We used to line up metal bottle tops on the steel tracks that ran along the railway bridge over the Yarra. Then we'd run down the tracks and off the bridge before a train approached. After a train went past we'd venture out onto the bridge again and collect the flattened bottle tops and use them as Ninja weapons. You flicked them like mini Frisbees. They went a long way very fast.
One afternoon we were too slow getting off the bridge. The two of us jumped out of the way and huddled together, pushing ourselves against an upright support centimetres from the passing train.
We're both still alive. Actually, we are getting close again, 45 years after our railway line exploits. I dropped in to his business to meet him for an arranged lunch. It had only been the week before that I told him over the phone I had cancer. His wife and business partner came out to say hello. She came right up to me and looked me in the eye, smiled and held out her hand.
It was so good. She didn't say anything specific, but I left for lunch knowing that having cancer was not an issue for her at all. She was letting me know there was no barrier there. I think it was really impressive and made a difference to my outlook at the time.
I'll stay away from railway bridges with her husband in future, though.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.