Wondai. Part Two.
One of the main points of coming to Wondai was for Derek to golf. He had a great day and we decided to go out for dinner at the local RSL.
An RSL is a Returned and Services League. It is basically like Canadian and American Legions however much much more. It is a place that all the people in the community can go to and use. You will find almost every town in Australia has one. They can be a small building in some smaller towns or a huge nightclub type looking club in the cities. They offer practical help to returned service men and women and their families, financial, emotional, physical and socially. It is a place for them to socialize and to unite with other men and women who understand what they have been through. It creates a place for food, drinks, gambling (in some places), music, dancing and special parties, etc. It is often the centre of the towns social activities as these clubs are for the whole community.
At sunrise and sundown, everything stops in the club, even the gambling machines, and everyone stands as the Ode of Remembrance is read and a moment of silence is observed. It is very moving and every time I am in one and it happens, I can’t help thinking how hard Australia works at reminding people that those who have served paid a huge price.
RSL’s often have a good menu, a step up from the awesome counter lunches found at the pubs everywhere. The pubs are another story, they are found in multitude in every town, as well. Seriously, why anyone would eat McDonalds is beyond me. For the same price, and sometimes less, you can almost always find a steak/chicken schnitzel/fish & chips dinner at a local pub. All of those meals either come with veggies, salad or chips and sometimes with 2 of those 3.
We went to the RSL.
It was a big night in Wondai and many townspeople were there. I especially liked the family who got out of bed and just came on over. Some of them still had their pajamas and slippers on. A few ladies had dressed up with their shellacked hair and heavily perfumed bodies bathed and painted and stuffed into their special dresses. Even the treasured “jewels” had been broken out of the vault for the occasion. Some of those ladies were with their partners and hubbies who had also taken the time to dress. Men wore dress pants and funeral/wedding shirts. They were scrubbed red and their hair combed, revealing a bright white band next to the darkened leathery tanned skin, where their hats had protected them. The other ladies were either just out with their girlfriends, or hoping for a speed dating opportunity. Victims needed not be informed, or willing.
We watched the cougars (what is the name from the predatory cats that are wayyy older than the cougars??)move among the men, eyeing the new ones that came in, and frowning when his “date” emerged from the darkness behind him in the doorway.
Families laughed and ate, kids dodged in between the adults, running for extra table supplies or for a kid at another table.
The aging cougars kept finding reasons to “walk” by the single men who were completely engrossed in men talk, beer, and the footy on the big screen. Those women did not stand a chance but that had NEVER stopped them from bringing out the “girls” E-V-E-R! While one went for another glass of wine, the other switched tables to be closer to the unsuspecting prey.
“Mindy and Al MoneypantsFarmer” walked in about half way through our meal. They chose a table in the middle of room, she surveying her people, removing her leather jacket , hanging it over her chair, making sure everyone observed her designer jeans molded to her body showcasing a designer butt. Her belt was jewel encrusted. Her cowboys boots did not have a single scuff on them, ballet pink with soft butter crème swirls through the leather. She ran her hand through her hair and tossed her head, and finally sat. He removed his dress cowboy hat, his jeans pressed to perfection, the centre crease spectacularly crisp, sharp enough to probably slice fresh baked bread. His shirt was tucked spectacularly and perfectly tight into his jeans. Despite being older his body was hard and he also had a designer butt and well showcased jewels. His boots also shone with a rich dark hue, clearly his funeral/wedding pair, worn on occasions when their royal asses appeared to their adoring public. He however was lacking hair to ruffle or toss. His was barbered to a short manicured shape that worked with the cowboy hat and would never allow for any hat hair should the wind ever take it. He sat down without much fanfare, leaving that to his talented wife.
I was hoping the jewels on her belt might puncture her abdomen when she sat down. Either that or when she reached down for her designer purse, that they punctured one of her designer breasts and that she might go flying around the room, hot air escaping and her shrinking down to a shriveled miniature.
The people of Wondai clearly were impressed. No-one sat near them as they sat facing everyone else, side by side, in the front, right in the middle. If this was a kingdom, they were king and queen. A wedding – the bride and groom. I was surprised no-one stopped to genuflect on their way to the salad bar.
She kept interrupting her eating to look around, wanting to make sure everyone saw them. They did even though no-one looked directly at them. You could tell by how the women slipped further down in their chairs and tugged uncomfortably at their dresses. Those in pajamas, shifted their slippered feet under the table. Yup everyone knew and were a little less for the “knowing.” Except for the speed dating honey’s. Nothing was going to get in their way. They hiked their skirts up a bit more, pulled their tops down, adjusted the “girls” to make sure they were sitting up and being pretty, and strutted. Those poor men never had a chance.
When “Mindy and Al” were ready to leave, she stood and waited like a movie star does while the paparazzi snaps away. Except no-one was snapping anything other than gum and an occasional bra strap. Then she turned, waited, picked up her leather jacket on and zipped it up. He put his hat back on and out they walked. She looked down her nose which she had jacked almost up to the roof, and dusted her disdain off her pant leg walked out the door, leaving it there on the floor.
It was magical.
Our meal was actually spectacular. I had the chef special which was something encrusted in pastry – so special I forgot what it was but please don’t read anything into that against the chef. It’s all on me. I am aging and sometimes even forget Derek and call the police to say some weirdo is having a shower in my house.
It’s OK, Derek forgets me too. We are perfectly matched.
Derek had the pork chops. All the meals looked really good and were pretty generous for the price.
I felt kind of like we were cheating,, eating out, when there was perfectly good, left over chili in the fridge in the caravan. I mean, everyone seems to take caravanning so seriously and here I was off eating at an RSL. When we got back to the showgrounds, I spent the evening going around to all the other people parked there, confessing my sin and apologizing profusely.
Derek was kind of embarrassed at first but when a couple of them moved their caravans further away from us, he changed his mind and high fived me.
No headache that night.