The Secret Australian Veterinarian


My father wasn’t a man who talked about “things he wished he’d done” very often.

I’m sure that he had dreams and a vision for his future that might have been different from the life he ended up living.

That doesn’t mean that he lived his life in a constant state of disappointment. As far as I could tell, he was reasonably happy. That was one of the kind things he did for us…if he was unhappy or dissatisfied with anything, he didn’t really let on that that was the case.

But I think that all of us have things that we thought our lives might hold for us. We all have some dream that we tuck away somewhere that we keep secret from the world.

What’s the point of sharing some of this stuff, anyway? Nobody wants to be distracted from their own lives by someone else talking about their dreams and aspirations…nobody wants to hear about the things that didn’t work out.

My father did tell me once, though, that he thought at one time that he would have liked to go to Australia and become a veterinarian.

This was before the Man from Snowy River and Crocodile Dundee…so I don’t think any of his aspirations were fueled by a weird desire to wear a duster and a fancy hat and “put another shrimp on the barbie”

My father’s dream of Australia came a long time before any of the things that drove interest in that country.

It came somewhere between all the people being sent over from the prisons…and Paul Hogan happening.

That’s a pretty big swatch of Australian history…so somewhere in there, my father thought that he should go “down under” and take care of the cattle.

I was thinking about that dream that he’d mentioned once to me, and I realized that if he’d gone down to Australia, it wouldn’t have been a matter of me speaking with a different and more pronounced accent now…it might have been a situation where I never existed in the first place.

I probably would never have “come to be” at all.

Talk about the luck of the draw…if my father had lived out a life that he’d considered, I might never have walked the earth.

That’s what I say was kind of a close call.

Like most of the things that I think about, that’s no great revelation to realize that this life is a matter of the smallest decisions.

“Go to Australia…don’t go to Australia”…or even “Nah…I don’t think that I’ll go to that Diamond Brand Christmas party….I’m kind of tired..” (in my case…but that’s a different story)…it’s all a matter of little twists and turns and the things that we act on that set our lives up for what they…and we…become.

Parents are fully formed in a child’s mind…sometimes, they seem to exist only to serve the needs of the child. They’ve done their living…had their chance…and now it’s time to step aside a little and let “Junior” come over.

Of course, that’s not true. A parent has a deep well of “wish it had” and “what would have happened if…” thoughts tucked away in their secret “hope chests”…like all of us. A parent is often a pretty multi-faceted being…there’s more to a parent than meets a child’s eye.

My father might have been on his way to Australia sometime in the past…veterinary degree in hand…to live a different life with a different set of people. That might have been his choice for his life…that might have been the way he rolled…all the way “down under”.

That was interesting to hear him share that with me.

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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