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U3A Writing: Jacky And Joey - The Meteor Chasers

Barrie Mansell tells a Christmas-tide tale.

Jacky was like most seven year old country kids - went to a State School, had a couple of mates - but Mike was the one that was always involved in all his escapades. He lived just up the hill from where Jacky lived which was close to the river.

Jacky's Mum, apart from keeping house for the family, gave freely of her time to the care of native animals that were injured or had lost their parents and needed mothering.

Joey arrived one evening in the arms of a local farmers wife. She had a collision with a group of kangaroos that had crossed her path while she was driving up a bush track near her farm. One of the dead female kangaroos had a joey in its pouch and this became Jacky's mother's latest care task.

Jacky was immediately attracted to the cute new arrival in the household. He helped care for the young joey and their friendship was firmly established.

After school and weekends they chased each around the house and garden, and as time went by they ventured into the street and along the riverbank and eventually played in the water. They became inseparable.

Mike and Jacky shared many interests in which Joey could accompany them. One interest was in astronomy. Mike's father had a terrific telescope that the boys often got to share and when a new comet came into view they both were very excited by the brilliance of the passing display.

Whenever Jacky come home from viewing the comet he would tell his mother and father about the great event in his most enthused and excited style.

When Christmas was approaching he spotted a truly spectacular metallic silver skate board in the toy shop. He told his father this was definitely going on top of the list in his letter to Father Christmas.

On Christmas morning he opened his presents like everyone else in the family gathering. He found the colourful shirts, books and toys, but when his father called out to him, "I thought you might have opened the big present at the side of the fireplace."

Jacky suddenly realised he had missed something important. The shape suggested just a big carton, but not the contents.

He quickly stripped the wrapping and ribbons off the present. The brown coloured carton still did not give a clue to the contents, even the weight was not a guide. He pulled open the end but the soft white plastic wrapping still kept the present secret. He shook the box firmly so the contents slid out.

Suddenly the present was visible through the wrapping. It was a skate board. With the wrapping stripped away he could see the metallic silver skate board with the stencilled logo METEOR CHASER on both sides in a stunning metallic red.

The excited response from Jacky, "It is fabulous, absolutely fabulous." His father grinning broadly said, "I thought Father Christmas knew what you wanted."

He took his prize present outside on the drive and headed up the hill to show Mike this wonderful skate board with Joey in bounding pursuit.

Mike was as excited as Jacky as he also got a new metallic red skate board and they both ventured off to the town skate board park to try their new escape machines.

A couple of nights later after another great viewing night he was heading home late. While coming down the hill toward home along the concrete path, he had reached the darkest and steepest section of the street, when suddenly the skate board caught a plastic hose across the path. Jacky was pitched off the board and landed head first on the edge of a driveway.

Joey who had observed all the frantic action, looked closely and sniffed his friend. All Joey could sense was laboured breathing and little movement. He sat for a moment then bounded quickly for home. Joey looked about the house and saw the lounge light was aglow in the curtained window. He scratched with great vigour on the lounge room window glass.

When Jacky's mother went to look all she could see was the agitated Joey but no sight of Jacky. She called her husband, "Where do you think Jacky is?"

"By the look of Joey, I would suspect something is not right," he replied.

Jacky's mother and father went outside to Joey, for them to follow and hopped up the hill toward a felled Jacky and the inverted Meteor Chaser.

Jacky travelled deep in space with the Meteor Chaser, with Joey bounding with him in close pursuit of the Meteor, his occasional looks back at Earth in all its beauty, from here in space. He called to Joey, "Isn't it great Joey?"

The hospital staff were surprised by the little boy calling out from his unconscious state. The young Doctor Joe Byrnes commented, "I do not think he means me."

"No, I think the knock on the head is causing some delusions," responded the nurse.

Much later on, Jacky stirred, groaned, then heard his mother say "You will be OK soon. You took a heavy knock on your head."

Jacky said "I have been chasing a comet with Joey on my Meteor Chaser."

"Yes dear," came the reply from his mother, "just you rest for now."

Jacky drifted back into space, Joey bounded along beside him as always.


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