You Might Consider Reading This Book:
“The Road From Coorain” by Jill Ker Conway
Even though I started reading it in the mid 90s, and started more than once, because it is quite dry in places (similar to my experience w/ reading Out of Africa ), and before living in Australia was even a concept in my mind, I’ve finally finished Jill Ker Conway’s “clear-sighted memoir of growing up Australian”, “The Road From Coorain”, and oh the reward of exhilaration & emotion of finishing it! It taught me about a part of Australia that I knew nothing about and pleasantly reminded me of all that I did. I came back to finish this book knowing so much of the vernacular that, astutely, was not always explained, and the usual Aussie expressions and how they would sound rolling off the tongue, whether “properly”, bordering on an English accent, or broad and common, or with the dialect of an experienced self-described “blackfellah” from the bush. I could see the land and the people. I knew the heartache and narrowing tunnel of a long drought. The same class system and expectations of what it means to be Australian are still visible, decades later. It is beautifully crafted, even though there are a few places that I had to push through. There is warmth, wit, and tragedy. And oh, I cried!
But, I have to tell you, I consider this book to be one of the most rewarding I’ve ever read, not only for it’s content and beautifully crafted passages, rich with imagery, but also because of the last sentence. Perhaps it is because I have been there, because I am emotionally invested, and that I feel a connection with the spirit in which it is written, but I believe it contains the best last sentence of a book that I’ve ever read. I’ve never felt that way before, even with any of my favorite books. Finishing this memoir was a long-anticipated achievement and an emotionally rewarding trip. This isn’t necessarily among my top 5 reads, but if not, it’s hovering near there. And no matter what you’ve experienced of Australia, if anything, it will take you on a journey of the human dramas, loves, losses, excitements, unexpected twists, hopes and triumphs we all experience in a lifetime.
As for my health, still feeling sore and tender from the surgery. The antibiotics are slowly clearing up the infection and I’m making plans to get tested, in Hershey, to see if I carry a “cancer gene”. This will help me make a decision on how drastic my next surgery will be, perhaps help my siblings, should they want to know if there is a possibility that they carry it, and just help with research in general, so that somewhere down the line, it might help save more lives. I will be seeing an oncologist, in Hanover, for a first appointment on August 5. The plan is, that while I undergo chemo and radiation treatments, I will live most of the time with my Sister and her family, so that she can drive me to and from appointments, and so that, during the day, I will be with someone. She lives in Hanover, which is a 40 minute drive from Dallastown. I can’t thank her enough for all that she has already done for me, over and above what I would ask of anyone. Kathy has provided countless rides, anticipated my needs before I knew them myself, has done research on my behalf and has not treated me any differently, which is a relief. We still give each other a hard time, and still act silly, or bitch about what’s bothering us and I doubt she knows just how much it means to me to have her in my life. And, right behind her are tons of family and friends, and I really, truly, could not have made it this far without your love.