Friday, August 7, 2009

Phoenix

I was at work early this morning, as I am most mornings during the summer. I am responsible for feeding the summer staff breakfast and lunch, and I think I entered the kitchen a few minutes before 7:00. On normal days, I grind and brew up a pot of coffee and turn on the Ipod to something eclectic such as... Well... (This week it's pretty much been) the Blues Brothers. Today started out pretty typical. I got the java beans out of the canister and just started the grinding process, not yet manufacturing a thought about what music to play as a soundtrack to my morning. As I filled up the coffee filter with fresh grounds, I saw a friend come into the kitchen to offer support. "G' morning, mate," said Phoenix as he entered into the kitchen. "Need a hand with anything?" I greeted him good morning and answered, "Nah, I pretty much got it... Unless you want to put some music on." I pointed to the Ipod dock which was connected with audio wires to a stereo receiver. "Cheers, I got my Ipod right here!" Phoenix disconected my Ipod from the input wire, and hooked his up. I really didn't pay much attention to him, until he started singing along with the voice that blared out of the speakers. "Once a jolly swagman, camp'd by a billabong, Under the shade of a coolibah tree, And he sang as he watch'd and waited till his billy boiled, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me. Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me, And he sang as he sat and waited till his billy boiled, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me." I should have expected as much... But I was still taken by surprise. After all, it wasnt yet 7:00 in the morning. Phoenix hails from the continent down under, and he strikes me as a sort of a bush man. He served some time in the Australian National Army, and is genuinely one of those guys you would want to be in a foxhole with if that situation would ever arise. He's a cunning fellow, who's handy with tools, kind of a loner, but everyone's friend. He's an odd sort of person, but perfectly delightful in every way. I would have been shocked if he would have chosen the Blues Brothers as his musical choice, but on the other hand, I wasn't expecting an old folk singalong such as Walltzing Matilda. Especially with Phoenix bellowing out the lyrics along with it, in perfect key, on time. "Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong, Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee, And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me. Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me, And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me." I let the coffee finish brewing and begin to set up the line for breakfast. Phoenix continued to sing: "Up rode the squatter mounted on his thoroughbred, Down come the troopers, one, two, three, Whose that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag? You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me. Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me, Whose that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag? You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me." By now the coffee was steaming and ready to drink. I pondered pouring a cup but not because I was sleepy. In fact, I was wide awake. My adrenaline was flowing, some from laughter, and some from the wierdness of the morning. I decided not to have the java. I drink too much caffeine anyway, I thought. There's something about an Australian bushman singing to you early in the morning that makes your body react like it just got fueled with a stimilant. I was able to serve breakfast as efficiently as ever this morning, without swallowing a single drop of caffeine. Throughout the day my mind echoed the words from Phoenix's song: "Up jumped the swagman, sprang into the billabong, Drowning himself by the coolibah tree, And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me. Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me, And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong, You'll come a waltzing Matilda with me." It made for a very non-typical morning, but a fantastic day. Sometimes I love my job.

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