SNOWDRIFTS OF TIME…
© 2005, Lee Taylor-Friend
Winner, 2017 Broken Ski Award Peak Music Festival, Perisher Valley NSW.
Based on the story of Mrs Tommy Thompson who went missing in the great snow fall of 1949. As told by Jack Pendergast.
The snow continued falling in a constant wall of white,
it had done so now for many, many days.
With the pantry all but empty, no blizzard’s end in sight,
and the fire just a soft, slow burning haze…
The bitter winds were blowing through the crevices and cracks.
The children huddled trying to keep warm.
Their bellies in a hungry knot, the winds chill on their backs,
as they waited to see out this endless storm.
Father looked forlorn at Mother, she would have to ride, they knew
that the horse could not take Fathers extra weight.
Their trusty steed was old and poor her riding days now few,
Still, he felt it should be him, at any rate.
She’d ride some miles from West Lynne Road to Grosses plain to call
and return with what provisions she could find.
Mrs Thompson, small of stature, but with courage she stood tall,
as she rode on with a singleness of mind…
The wild storm was raging; the conditions mighty grim.
It was hard to see your hand before your face.
But the horse led on so boldly, while risking life and limb,
for she sensed her way, so well she knew this place.
But when many hours passed and Mother had not made it back,
her Husband had to make that dreaded call.
To report a wife feared missing made his heart and mind turn black.
Too much to bear, to lose, no time to stall.
A message came for Jack to go and see if he could find
this woman that her family held so dear.
He’d been moving stock since sun up but he didn’t at all mind,
for you’ll fight to save a friend and show no fear.
‘Twas hard to tell in dark of night, with tracks now worn so deep,
if she’d come this way, or if she’d made it back.
So, he rode on out to find her, a solemn vow to keep,
as he headed down a cold and stormy track.
He rode a mile toward the creek he knew that she must cross,
convinced that she would travel but one way.
‘Tween the safety of the culvert and the fence she’d pass across,
and from this path he was sure she’d never stray.
The wild wind was howling as the dark of night set in.
The snow and sago whipped and burnt his face.
The matches struck were useless, so he knew he must begin
to dismount and feel for tracks he hoped in place.
And then perchance he found them! His hand carefully read the snow.
Jack could feel the horses hoof prints pointing down.
She’d travelled home; he knew this by the imprint of the toe,
his job was done; he mounted and turned ‘round.
So, this family was spared the grief of losing one they love.
A husband held and thanked God for his wife.
Children hugged and kissed a Mother, a true gift from up above.
And a Mother simply gave thanks for her life…
And the man who rode to save her on that cold and bitter night,
sat to have a nip of rum and bowl of stew.
He was just content in knowing that she’d made it home alright,
for it could have been much worse, he surely knew…
Such men and women now epitomise the character of those,
who have made these mountains what they are today.
For without that kind of ‘mateship’ we’d be nowhere I ‘suppose…
Through ‘snowdrifts of time’ this testament will stay.
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