Of Christmas and Kookaburras

I just received my first Christmas card from abroad.  It was from treasured friends, Allan and Jeanie Cupitt, from the Blue Mountains, Australia.

I first met them when their club, Friendship Force Blue Mountains, came to visit us at Friendship Force Northern Illinois in 2008.  It was love at first sight–they liked us and we liked them–instantaneously!

After their stay as our hosts, their club invited ours to live with them for a week in the beautiful Blue Mountains of Australia in 2010.

Allan and Jeanie were fabulous hosts–he, a suave, cultured and refined Crocodile Dundee; and the term “Sheila” just doesn’t do Jeanie justice–she’s far too accomplished. She is an excellent administrator with consummate people skills–why haven’t the Aussies elected her prime minister?

I digress.  One very special moment occurred during our stay with them when they planned a picnic supper for all of us in a national park.  It was raining, so we hunkered down into a man-made cave-like structure for shelter.

After dinner, without the catalyst of a campfire, someone started singing.  It was spontaneous and quite contagious.  My favorite memory was of the groups singing the round, “Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree.”  It was magical with the acoustics of the cave and the resonance of the rain–we sang it in round several times.

And to top it all off, one of the Aussie club members, Faye Post, punctuated it with her impression of the piercing, cacophonous Kookaburra call, which again echoed around the cave.

The Girl/Boy Scouts couldn’t beat this!

….Oh, the fond reminiscences of good friends and fellowship that flash through your mind when you receive a Christmas card from Australia!

Submitted by Jeanne Minorini, Friendship Force Northern Illinois

Allan and Jeanie Cupitt from Friendship Force Blue Mountains (on ends), with Karen Li and Jeanne Minorini (the author) of Friendship Force Northern Illinois, in the center.

John and Faye Post of Friendship Force Blue Mountains. She does a mean imitation of a kookaburra call.

Laughing Kookaburra in Tasmania, Australia. Photo from Wikipedia.