Fox News

There are certain things in your life that are fleeting.  There are others that are more permanent and reliable.

I don’t presume to know whether one is necessarily better than the other,  there can, for example, be untold happiness in fleeting moments.  But, the older I get, the more I see the value in those parts of our life that we know are stable and sure and true.

Today I’d like to tell you about one of the most stable and wonderful men in my life.  Father to C4 and Lozzie, Paw Paw to Maddie and husband to Katherine – I call him Mr J.

I’ve talked before about turning up to the James’ family house every single weekend as a teenager.  There were certain parts of this routine that didn’t change.  I would go through the gate, waving one last time to Mum, walk up to the door and ring the bell.  I’d check through the little side window to see a silhouette walking towards me and Lozzie would open the door in her ugg boots.  Ling Ling would be barking until the door opened and she could check it wasn’t a boy (I swear to you that Mr J must have trained that gorgeous dog because she chased off so many poor teenage boys trying to court his daughter it was barely believable – remind me to tell you more about Lingers another time), then we’d walk down the hall. 

My bags would be dropped in Lauren’s bedroom (mostly filled with my entire wardrobe, less school uniform, plus platform heels and natural glow) and we’d go through to the living room.

Sometimes Katherine was there and sometimes she was at the gym or the store – we always hugged and said hi but how we did it changed on every visit.

Mr James was different.

Every time I walked in through the kitchen door, Mr J would be sat at his desk, checking the stock market on his computer and watching Fox News in the background.

“Hello, Mr James.”

“Hello, Suzanne.”

“How are you?”

“I’m very well thank you.  How are your grades going?”

I’m in my thirties now and we still often have this little exchange (the grades have shifted to superannuation savings, but it’s otherwise the same).  Every weekend I would turn up at this poor man’s home, invade his space, play bad music and, along with his daughter, try to hijack that Fox-News-playing television set for much better use, like Buns of Steel aerobics videos or Danielle Steel films.  I can only begin to imagine how I might now react if someone arrived at my home with such intentions each weekend.  Mr James took it all in his stride and, while we never got control of the TV unless he had something else to do, he continued to welcome me each weekend.

There were several times that Mr J went overseas for work during that period and the years that followed and walking in the house was always different during those times.  But Lozzie would stay in close contact with him via email and talk with pride to me about his endeavours and travels, the exotic places he was working in and people he was working with.

Sometimes I wonder, though, if all that Fox News hasn’t affected his political views somewhat (if you imagine the spectrum of political views from left to right, we both sit at opposite ends and, in case you hadn’t guessed, I’m the one on the left).  Should you ever be at a dinner party with the two of us and you can’t be bothered talking, but fancy some entertainment in the form of verbal jousting, you can just say the words “climate change” or “feminism” or “the Labor Party”.

One of my favourite exchanges was a conversation over a Japanese meal some years ago now (it was March 2009 if my memory serves me).  K-Rudd had recently come into power and the other dinner guests sat back and watched as Mr J and I began to debate his virtues or follies.  I believed symbolism was important – Rudd had said “Sorry” to the stolen generation (a landmark for Australia in my opinion) and signed onto the Kyoto principles.  Mr James saw it as just that, symbolism, not action and then there was his financial policies… and, after all, what did we expect from a man who couldn’t get his wife to take his surname?

I have been known to kill men for saying less than that (metaphorically speaking of course).  But Mr James delivers such gems with such a twinkle in his eye that I just smile back and try my hardest to think of something smart to retaliate with – I never win in case you’re wondering.

But then I never really lose either.  It’s actually rather comforting to know that, however old I get, Mr James will be there, challenging everything I believe as gospel with everything that he believes just as fervently.  And that when I arrive at the James’ household and can hear Fox News coming from the living room, I know Mr James will be sat at his desk and about to say hello to me.  Which is really rather wonderful.

It’s his birthday today.  Happy Birthday, Mr J!

One Response to “Fox News”
  1. Jan Hevey says:

    Beautifully written once again Suz! And happy birthday Collie!

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  • My Marathons for Maddie in 2011

    Run for the Kids: 17 April - 14.38km
    Mothers' Day Classic: 8 May - 4km
    Run Melbourne: 17 July – half marathon
    Sandy Point Half: 21 August - half marathon
    Sydney Running Festival: 18 September – half marathon
    Melbourne Marathon: 9 October – marathon

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