It’s no secret that I adore my bosses from last year. They are two of the greatest people I know and form a formidable team. It takes kindness and warmth to open up your home to a complete stranger and allow them to play a pivotal role in your family. Yet, both my bosses did it with so much grace and dignity. It takes tenacity and resilience to live in the nations harshest landscape and thrive and it takes generosity and a never-ending supply of food to feed 6 people one night and 12 the next.
They taught me how to check water tanks and start pumps, how to stretch a meal to feed just one more and how to drink beer. They supported me in unimaginable ways and if I’m honest, I miss them more than I miss the 3 girls.
Mr. Boss was known for some great one-liners. Whether he intended to or not, he was always dishing out the quirkiest life advice. After the first few pieces of advice, I created a note on my phone and started writing them down. As his Christmas present, I gifted him a photo frame filled with his life advice. So here’s nine of the best pieces of life advice from Mr. Boss.
- There’s two ways of judge a food outlet. How cheap the beer is and whether you’d take a girl there on a date.
This advice came about after me asking the dinner table one night where the best places were to eat in Mount Isa. Now for those that know Mount Isa; The Irish club rated well for the price of beer, however not of high enough quality for a date. The Overlander had similar results, and The Red Earth topped the chart for high-quality date location. The final consensus was that The Isa was the best place to attain affordable grog and respectable enough for a date.
- Don’t date a sheep farmer.
My bosses were cattle people. They did cows. They knew cows. They could handle cows. Although somehow, they found themselves with about 300 sheep. Every 2-3 months we had to muster and draft the sheep. This sounds like a simple enough task, considering we could easily do 700 head of cattle in a day, yet it really wasn’t. For those who don’t know sheep, sheep are dumb. They’re loopy, they jump too high and they have no sense about them. On top of this, our sheep yards left a lot to be desired.
The poor-quality yards, coupled with the premise that sheep farmers we’re also a little odd, resulted in a very stern warning one night at dinner.
Mr Boss: Hannah, we need to find you a fella, so you don’t leave us… the only problem though is that everyone around here is sheep farmers, and you’re not allowed to date a sheep farmer.
- Find someone who’s crazy enough to marry you, but not smart enough to leave.
This was said while sitting at the kitchen bench with his wife by his side.
- You’re not allowed to go horse riding with boys. Boys actually aren’t even allowed here.
- Don’t date a guy who doesn’t wear spurs when riding a horse.
Advice 4 and 5: Words spoken to his children while watching the scene in the Hannah Montana Movie where Travis and Miley go horse riding together.
- Educating my children will convince you to not have children.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my governessing job and it was the greatest decision I’ve ever made, but there were some days where this advice rang true.
- No ringer looks like the ringers in movies. Lower your expectations.
For those that are unfamiliar with the stereotypical physical appearance of a ringer (which is a station/farm hand), their aesthetic usually involves crocs, dirty work-shirts with holes in it and a cigarette permanently attached to their lips. I did not see a single ringer that had a resemblance to Scott Eastwood from the Longest Ride. Trust me, I was looking.
- Dinner belongs on a plate, not in a bowl.
Spaghetti Bolognese? Plate. Curry? Plate. Stew? Plate.
- Don’t date someone who wears skinny jeans.
This is probably the penultimate advice given by Mr. Boss in 2019. This advice was given to me in late November, about 2 weeks before I left. Mrs. Boss and the girls had already left for a school event in Mount Isa and it was just Mr. Boss, Mr. Boss’s best mate and I left on the station. One night, after a few too many beers Mr. Boss says to me ‘Look, when you move back to the city, you’ve just got to promise me one thing. You can’t date anyone who wears skinny jeans.’
I was perplexed, ‘What? Why?’
‘Because men should never wear pants that tight.’
That was it, no other premise, no other reason, just the fact that men should not wear pants that tight. This became a bit of a running joke and when I was in Brisbane in the middle of December for a concert, the friends I was with (who were friends I’d met while living on the station) and I played a game we called ‘Would Mr. Boss think that dude’s pants are too tight?’.
Quirky? Yes. Politically correct? Possibly not. But was there logic behind Mr. Boss’s advice? Definitely.