Friday, October 8, 2010

Dad's 21st

Dad liked a drink.
He got pissed as a cricket, munted as a mouse, plastered as a lizard on his 21st birthday up in 'the islands' of New Guinea.
Harry, an RAAF sergeant of Dad's, brewed up some lethal jungle juice in an old 44 gallon drum.
Dietitians would have loved it - it contained all the fibre and natural goodness of banana peels, pineapple husks, skins/cores and bits of every piece of fruit Harry could lay his hands on plus the sugar he wangled through the black market barter system alive and thriving on the islands at the time.
And it was more than 200% proof.
One bottle was enough for several blokes.
It always amazed me how they allowed men with such poor eyesight to command these units; apparently they never saw the grog, never witnessed the blokes walking about with it openly even sharing it at the open-air cinema, they never even noticed the severely hung-over victims of Harry's jungle juice.
Their olfactory centres must have been bust (from all the stereotypical pipe smoking?) as they didn't smell the stench of the fermenting fruit, either.
Harry did a roaring trade with the American soldiers; the poor boys would front up for a few bottles but it would take almost a week before they'd return the empties, more often than not not requesting a refill.
On his birthday his mates bought him a whole bottle of Harry's jungle juice all for his own!
He can still remember singing loudly at the top of his lungs after midnight and someone demanding that he shut up or be shut up.
Big, brave Dad, full of Dutch courage replied "C'mon, I'll take yer all on."
Fortunately no one took up his generous offer and the next thing he remembers is waking up at almost midday with a raging headache and his mouth feeling like the bottom of the cockie's cage.
He swore off Harry's jungle juice after that.


  1. What treasures. Family stories.

  2. Sorry to hear about your dad and the diagnosis. That is shitty. enjoyed reading about his 21st and was laughing at loud at that brew.

    The post about your dad and his walkabout reminds me of my grandad who also fought against the japanese. The fact your dad walk about reminds me so much of what my grandad did, however he did that with a family in tow. He could never settle in one place.

    He still has the seal on that box and has never revealed to his adult children what the war was like let alone what he saw and went through, but his actions give some indication that he was trying to forget a lot.

    I know its not much Jayne (hugs) but I am thinking of you. I am going to enjoy reading some of the posts that you will write about the memories you have.

  3. These are great memories Jayne. I'm glad you're writing them here, you'll have them forever to read again and again.