Today is Anzac Day. It's a day that we as Australians remember and honour all those brave people who served and died for Australia in times of war and also those who returned.
For me I will remember my Uncle Bill, our dear neighbour from when I was a little girl. His name was actually William Stubbs, but he was Uncle Bill to everyone who lived on our street. He was a tall man, hair so snowy white, a warm gravelly voice and a wonderful smile..... oh and the smell of sweet piped tobacco.
I was about 3 or 4 at the time and we lived in this small cul-de sac and he was our next door neighbour. He was a widower at the time, a loving grandfather and retired long ago. I can remember playing the garden and whenever I saw him I would run up and give him a hug. In return he would swing me up into his arms and give a big bear hug. He was always potting around his garden and most times I would come over for a visit.... knocking on his backdoor to his kitchen! He would tell me stories and take me to visit the our other neighbour's dog, a big german shepard who just terrified me but in Uncle Bill's arms I wasn't scared. I just remember a sweet old man who somewhat "adopted" me as his other grandchild.
When I turned five and my parents decided to move overseas, we left behind our little neighbourhood and moved on. I only came back to Sydney at the end of primary to get ready for high school and a little older but I still had fond memories of Uncle Bill. I was fortunate enough to come back to visit him and spend some time with him and see him smoke that pipe of his and breathe in his sweet tobacco like I was 4 once again. He was so much older but still such a lively person. He spoke about his life and his time serving in the war and his time in Burma but at that time I couldn't understand the sacrifices he made and what he went through as a young soldier.........a few years later he passed away and I was able to go to his funeral. Such a sad day for someone who always had a dear smile to his face but he was farewelled by all his family and friends ..... his coffin was draped with the Australian flag and his friends in uniform sent him off to the sound of the bugle playing the Last Post...