Coffee and Jazz… Our last day in Mildura

Kids Thrive is producing Cha Cha Sam’s Postcards From Nanna, taking in regional libraries to start conversations about cultural diversity.

Here are Tales From The Road…

G. Linda and Ella Fitzgerald

As we sat out the front of a beautiful organic cafe in Mildura, this gorgeous dog caught my eye. We struck up a conversation with her equally gorgeous owner, Linda, and found out that the dog’s name is Ella Fitzgerald. Perhaps this lovely collie has a penchant for jazz and soul, I hear you ask? Maybe she likes nothing better than to kick back on a Friday night at Bennett’s Lane? Not quite – it turns out that Linda’s dad is Don Porter, a renowned Adelaide jazz journo who has met and interviewed Louis Armstrong, Cleo Lane and Dudley Moore, just to name a few. Linda’s collie is named to honour her dad’s connection to all things jazz.

Needless to say, we were so excited by this that we got talking. By the time we’d discovered only a few things about Linda, it felt as if we’d known her for years. As it turns out, we had actually come very close to meeting Linda many years ago – she used to live on the same street as Ande! It was a tiny street with less than thirty houses – they were practically neighbours and never met. All these connections were quite astounding – and a timely reminder for us all to make contact with those that we live so close to, and often know so little about.

We got chatting about Linda’s grandchildren, and, of course, we told her about the show and what a wonderful experience we had had with it in Mildura. While chatting about the ideas in the show, the songs, and how delighted we were with the reception by the local children and adults at Mildura Library, Linda asked if she could buy one of the CD soundtracks to the show for her grandchildren! Ande used her phone to process the payment, and we quickly ran to the truck to grab a CD. Hopefully if we’re lucky enough to return to Mildura, Linda can bring her grandchildren to our next season.

Who knows what it is that draws us to someone… Maybe they look a lot like someone we know well, maybe there’s just an energy that radiates from them that gives you a feeling of friendship before you’ve even shook hands. Whatever it is, it’s something that can lead to some of the most beautiful moments in our lives.

Many children have an innate ability to draw on these feelings and make friendships based on the smallest of things – perhaps they like playing the same game, or they’re wearing the same coloured t-shirt. It’s a skill that we could all develop a lot more – search for what connects us, rather than what divides us. You might even make a new friend or two.

A big thanks to VicHealth, Arts Victoria, The Australia Council for the Arts, Public Libraries Network Victoria, and the Australian Institute of Social Relations for helping us to bring Nanna to the road.