Chapter 14
From Not Everyone Can Claim An Uncle Tom by Grace & Peter Ireland (2002)

Uncle Tom with niece Grace

Tom maintained a great interest in all sports. He knew the winners of all the cricket and rugby tests, and listened with great interest to any sporting event that was being broadcast. He also kept himself updated by reading the sporting section of the newspapers.

In the early fifties I can distinctly remember Jimmy Carruthers winning one of his World Bantamweight Titles. The fight was broadcast late at night. The radio reception was very scratchy, but I heard the broadcast from my bedroom that was not quite next door to Tom's.

Tom himself was not an athlete, as those of us who played our yearly Christmas cricket matches would know. He always fielded in the outfield accompanied by his dogs. His bowling, at the best, could be described as "very slow".

Although not an athlete, Tom did manage to win the Bradman's Trophy at one of the Apex Charity Golf Days. The Bradman's trophy in golf is awarded to the person having the worst score!

When Richard was small he couldn't understand why Ma Ma and Uncle Tom didn't sleep in the same bed!!!

Explaining Uncle Tom could be so difficult at times.

Mum went to collect Tom from hospital for Christine's 21 St birthday party.

He wouldn't budge until after he'd seen the ABC news and the weather forecast.

The nursing staff tried to hurry him along, but he was adamant, "I'll go after the news."

Mum was so annoyed with him that when they did get to the party, she refused to have anything more to do with him. She sat him at one end of a table and she sat at the other end.

I ended up getting his meal for him that night-"but nothing laced. "

According to Tom, anything that contained celery, capsicum, garlic, curry or anything similar was "laced."

A meal to him was meat, potatoes and any other vegetables.

Tom always grew vegetables at "Carlyle" and we rarely bought anything in that line.

When he was living in the house alone, he ate whatever he grew. It was nothing to front up to a huge plate of vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

As time went by, Mum converted a large portion of the back vegetable garden to a flower garden.

Until Tom became a permanent hospital patient, he kept up with the huge vegetable garden at the back of the old tennis court. He also continued to care for the rather large vegetable patch over at the dam.

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