Is this the rod that breaks one’s back, the never ending tale,
That pops its head up every year at Christmas without fail.
A simple poem in ’91, tradition seems was born,
I think I know how Tolkien felt — this could go on and on!

A big year for our Ben, as independence rolled along,
Our favourite tenant’s flown the coop, he’s packed his gear and gone.
With help from Lee of course, a beaut house found in one day,
So armed with goods and chattels, we both waved him on his way,
With toaster oven, washing machine, a fridge and TV set,
New freezer, bed, computer — bout as good as life can get.
He cooks, does laundry, washes up (Lee’s life skills to the fore),
Domesticated? Time will tell, but then who’s keeping score.
Transferred study to next year, fits nicely in the plan,
Turned twenty one in April — our young man is now a man.

Whilst we’re talking houses, guess who’s bought into the fray,
Tim and Alex settled on their first home just today.
At Graceville, it’s the house that they’ve been renting these past years,
No moving costs, just pay the rates, no cause for stress and tears.
And in the midst of buying houses, tutoring and such,
Alex graduated (yet again), put on the finishing touch.
It’s first class honours for the girl, that makes us very proud,
An anthropologist, don’t get too many in your average crowd.
Their family’s grown out to four (pet rats to set things straight),
We know the Smiths aren’t normal, but that’s one out of the gate!

We said last year that Lee was setting on the maintenance trail,
With brush in hand, a strong resolve, the list it did prevail.
And true to form, it all took shape, and all the jobs got done,
The painting, planting, god more mulch — she buys it by the ton!
More trees” she cries, a few more gums” (koalas need to eat).
From bare ground back in ’86, the place now looks a treat.
Even termites didn’t phase her (little buggers have a place), 
Just zap them round the house — leave the backyard for their space.
And while most people raise their glass to toast a project’s end,
Lee makes herself another list — next year’s around the bend.

Mike’s year might be equated with a somewhat fall from grace,
Fell through the roof, and off the trailer, a clumsy loss of face?
Ah, just old age,” he flippantly explains it all the way,
Then off to get the ladder — live to fight another day.
Father’s Day was special, neighbours heard an awful din,
Lee bought Mike a chainsaw — let the massacre begin!
Black wattle got the death nod, and the tip a well worn track,
Rubbish on the forward trip and free mulch coming back.
The business side is going well, the partnership works great,
We’d have to say that life is good here in the Sunshine State.

Amidst the bah and humbug, it’s a good time to reflect,
Lost a great mate Jay in February, thought of things we can neglect.
Never undervalue friendship, treasure everything it brings,
Time and distance are just measures, memories the important things.

Philosophising over, on to merriment and cheer,
Hope you all have a great Christmas, and a wonderful New Year.

Mike, Lee, Alex & Ben