‚ÄčTheir First Winter

Their first winter was a wet one
The rivers and dams all full
Joe and George were always muddy
Running through puddles and mud
Things were looking good for them
Plenty of feed for the animals

The long days in the paddocks were paying off
A hundred acres of wheat was sown
25 sheep roamed the other paddock
The start of a great mob William declared
When Frank Tonkin brought them over
A few were already in lamb

Friday night they sat by the fire
Mary had some news for Joe
In a couple of months he'll have a brother
Or a sister said the proud dad
Nah, definitely a boy Joe declared
We can play outside together

They both laughed explaining he would have to wait
He will only be a tiny little baby
The news was well received at church
Many women saying "We knew Mary, we knew"
A few offers of cradles and help
Came from their new friends

Each month the Methodist church
Held a picnic and a dance
The church had become very important
They met the people of the district
Creating friendships and lending a hand
They became members of the Jeffcott community

The time approached, Mary was due any time
Each Sunday she prayed for a healthy baby
A boy or a girl, it didn't matter
A boy would be called Bert
A girl would be named after her mother
The family was very excited

Beryl Tonkin lived five miles away
A midwife, she had delivered most of the locals
She had been staying for a week
When Mary screamed late one night
Her water had broken, the baby was coming
Joe slept peacefully through the night

For eight hours Mary endured
The pain and frustration of child birth
It was 6 O'clock when Bert greeted the World
His lungs were on display, sounding very healthy
And Joe slept through it all
William and Mary were proud and happy parents

Joe heard the baby crying as he woke
Bouncing out of bed he followed the sound
Finding his mother sitting in bed
With her precious bundle on her lap
Joe squealed with excitement hearing the baby
Jumping on the bed to hug his baby brother

Beryl had taken over the house
She ordered Mary to stay in bed
Cooked William and Joe breakfast
Before they saddled their horses for a day
Of moving sheep a few miles up the road
All the four year old could talk about was Bert

Mary had a day of bed rest
Exhausted after her very busy night
Nursing the new born and sleeping
Two days of this she'll be ready to go
It was hard for Mary to stay in bed
Always so much work for her to do

William and Joe arrived home before dark
It was a long day for a boy and his pony
They'd moved the sheep slowly five miles
Then spent an hour swimming in the river
It got too much for Joe
He had to go home and see his baby brother

The baby was crying as Joe entered the room
Joe held his little hand speaking softly
Telling him about his day, droving and swimming
Bert stopped crying and listened intently
Joe kissed Bert who went to sleep
Their bond started on Bert's first day

Mary was allowed out of bed the next day
She wasn't ready for a busy day
Beryl ordered her to rest more than once
Exhausted she rested in the chair
Determined to do more tomorrow
She sat and dreamt of the future