You might recall this event in January? (Check out the link – it’s a great example of what I am trying to illustrate here). J is an ex-rodeo clown and seriously does NOT seem to experience fear or caution. Which is fabulous if you ever need rescuing… I’d put good money of J being the man to jump in and save the day.
He’s a go-getter who regularly gives his wife and in-laws heart palpitations with his adventures (and occasionally resulting injuries!). His absolute fearlessness stretches to his ability to take the mickey out of himself…
He and his mate had the crowd in stitches with his antics during the Fashion Parade. (Loving the lunch box and the socks-and-thongs combo, mate!)
But when it comes to his family, his three divine kids and especially his gorgeous, energetic wife, J gets pretty darned serious.
He made a speech during the Cup Day yesterday that had one or two of us choking back the emotion… I don’t need to tell you what he said in paying tribute to his beautiful wife, as he asked those present to applaud her efforts. I’ll just let you see the look on his face.
They come in all shapes and sizes, but they are the best, baby. Blokes like J and my husband. They may be hard and tough and wiry (and funny and wonderful), but they need to know how much they are valued as anyone. I reckon a little positive feedback (in a world that often finds something negative to say) is the fuel that keeps them running, these amazing blokes.
I hope our bush blokes (whichever corner of the world they work and play) all know how important they are.