Yesterday, the Great Dane became an Australian citizen. What a momentous occasion! This man who grew up in the land of clogs, Vikings and little mermaids has just pledged his allegiance to the land of sunshine, thongs and lamingtons.
The Great Dane's journey was a choice born of freedom and opportunity. After all, he has come from Denmark, reportedly the happiest country in the world!
He came to Australia for adventure and sunshine. I'm sure he would have come for the party pies, too, if he'd known about them at the time.
He stayed because of me. Aaaw, nice!
The journey to citizenship, however, has not been a smooth one. The first 30 years were a breeze, but the brief lead-up to yesterday's Big Event was a tad traumatic ...
It started with the lamingtons. I made them for our celebratory afternoon tea ... from scratch ... WITH MY OWN BARE HANDS. For a laid back people, we sure have chosen a complicated recipe for our national cake. What should have been a simple, 35 minute process (according to the dirty, rotten, stinking, lying recipe) slipped into hours of drama. At the end of it all, I did have a small collection of slightly decent looking lamingtons. I also had a large collection of misshapen brown blobs. Who knew that a lamington could have an identity crisis? When the Great Dane arrived home from work, I was standing knee-deep in desiccated coconut, crying my third litre of tears into a sink filled with dirty dishes and brown sludge.
We awoke, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for The Big Event. I buzzed the hair-clippers over the Great Dane's head, filled plates with lamb sandwiches and almost managed to convince our son that ironing his shirt did not need to be a traumatic, drawn-out event. (He wasn't making lamingtons, for goodness sake!) Friends around town were baking bickies, sticking pickled onions into orange halves, gathering Iced Vo-vos. Things were going just swimmingly.
But then, the Great Dane started to practise the National Anthem. Somewhere along the way, he got stuck on one phrase - and the words weren't even right. He wandered around the house, singing what must have started as the line, 'Our land abounds in nature's gifts of beauty rich and rare,' but had turned into a phrase about Australians rich and rare! This normally-quiet man sang in the shower, he sang in the hallway, he sang over his lunchtime sangas, he sang in the car as we drove into the Town Hall ... and not once did he deviate from the single botched-up line! Oh deary, deary me!
We made it to Town Hall where we were greeted by the lovely Mayor of Bendigo and ushered inside. We were on the home stretch, and I was just starting to relax when an official-looking man escorted the Great Dane from the hall.
'This is it!' I thought. They've heard him singing the National Anthem and they've changed their mind. They're not going to let him take the Pledge of Citizenship! (I don't know who I thought 'they' were!)
But, as luck would have it, they - journalists, as it turns out - let him back in and the ceremony proceeded as planned.
And it was wonderful.
The fears and tears of the past two days melted away and my eyes were filled with a fresh set of tears. Good tears. Happy, grateful tears. It really is a beautiful thing to see people from all over the world choose our country as their new home. It's a privilege to be a part of the group that gives the official welcoming.
But most of all, it's a blessing to be able to say to my own special person, 'Welcome, Great Dane. You are now one of us, an Australian rich and rare!'
From the Kingdom of Denmark
|The Great Dane sitting in the garden, smoking his pipe, contemplating his clogs, after a satisfying lunch of rye bread, pickled herring and snaps.|
To the Commonwealth of Australia
The Great Dane becomes a new citizen.
I welcome the Great Dane into the fold. He now belongs to us, the People of the Lamington.
A true blue Aussie gift to mark the occasion. Friends Keith and Leanne present the Great Dane with a leg of lamb from the paddocks of their own farm.
My new Australian rich and rare.
Take a squiz at this:
AUSTRALIAN LAMINGTON OFFICIAL WEBSITE
It is interesting to note that the lamington began life as a disaster which was turned into something beautiful. My lamingtons began life as a beautiful cake which was turned into something disastrous.
But look! Some of mine did turn out ... sort of ... if you ignore the wobbles.