Meet Eddie Smith, long time Green member and supporter for nearly forty years from the Lake Pedder days until now.
Eddie is 96 and lives on Tasmania’s beautiful east coast surrounded by the garden he has planted and tended for decades. With his sight fading, he now has a gardener to help him and it is a joy to see them working together maintaining Eddie’s life work.
He has held many campaign functions for me over the years and so I called on him as I travelled up the coast last week. There he was with spring bulbs emerging everywhere, camellias flowering and fruit trees carefully pruned including this very good frame for supporting loganberries. I couldn’t help noticing his mulberry tree, yet another in a Tasmanian garden.
Since writing a blog post on mulberries, I have now discussed this with many other Tasmanians and it is odd but we all agree that this fruit was never used in the kitchen when we were children. Perhaps we were all too spoilt for choice with raspberries and strawberries and looked down on this poor relation.
Eddie was a great educator in Tasmania and was principal of a number of schools before he retired. His other claim to fame is being Paul Smith’s father. Paul is the person who invited Bob Brown to accompany him down the Franklin River and set in train Bob’s great love for the river and the wilderness.
As I left what came into my mind was a stanza from Judith Wright’s poem, South of My Days,
O cold the black-frost night. the walls draw in to the warmth
and the old roof cracks its joints; the slung kettle
hisses a leak on the fire. Hardly to be believed that summer
will turn up again some day in a wave of rambler-roses,
thrust it’s hot face in here to tell another yarn-
a story old Dan can spin into a blanket against the winter.
seventy years of stories he clutches round his bones,
seventy years are hived in him like old honey.
96 great years are hived in Eddie like old honey and here’s hoping that he will celebrate 100.