‘The dash…for covers…’ by Simone Kerwin


Artwork by Kate Birrell, 2014.


“Jack…Love…” Kath said. She felt, in her dream-like state, that she’d spoken in a calm, audible whisper……

As she waded towards consciousness, though, she was aware it was more like the hoarse rasping of a woman who’s been sleeping deeply with her mouth open.

She hadn’t wanted to startle her husband awake, but proceeded to poke his side with her long fingers, in a manner which suggested quite the opposite……


In the end, it was the second loud crack of thunder that did the trick and roused him. She herself had been stirred from slumber by the first…

“Agh, bloody ’ell,” Jack exhaled in a rasping breath of his own, as he rolled himself off the bed and grabbed at the curtains.

They’d left the window open to let the night air in, trying to cool the place down after another stinking hot day. Now, the billowing fabric only added to Jack’s annoyance as he heard heavy raindrops start to pepper the tin roof.

This storm hadn’t been forecast…….Any rain that was due was anticipated a couple of days from now, and not much of it had been expected in Wattlevale.

Jack had, as usual, been watching the radar as closely as he did the live cricket scores over summer…….But now it was here, and there was work to be done. That’s all Kath knew.


Photo: Kurt Hicklimg


She shirked off the sheet and sat up in bed, trying to get her bearings and gather her senses…..Jack was already grabbing his raincoat and shoving his feet into his shoes. Kath flicked on her bedside lamp and eased herself out to do the same.

She watched her husband rub his face to waken himself, as he turned to her…….

“You don’t have to come, Darlin’. I’ll get it done,” Jack said. But she noted the hopeful look in his eye……

Deep inside, he was still that young fella she’d first met at the St Francis Hall dance; unassuming, romantic despite himself…..and meant for her.

She answered him in a way that conveyed the many years they’d spent growing to understand each other: “Rubbish, Jack. You’ll put your back out if you try and do it on your own…..or catch the death of cold….. I won’t be a minute.”

He smiled, walked over and kissed her forehead: “Thanks, Love.”

Minutes later, they were in Jack’s ute, hurtling towards the job at hand, with rain spattering the windscreen. The old car could probably make it there on its own, it had covered this path so often. But Jack sat hunched over the wheel, frowning.

“Jack, slow down.  If we end up in a ditch, nothing will get done,” Kath said.

“You’re right about that, Kath,” he said as he eased off the accelerator slightly. “It’d be nice, just once, if this 65-year-old wasn’t the only one getting up in the dead of night. It’ll be my bloody fault if it all goes pear-shaped too, won’t it? Shoulda put them on this arvo.”

This 65-year-old – and his crazy wife still in her nightie,” Kath chipped in.

Good. She’d made him smile. That was the idea. Couldn’t have his blood pressure shooting up again. She loved his passion, but she did wish the young ones would help him out a bit more.

He was getting beyond the more physical work. So was she, for that matter…

They made the final turn towards their destination.  As they did, Kath’s eyes widened, and her mouth gaped in amazement.  She felt as though she were in a movie.  She looked across to Jack, who’d had a similar reaction.

“What the heck?” he muttered.

It was like the final scene from ‘Field of Dreams’, Kath reckoned.

A line of cars were heading into Avery Park, and a couple of others were already there, shining their headlights on the ground as the occupants got to work. She looked again at Jack, and saw him staring open-mouthed.

He eased the ute into the car park and came to a stop facing the ground, watching what was unfolding before him, as the windscreen wipers flicked the rain away from view.



“Bloody marvellous,” he said. Then there was a tap on the window next to him. Jack opened the door to see the grinning face of Cooper Simpson.

“We all had the same idea, I reckon, Jacko,” he said, his curly hair straightened and pasted to his neck.

“I knew you had the covers off – it was a good call. This bloody rain wasn’t meant to come tonight. So I dashed down to whack ’em on, but Ando and Trapper were already here…..actually, I’m not sure they’ve been to bed yet.

They do live just over the road, though, so I’d be pretty dark if they weren’t the first to think of it…….. And then everyone started to turn up.

S’pose we’ve all got one-track minds,” the Wanderers’ opening batsman flashed his wide grin again and winked at Kath, as rain streamed down his face.

“D’ya wanna come and check we’ve done it right, Jacko?  We tried to do it the way you showed us.”

“You little ripper, Coop. I’ll come ‘n’ shake your bloody hands, that’s what I’ll do,” Jack said……Kath could see the tears welling in his eyes.

These young cricketers were like his kids, and they’d delivered when he needed them. The fact that they’d even thought to turn up was enough for Jack…..With Cooper in charge, Kath was sure the job would have been done right.

A tall, lean figure stepped up beside Cooper, holding an umbrella over the pair of them.

“Lucy got us organised out there,” Coop said, and put his arm around his girlfriend.

“Hi Jack, hi Kath,” the girl said, pulling her wet raincoat closer with one hand as she gripped the brolly with the other, and smiled at them……

“Yeah, well, I thought if there’s any chance I can bat out there tomorrow I was gonna get those bloody covers on the pitch……I reckon it’s a quick storm, Jack…… Here and gone…….We’ll get on tomorrow, no worries…….We covered it in plenty of time.”

Kath could see her husband’s whole body relax. He’d passed the torch, and these kids had grabbed it with the energy and enthusiasm of youth. He was as proud as punch……



This story appeared first on KB Hill’s website On Reflection and is used here with permission.
All photos sourced from KB Hill’s resources unless otherwise acknowledged.

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