View Full Version : My Dad circa 1937

Mad Aussie
06-19-2009, 11:09 PM
I'd like you to meet my father.

This morning I went to a local Bowls Club where the Brisbane Steel Guitar Club was holding it's annual function and Dad was a guest appearance. The club managed to pull dad out of retirement about two years ago to guest star at the function and he was voted crowd favourite and asked to return the following day to back the singers that were appearing that day. Not bad at age 68. He's pushing 71 now.

Last year dad was unable to attend due to being diagnosed with Non Hodgekin's Lymphoma. The ensuring battle was long hard for all of us, not least of all him of course. He has enjoyed reasonable health since then (all of 6 months) and now it has been discovered that he has advanced Prostate Cancer. 11 biopsies last week revealed his prostate is totally full of cancer.
Now we await further tests to see if it has progressed any further and, if so, if he will live much longer or not.
It's a bitter pill to swallow so soon and has really shocked most of us close to him. He's a man that does not deserve this. I think he's about the most unselfish person I've ever known. Life without him around, when it begins, will certainly be a challenge for me.

So down I went this morning to help him get his music gear into the venue and set up, and took a few photos in case it's the last time he will play on stage again.



For those interested, here's a short history on my Dad written by my Uncle Graeme on his website (http://www.ardlink.com/index.html)

Born in 1937, he came from a musical family background and learnt to play the Pedal Steel Guitar at a young age.

Murray started his own band when he was just 14 years of age.

His band was known for playing Hawaiian music and popular music of the time.

In the 1960s, he formed another band called 'The Supertones'. This band played everything from Island Music to Popular music from the 50s & 60s and were great with Rock 'n' Roll. People used to travel for miles around to attend dances venues & performances that his band played at.

He later formed a new group called 'Desiree' in 1977. As with the 'Supertones', he continued to not only play for their own gigs or bookings, but was in great demand to back many up & coming artists at the time, as well as some old favourites like Tex Morton, when he visited New Zealand and requested Murray to back him...

'Desiree' was a Show-band capable of holding it's own with the best in New Zealand. He also started the Tauranga Country & Western group and was instrumental in helping start other Country & Western groups New Zealand wide.

In the early 1980s, he decided to shift to Australia to live in Queensland, and he thought there might be better music opportunities over there as well, and in 1982, he formed the 'Country Knights' Show-band, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and this band played at venues like the Cherribah Resort at Warwick, and the Terranora Lakes Country Club, etc, and were in great demand all over the state of Queensland.

He has also taught music to both private individuals and at schools, both in New Zealand and in Australia, and although he has slowed down, because of health issues now, and no longer has a band, he still plays periodically at selected venues using electronic backing music to supplement the sound of his Pedal Steel Guitar. - Graeme Ardern

06-19-2009, 11:16 PM
Wonderful captures, made all the more poignant because of the story. Thanks for sharing!

06-19-2009, 11:24 PM
Lovely MA. He has what I call, character. You can tell he has stories.

Sorry to hear about your dad. My dad went through radiation treatment last year for the same thing..so far test have come out alright but he's still not out of the dark.

It's not an easy thing, my prayers will be with you and your family.

Mad Aussie
06-19-2009, 11:26 PM
Thanks TI and also Kat for those thoughts. I hope your dad will be ok also.

06-20-2009, 12:14 AM
Needless to say, you and your dad will be in our thoughts and prayers.

06-20-2009, 01:12 AM
Sorry to hear of the sad news of your dad. You captured his beautiful blue eyes nicely in the first photo and you can see the sparkle still in them.

Mad Aussie
06-20-2009, 03:12 AM
Thanks BF all nice thoughts are always appreciated. It's a tough time. My younger brother also has Non Hodgekins Lymphoma but since being diagnosed about 3 or so years ago it has remained indolent (non active). When he was only 11 he was diagnosed grade 5 and terminal with Hodgekins Lymphoma and we were told to prepare for the worse and say our goodbyes. But he lived. And now at age mid 30's he's simply waiting for this cancer to get active and see if he can survive another round. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Raiven, you are right. He does still have life in those old eyes and definitely does not want to die. My parents seem to have composed themselves after the shock of learning this last week and now wait to see what the results bring. I'm hoping that sparkle in those eyes remains and sees him through. I watched it wither and almost die last year and shed enough tears going through that.

Still, we all have to die of something sometime. I want to die of a massive heart attack while riding my bike thanks.

06-20-2009, 03:44 AM
Nice shots MA.

Its always hard to know what to say with news like this. My thoughs are with you and your family.

Mad Aussie
06-20-2009, 03:51 AM
Thanks AntZ

06-20-2009, 06:38 PM
These are honest photos of a man full of life's experience, still enjoying life.Thanks so much for sharing that MA, it's so difficult. Bad misfortunes and the cycle of life is so hard to take sometimes, it's incomprehensible. I'm so sorry to hear of your news.

Mad Aussie
06-20-2009, 06:45 PM
Thanks for that Marko.

We all to deal with these sorts of things at some time in our lives I guess. I'm sure many here have been through this type of experience before and many more will in the future.

06-20-2009, 07:01 PM
Although everyone is different in things, I think that writing and taking pictures during difficult times has merits on many levels. Sorry again MA.

Mad Aussie
06-24-2009, 06:09 AM
I just thought I'd add that the following day, the social day, my dad was presented with a brand new Martinez Lap Steel guitar for his efforts and contributions to the club etc. He said to me ... "Steve ... nothing like this has ever happened to me before" ... it was a cool thing.

06-24-2009, 09:44 AM
Wow what a beautiful moment that must have been MA. Thanks for adding that detail.
I'd love to see a portrait of him playing that guitar.
(if you do do this, I have a suggestion; black and white by a window, lit with window light and a reflector is how I already have the image in my head)

Mad Aussie
06-24-2009, 02:24 PM
Apparently he got time to play the guitar yesterday. Time is a bit full with hospital/doctor appointments for obvious reasons. I would like to get a nice shot or few of him with the guitar actually but they don't live here in Brisbane so it won't be that easy with my schedule at present.

If you are interested ... this is a couple small avi's of Dad playing in that festival/function a couple of years ago ...
http://www.ardlink.com/midis/murray_feb05_3.avi (5.8 mb)
http://www.ardlink.com/midis/murray_feb05_1.avi (7.2 mb)

Mad Aussie
07-07-2009, 02:07 AM
I thought I'd add some good news.
Today we got the results back from Dad's prostate cancer tests and it appears that the cancer has not spread elsewhere thankfully. So, some radiation is up next I believe.

07-07-2009, 02:24 AM
Good to hear.

Mad Aussie
07-07-2009, 02:31 AM
Thanks Raiven

Mad Aussie
09-12-2009, 08:30 PM
Barefoot asked in another thread about Dad and how he's going. Thanks for the interest Barefoot.

Going back a month or two I realised that nothing had happened in terms of Dad starting any treatments and got suspicious. I got onto my mother about hassling the hospital where Dad was to be treated but she couldn't get any answers.

I spoke to a friend of ours who is a radiologist in the Royal Brisbane Hospital (RBH) and she rang the nambour Hospital and found that dad had slipped between the cracks somewhere. Within days (now several weeks late) he had an appointment.

The appointment went fine except there was no urologist to see him but he was sent home to await another appointment.


Finally after ringing up the hospital again and making complaints, my mother discovered that Dad had yet again been forgotten! He was now several months behind on starting treatment for what they have diagnosed as a serious and aggressive prostrate cancer.

My advice was to go to their urologist and demand that all treatment is done in Brisbane where our friend can at least keep tabs on him. This appears to be happening now and he has started hormone treatment (hormone treatment is known to shrink prostrate cancer) for a year before finishing off with radiation. A severe dose of chemo is slated in there somewhere also but I forget where that fits in right now.

So the battle continues and whether the slackness of the Nambour hospital has cost Dad chances of survival or not we don't know.

09-13-2009, 02:26 AM
I hope everything turns out for the best, MA.

My Pops dealt with a bout of prostate cancer several years ago. I think its one of the most treatable with high success rates. The radiation caused some other problems that he still has to deal with and things were a little dicey there for a while. He worked for almost forty years at a nuke facility in the days when they were a bit lax in preventing exposures and the prostate cancer may have been as a result of extended exposure to non-lethal doses of radiation. The DOE has been very good about trying to make amends to all the old guys in similar situations that worked there in the late fifties and early sixties by providing them with the best of care. They’re providing him with full time nurses that stay there at the house with him aroud the clock and take care of his every need. Really takes the load off my Mom.

Again, here's wishing you guys the best.

Mad Aussie
09-13-2009, 02:59 AM
Thanks for sharing that BF. I hope your Pops is comfortable and his problems manageable.

We are expecting various issues with Dad if he survives this too. At his age it's almost a given.

Mad Aussie
09-13-2009, 05:17 AM
Just got some clarification from Mum ... no chemo scheduled unless the cancer spreads. They still believe although it's right through the prostrate, it is contained within.

Radiation starts in March 2010 after the hormone treatment has had time to shrink as much as possible.

09-13-2009, 08:31 PM
Send our well wishes from my family. <3

Mad Aussie
09-13-2009, 08:33 PM
Thanks Kat

09-14-2009, 09:10 AM
Steve - my heart and positive energy goes out to you and your family during this tough time. I am sure that I speak for all when i offer you a virtual hug from your virtual family here at ph.ca..Many of us are at the age where we will be dealing with these kinds of issues on a fairly regular basis. It is so nice to know that this community is here to help ease some of that pain, frustration, anxiety, doubt, so on and so on.

(This is the first i have seen of this thread..upon returning from my hiatus, i did not go back into the archives.)

09-14-2009, 10:48 AM
I'm so sorry MA. I know how hard this can be :sorry:

Mad Aussie
09-14-2009, 04:54 PM
Thanks TT and marko.

Sadly we are kind of used to it now with my brother having a Lymphoma for the 2nd time in his life and Dad battling the second cancer in the past couple of years as well.
On top of that, skin cancer has always been a constant threat for me as well. I have had a decent sized melanoma removed from my neck years ago and a small one removed from next to my eye as well, and even now, after a visit to the skin clinic last week I'm on watch again for three spots on my head now. They are convinced they are sunspots and will turn into skin cancer in the near future. It's early for that though and I know what I have to do so I'll be just fine of course. In the end though, cancer is something we have to deal with daily I'm afraid.

10-09-2009, 05:21 PM
Beautiful pictures, beautiful person.

It is nice he can still enjoy the instrument he loves.

Mad Aussie
10-09-2009, 05:26 PM
Beautiful pictures, beautiful person.

It is nice he can still enjoy the instrument he loves.
Thank you for those thoughts Crystal.
It's amazing that he can ... an inner ear issue left him almost totally deaf in one ear. I'm always amazed at how he hear the notes well enough ... I think he feels them half the time! :)

10-09-2009, 10:53 PM
MA, I am sorry that you and your family are experiencing this. Your dad is a very handsome man and he looks like someone that would be a joy to have a conversation with.

it is very hard- I know from personal experience. I don't know the answer but I am with you about dying, except that I want it to be on horseback :). Unfortunately we don't get to choose.

I hope that you will continue to enjoy many lovely moments with your dad. I also hope that your own struggle is successful.

Mad Aussie
10-09-2009, 11:46 PM
I hope that you will continue to enjoy many lovely moments with your dad. I also hope that your own struggle is successful.
Thanks for those comments Bambi ... and I had one of those moments today it would seem.

After Crystal's post I decided to send Mum an email. I'd never told them about this thread and for some reason was never sure if I should mention it. Perhaps it wasn't time yet. Today I told Mum about it to see whether she thought it was something Dad might like to see. We don't see them as often as I'd like, so this thread is one of my ways of doing something, even it wasn't meant to be seen by them.
Anyway ... I think it's easier to just show you Mum's answer ...

Oh Steve, we have been to the thread that you sent me below and we were both blown away. I asked Dad to reply and he said I don't know what to say. Although some of the information was a little mixed up (but I can understand that because we were all a bit miffed and mixed up about what was going on and you clarified that in the end) what you really wanted to say came out loud and clear. The love you showed bought tears to both of our eyes. We have printed the whole thing out. I loved the comment about the photo bringing out those blue eyes..........how many times do we hear people comment on his blue eyes. One of the cleaners who comes to clean my floors once a fortnight said to Dad. You have Irish blood in you don't you? Well Dad's grandmother was Irish. The cleaner is English and she said I can tell by your eyes. She won't clean until Dad is playing his guitar either!! That's getting off the point a bit though.
How long have you been sitting on this?? Since June I guess. You wrote that piece straight from your heart Steve and you are not one to wear your heart on your sleeve. Thank you so much for making Dad's day today and making him feel special he will never forget this or the email you wrote when he had the Lymphoma. It's those sorts of things that help keep him going although he often says I don't have a bad feeling with this. It's the radiation that I (me Mum) am worried about as Dr Pratt told us how severe it is and what can happen and will, but one day at a time.
I think you did the right thing by sending the thread to us and we both needed to read that and some of the comments were lovely. Can you thank them for us or not.

So there you go ... thank you all on Mum and Dad's behalf for your comments, prayers and thoughts.

As a side note ... Mum is a chronic pain sufferer also. She has disk problems that are inoperable I think high in her back and neck. Pain management is a constant battle and has been now for many, many years. It's hard not being able to help her more also. Fortunately her condition is not life threatening but it does mean, in the face of Dad's issues, that she doesn't get the attention she deserves as well I think. Anyway ... just rambling now I guess ...

10-09-2009, 11:54 PM
Okay..I have tears.

And I have nothing I can say, words don't describe how I feel right now. A wonderful note from a mom that clearly, to this day, knows and loves her son.

I feel proud right now to have read this and understand it.

You are in our thoughts and prayers MA's mum and dad! :)

Mad Aussie
10-10-2009, 12:02 AM
Thanks Kat ... here's a hanky :cry-an:

10-10-2009, 01:36 AM
Very nice story, M.A. Thanks for sharing it with us.

10-10-2009, 06:47 AM
Wow!!! ....Mum just sent me a link to this forum to read what had been posted. (Hope you don't mind MA). You summed it up beautifully.

Well...after reading it through my tears, I look back and realise just what we have all been through. What a horrible couple of years we've had, with you and I losing our best mates of 14 years as well. (our Dogs)

But Mum is an absolute gem and you, Dad and Graeme are survivors!!!

It just makes us all realise how precious and short life is. So tell/show your family how much you love them and get out there and live life! :highfive:

PS: Nice pics of Dad.:)

10-10-2009, 10:44 AM
This is nice, I'm glad he enjoyed it.
Thanks for letting us know :)

10-12-2009, 09:07 PM
Outstanding MA! ( that you shared with your P&M) I wish your dad all the best. Lost my dad to Parkinson's a few years back and the little boy in me still can't believe he's gone. Mum passed last year from cancer so now I'm an orphan. My thoughts are with you dude!

Mad Aussie
10-12-2009, 09:26 PM
Thanks M. Sorry to hear of your parents passing as well.

10-12-2009, 09:41 PM
He was my adopted father since I was two but he raised me right up and treated me no different than my sister who was his natural child. The reason I bring that up is because I wanted to tell a story about my real father whom I never met. His name was Albert Gunton and way back in 52 or around, he was the only man to jump tower bridge in London driving a London Transport double decker bus full of passengers:D I didn't find this out from Mum though, all she told me is that he'd jumped the bus. The rest I had to dig for. One thing about Mum is she couldn't tell a lie to save her life. She passed before I was able to tell her of my research :) Somehow, even though Albert never played the role of father or any other role in my life, I'm somehow still proud of his bus jump :D

10-12-2009, 09:53 PM
His name was Albert Gunton and way back in 52 or around, he was the only man to jump tower bridge in London driving a London Transport double decker bus full of passengers:D

EGADS! :eek: can you imagine being one of the passengers???

Mad Aussie
10-12-2009, 10:28 PM
I believe in a difference between a father and a dad. A father is your biological parent ... a dad is the one who takes you camping, on picnics, reads stories etc. Sometimes theyare the same person ... sometimes they aren't.

Cool story on your father M.

Mad Aussie
03-11-2010, 02:53 PM
Dad is back in Brisbane now under going his radiation treatment and some chemo. 37 treatments in the next 7 weeks apparently.

03-11-2010, 03:04 PM
oh my, that sounds intense. I hope that all goes well. :fingerscr

on a related issue- how's Leanne?

Mad Aussie
03-11-2010, 03:07 PM
Thanks Bambi. Leanne's doing well. Arm still giving her trouble if she tries to lift too much or moves it the wrong way still but it's improving. She's road riding again as I've mentioned but not feeling up to mountain biking yet.

Wicked Dark
03-11-2010, 03:29 PM
Phew. When I opened this thread and started reading, dread was building as to why it was bumped. Your family's response is dead on; this is a loving tribute to a man you greatly admire and it shows. I'm glad he's got treatment straightened out and I hope it brings him years to spend with you all.

Mad Aussie
03-11-2010, 04:01 PM
Thank you WD :)

03-11-2010, 06:41 PM
Hope all goes well for your Dad.

Mad Aussie
03-11-2010, 06:43 PM
Thanks JAS ... so far so good.