Unlike most tales I have included under the heading of Short Stories, this one does not involve Aboriginal people. I include it because of the spontaneous humour of the main character, Sid Simeon. He died a year ago and is greatly missed by his family, grandchildren and friends, for good reason. My connection with him was limited but he was someone of considerable wisdom and wit, and someone never to be forgotten. I trust this story exemplifies why.

In the late 1970s, I was a deputy-principal of a district high school in the south-west of Western Australia.

Sid was the publican of one of the hotels in town, a humorous, lively character with abundant personality as befitted his vocation. He had a background as a league footballer in Perth and, I believe, for a season or so in Adelaide.

When this story start, he and his wife had two daughters who were very close in age, then about nine and eight, and also a year apart in a schooling sense. Both were vivacious, well-behaved and always seemed keen to please.

In the two years my family and I were in the town, Sid and I had a friendly relationship without being overly close: golf, the occasional beer after it and, as he coached the local football team, my support in taking physical activities at training for him at times. And after my family and I had left town, we stayed in touch via golf matches and the occasional beer or two. One day in mid-summer, my wife and I invited the family to come for a barbeque, preceded by a swim.

The girls, then aged about thirteen and twelve and now very pretty, were cavorting in the pool as he and I stood chatting.

I nodded towards the girls and said to him, “Those two are starting to reach the age where I think you’ll have a lot of young males calling to take them out.”

He nodded thoughtfully. “Yep, and the first kid who knocks on my door and looks and sounds like me, I’ll murder the bastard!!!!”