A Darwin OM:NI Story – By Ken Ramplin

We have only been here three days and I am sticking to my premise that this is the hottest June we have ever experienced here!

Just the other day, it rained during the afternoon! Never had that before – in 29 visits here to visit our children – no rain in June.

Have to get out of the house for a while or I’ll go up the wall.  Announcing this, all sorts of reasons for not going out anywhere  were offered by my wife Lorraine and Daughter Lianne.  I’ll drive you says Lianne.  I’ll walk on the shady side of the street, says I.

I’ll have my walking stick and my hat.  My walking stick Belonged to Dad who died thirty years ago. A bendy, sticky sort of affair which I’m sure he didn’t buy.  Never bought much at all really.  Always making do.  Picking up stuff off the street, scrounging at the tip, adopting other people’s cast offs.  Where did that walking stick come from?  There must surely be a story there somewhere?

The sticks origin  is just something else I should have asked Dad before he passed away all those years ago. I really do need to move on.

Anyway, against the families wishes, I set off for Nightcliff Shopping centre – on the shady side. It didn’t take all that long – but, boy, was I hot! Maybe I should have accepted that lift in the air conditioned car.  Heading straight for the café to order an iced coffee, I noticed three or four elderly men sitting enjoying their coffee and chatting.  With my coffee in hand and aided by my walking stick, I chose a table nearby.

My curiosity aroused, I watched and listened as  (OK – eavesdropping) one by one, they were joined by other men until there were twelve gathered.

The last to arrive made up for lost time by completely taking over the conversation and extracting many laughs. The whole tenor of the meeting had  changed by this this fellows arrival. Almost another Sir Kelvin of Diamond Creek!

Another opportunity to experience a model OM:NI Group so I asked if I could join them and was accepted immediately. Makes you feel special.

Well, it turns out, every man in this group were retired from the Public Service in Darwin. Different departments but all with links to one another.

 One man – of Chinese descent, sixteen years ago,contacted a few who passed the message around and  now there are eighteen men  enjoying each other’s company together, reflecting on their past, keeping out from under their wives feet and supporting each other.

 An OM:NI Group by any other name.

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