© Ron Stevens

Winner, 2011 “Coo-ee March Festival ─ Wellbeing Section”, Gilgandra, NSW.

I answered “Not too bad” but that’s not good enough.

Not that I should have bored him with the painful stuff.

Imagine his surprise if I’d replied “The day’s

begun terrifically, with pink galahs’ displays

outside my hostel window just on breakfast time.”

Their calls and antics mingled with the bell’s bright chime,

no doubt the reason why the plain but healthy fair

seemed tastier than usual, prepared with care.

Yet care, I’m sure, is always borne in mind by staff,

much overstretched preparing meals on our behalf.

A word of our appreciation brings a smile

returned, which beats a whinge and frowning by a mile.

We residents are happier since management

began the weekly meetings where some different

ideas are discussed about improvements here,

concerning our health and overall atmosphere.

Not in a negative way or with major things ─

redecorating colours, which songs our choir sings

at Christmas concert, visits to and by sports teams,

church services available, artistic schemes.

An instance of a better outlook shone last week

when our tame psychiatrist suggested we seek

his help beating depression, then young Tony called

“I’ll paint that mongrel black dog  pink-and-white piebald.”

To “How you going, Mate?” I now can answer “Well

with chemo visits nearly finished and Estelle

and I the runners-up last Tuesday’s mixed-pairs bowl,

I am confident and pretty much on-a-roll.