Let Me Tell You About Bernie



Last night I went to Bernie’s 56th birthday party in Thames.

There were 60 others there.

Let me tell you about Bernie.

Bernie is an old school mate. At school Bernie was one of those pivotal teenager cool guys. He was taller than everyone else, had longer hair than everyone else, he had better parties than everyone else and didn’t have his head up his arse like a lot of ‘cool’ people did.

Everyone knew Bernie and when I hooked up with Ross Hudson included in that hook up was invites to Bernie’s parties.

Ross, Robbie Paul, Roger and I would all pile into one of our cars, usually Roger’s 57 Customline if we had enough gas money, grab a crate of DB Green for the St George Bottle Shop and head out on a Saturday night on the hunt for the good old days.

And we found them too.

So Bernie was part of that old school tribe of ours. So that makes him a friend of some 40 years.

Towards the end of last year Bernie wasn’t feeling well. He went to the doctor, the doctor sent him for tests.

He got asked to go in and was told he had terminal cancer and was going to die.

He had more tests and more tests and spent a lot of time in hospital and at home grieving with his family and friends.

I’ve never been told I was going to die, other than the time I was involved in trade unions, and I can only start to guess what it must feel like to get news like that.

Well Bernie had to deal with all of that, tell his partner and his kids and his friends that he was a walking dead man.

He started reflecting on a lot of things, as you would.

Before he could finish he got called back to the doctor.

The hospital was mistaken.

He didn’t have cancer after all. He was in fact fine. It was a mistake.

So this year for his birthday Bernie invited everyone to Thames to thank them for all the support and love and to tell them that he loved them back.

So there we all are in a crowded restaurant, with 60 of us sitting at the world’s longest table and a bunch of other diners wondering what was going on, then Bernie stood up and told us his story, and how much different his life was now compared to November 2012.

When he finished, everyone clapped, his family, his friends, the other diners and the staff.

It was a special night, for a special friend, and it was humbling to be there for it.

Happy birthday Bernie.

Let’s do it again in another 56 years bro.

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