Be Glad, not Sad!

“Be glad, not sad!” I still hear Malcolm‘s words ring in my head. Are my clothes wrong for the occasion? Shouldn‘t I be in black?

We are here to celebrate a life. A passionate and full life. Malcolm‘s life was filled with many passions and creations. It‘s wonderful that he shared many of those passions with me.

We went diving in the sea around here and around the beautiful Tollgate Islands over there, where Malcolm confidently navigated his little rubber boat. We went diving countless times with simple hand spears, even in winter, without wet suits, and we stopped only when our jaws could not stop chattering with cold in the wind.

Malcolm always caught the most fish. It took me years to realise that the only reason I caught mostly leatherjacket is that when I chased the fish, only the leatherjacket were too slow to get away. Malcolm would let the fish swim around him, and would catch a good feed, because he didn‘t scare them away, like his fool of a friend.

It was fun catching baby sharks from Malcolm‘s little aluminium boat that we went out in after the rubber one had given up. We caught them on hand lines, pulling a surprising number into the boat. Delicious.

It was like magic picnicking with Malcolm and friends on the left Tollgate Island, on a beautiful warm day, when a skink, about 200 mil nose to tail, climbed up on my right foot, soon to be joined by another, both enjoying a nice warm soft rock. Humans were unknown to them. Magic. Thank you for that, Malcolm.

Malcolm inspired me with an interest in agriculture, and we followed some such pursuits with more effort than you might imagine, and often sat enjoying the fruits of our labours in his space ship.

Oh yes, Malcolm made a space ship. Well, a large motor home constructed on the chassis of a truck, with a body entirely shaped by Malcolm‘s imagination and passionate creative effort. An amazingly wonderful creation. That‘s what the family lived in. That‘s were we spent a lot of time, talking about ideas for the future.

Malcolm started a door business, and he envisioned a computer catalogue with all the different doors able to be searched for by category, and he described to me in detail his vision of what is now a common web site catalogue that people could order doors from.

But this is back in the days well before the Internet and when a 286 IBM AT compatible was a really powerful thing, though far less powerful than my phone today. Malcolm had vision. He was way ahead of his time.

Malcolm was not keen on formal education, and when I told him I‘d spent a day at Mitchel Library reading about the aboriginal history of Australia, he dismissed that as ‘just clicking the time’.

Malcolm could talk. His conversation was like the sea, washing brilliant and crazy ideas over you, and connecting ideas that others could not.

There have been many years while we were living our lives separately, me in Hong Kong with my family, Malcolm in Queensland.

I leave it to others to talk about Malcolm in more recent decades.

But yes, we can be glad, glad to have shared happy times with a man who lived a large life, a life that I can be proud of being a small part of, yet that small part was such a big gift.

Thank you, Malcolm.