THIS is not a happy news story.
It's dire and upsetting.
Just last week this correspondent ... well, we ... this is difficult ... went to a Taree United meeting.
There. We've put it out there for all the world to see. Well, all the world that reads this column, which we freely admit is very limited.
Forget missing jets, trouble in the Ukraine and any outrage the Abbott government has committed this week. This is deadly serious.
Now, for those unaware there were once two senior rugby league clubs in this fair city Taree Old Bar and Taree United.
Taree Old Bar, or the Lifesavers as they were known, were renowned for their fair play and good deeds. Fine, upstanding citizens usually turned out for Taree Old Bar, or the Bar, as they were also known. If there was a good cause to be supported, you could bet there'd be an Old Bar boy there. Their supporters were always fair minded and god fearing. A good bunch all round.
Taree United, aka the Donkeys, were the other club. We'll leave it there.
Taree Old Bar-Taree United clashes were known as Taree Tests. Old Bar usually won by ignoring the illegal tactics the United players would regularly employ. They'd bite, scratch, kick, head high tackle, head butt and eye gouge. And that was during the pre-game talk by the referee. Once the match kicked off they really got fair dinkum.
Unfortunately neither club now exists and life isn't nearly as interesting. Now, in our youth this correspondent was associated with Taree Old Bar (as if that isn't obvious by now). As such we didn't have a lot to do with the other mob.
But all that changed the other evening. There's a United reunion later this year, you see. Old Bar's had several because we've always been far better organised. This correspondent has usually been involved in some capacity. Now this has come back to haunt us.
For we were ensconced at a local hotel the other week, possibly the Exchange, generally minding our own business, as is our wont. We were approached by a Taree United reunion person, seeking sage advice. We must have been in a charitable mood, for sitting in the Exchange can do that to you, because we freely dispensed some pearls of wisdom.
"Back in the 83 reunion, we did this,'' we lectured, generally managing to sound far more important that we really are.
"Furthermore in 2008,'' we continued while carrying on with more of the same.
Obviously we impressed the organising committee for they asked us to attend their next meeting. Obviously it was getting late in the night, because we apparently agreed. And is the nature of these things, we duly forgot.
That was until we received a call last Thursday morn.
"You right for tonight?'' he asked.
"Um, raffles at the Manning?'' we replied, somewhat confused.
"No,'' came the reply. "The United meeting.''
The words kept going around in our befuddled mind. United meeting ... United meeting. Has it come this?
But we kept our word and went along, albeit incognito, instructing that we were there in an advisory capacity only. A consultant, if you will.
"See you next meeting,'' the reunion people said as they left.
This is now officially a crisis. For those interested, the reunion will be on Saturday August 2, culminating with a function at the Poplars.
Brass knuckles, guns and knives are to be left at the door. Those who don't know where the Poplars is shouldn't be attending anyway. Up the Bar.