Do you know everyone?

“Jim, do you know everyone in Lismore?”, my nephew Sam asked me yesterday, half-joking. As long as he’s been alive, I’ve lived in Sydney. He seemed genuinely surprised at the number of people I knew, as we walked home from the Lismore Showground.

We were at the showground for clothes fitting for his Year 12 school formal.

Thanks to the charity, Thread Together, Lismore’s “flood kids” are eligible for some donated clothing and accessories.

“Jim, can you come with me, you’re the best-dressed person I know”, he said to me the other day. I was flattered, of course, and accepted the offer.

So on Thursday, we went over to the showground where there were “suit packs” already prepared in the correct size. The packs contained shirts, ties, belts etc. And he was able to select a pair of R.M Williams shoes, too. If he were to have bought this stuff himself, it would come to well over $1,000 in value.

As well as being for the school formal, this really helps set him up with some “adult clothing”.

Part-way through trying on his outfit.

Previously with COVID, and more recently with the catastrophic flood, the kids doing Year 12 this year in Lismore have been through such difficult times. Sam couldn’t stop smiling.

“How and why are you doing this”?, I asked the bloke who was one of the organisers. “Though I’ve lived in Sydney for most of my life, and I haven’t been home to Lismore in 25 years, I’m from here”, he told me. “Where did you go to school?”, I asked him, and he replied, “South Lismore” and “Richmond River”? Sensing he was about the same age, I pressed him further. When we exchanged names, we pretty quickly connected. Adam Worling was in the year below me at both schools.

I thanked him for the work he and others were doing. As we shook hands on the way out, I said I hoped we would see each other again. Who knows? I think he lives in Surry Hills, so maybe we’ll see each other at the supermarket? But in the meantime, we’re now friends on Facebook.

As Sam and I walked home, we stopped to talk to a few other people I know. That’s when Sam had the lightbulb moment that, despite living all these years in Sydney, I’m still pretty connected to Lismore.

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