“Do you need a lift to the showground?”, Pat asked me today. “You KNOW I can walk to and from the showground by myself,” I said to her in reply. We laughed (kinda) today as we remembered the time when I got lost at the Lismore Show, aged seven or eight.
Though it was about fifty years ago, I remember it vividly. Pat and Jack had taken me to the show for an afternoon of sideshow rides and fairy floss. Though I entered the “Haunted House” with smiles, they missed me coming out the other side. And since I couldn’t see them either, I took it upon myself to walk home.
While I happily enjoyed the roughly 3km walk back home to South Lismore, Pat told me they went into a complete panic. After searching for me everywhere, and putting my name over the public address system, they decided it was finally time to return home to tell mum and dad. I obviously didn’t understand the seriousness of it all at the time. It was a sign of my “independence” from an early age, we agreed.
Back in those days, it was standard practice to have a “new outfit” to go to the show each year. Going through the local Facebook group, lots of people are posting photographs from days gone by. From the fashions, you can clearly tell it was an annual major highlight on the local social calendar. “Mum would have been disappointed in me”, I joked with friends, that I didn’t have a new outfit for this year.
After a couple of years of COVID-related closures, the show was back today, and I thought it would be a good thing to go along and support them. I bought an ice-cream and some jams. I also bought a couple of beers, as I sat and watched the comedy showcase.
I ran into an old school mate, and to both my cousin and my niece. It was a lovely experience.
Another story about the Lismore Show that’s part of my family folklore is that one of my aunts was a regular winner of the flower arranging. “You know she used to steal the flowers from neighbour’s gardens?”, I remember mum once telling me.
Things are looking a little busier and brighter in Lismore, since I was last here about a month ago. There are more shops open, both at Lismore Square and in the CBD. This week, my nieces were able to return to South Lismore Public School. They’re in demountable classrooms now, located on the playgrounds opposite the school, which for the most part has been irretrievably damaged by the catastrophic flood earlier this year.
There is still a LONG way to go for Lismore’s recovery, but it was good to see some cheer in people’s eyes today, as we walked around the showground. I also saw a few posters around town for some local arts activities, including music, theatre and comedy, so that should keep me busy.