YOU know when Taree Old Bar Surf Club's problems started?
We can tell you but we'll get to that a bit later on. For Taree Old Bar Surf Club's concerns have been extensively covered in this newspaper in the past few weeks.
All culminated in last weekend's special meeting/ members forum, the result of which would appear on another page in today's journal.
Now this correspondent and TOB go back many decades. To our teenage years in fact, when we were a keen member.
Old Bar Surf Club was a powerhouse back then. Black Head? Brushed aside. Crowdy Head? Crash tackled. Forster? F.... um... fobbed off (we had to be careful with that one).
Please be aware that in those long ago days One Mile didn't have a surf club, nor did Elizabeth Beach. Actually, in those long ago days we're not even sure if Elizabeth Beach had been discovered. But if they did have surf clubs Old Bar would have smashed them as well.
Branch championships were little more than a club day for Taree Old Bar. We won everything bar the march past and we didn't take that too seriously anyway.
And we can proudly report that even when this correspondent was on patrol, no-one drowned, however, that was more to do with the prowess of our fellow patrol members. Our major contribution was usually to walk up to the shop and get some hot dogs and chocolate milk.
They were the days of surf club champions like Doug Ferguson, Bob Annetts, Jeff Vandenburgh, Mark Allan, Ken Wrigley and Joe Cordner. We joined the surf club, if we recall, because we got sick of hitch hiking to the beach of a Sunday morning and not getting a lift. We're sure we saw Ivan Milat go past us one day and not even bother to pick us up.
Someone suggested that if we became surf club members, that Doug or Bob (see above) would drive us out. So we did. And they did Mackay Street, Chatham on any Sunday in summer was a mecca for 14 to 16 year olds looking for a lift. Somehow Bob and Doug would squeeze us all into their respective cars and off we'd go for the day.
They were also the days of spending Christmas camping in the surf club. We learnt many life skills during those six or so weeks how to lip, sip and suck tequila for a start, although we hope the modern day surf club members haven't followed suit. Every second weekend or so we'd pile into Joe Cordner's ute and head up or down the coast to surf carnivals. Halcyon days my friend, halcyon days.
This correspondent was in a group that went to the Country titles at Evans Head one year and had our photo taken. For many years it was in the surf club, inappropriately with some of the club greats, but we didn't mind. We'd take various relations and sundry wives through the club on reunion weekends and proudly show off our pic, usually telling some lie or other as to why it was there.
"That was the day we saved 40 people,'' we'd say, or
"Won the ironman that day. Beat Grant Kenny.''
But the last time we were down the surf club way and it was a while ago, because there was still a beach there we looked in to tell some more untruths about our photo only to discover to our horror, it was no longer there. No explanation was ever given. We've never been b0ack and the club's been going backwards ever since.
So find the pic and fix the problems, we say to the current members.
It's as simple as that.