Problems and Solutions
Chapter 25

“I still say it may not last,” Rachel said when Patrick got home. She went on to relate her conversation with Al and her advice that he talk to their mother.

“Well, I wouldn’t sell either of them short, yet. The most unlikely pairings occur: I recall you predicting that Sarah and Henry were in a carnal relationship, but weren’t interested in marriage.”

“True. My ‘spider-sense’ wasn’t working. Anyway, what was your day like?”

“I read several things, had an idea, followed it a bit, and relayed my notion to Jason.”

“Very elaborate! I can easily follow your thought process!”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to be sarcastic.” And Patrick told her of his findings and of the fact that there was at least one ‘lacuna’ in the database.

“Interesting. So all will be blamed on the technology!”

“I doubt it, but it might mean there’s a venal technologist.”

“OK. But I have other queries for you.”

“Oh?”

“There will not be much going on the next few days. Some places will be closed, especially on Friday and Sunday. Should we stock food? Are we going to plan menus? Are we having anyone over?”

Rachel’s phone rang.

“Hi, Al ... Oh ... Oh ... Yes, I’m certain ... I’ll talk to Patrick ... My car or the LandRover? ... OK. Tomorrow around ten? ... Right.” She looked at her husband. “You were right. My mum said she couldn’t advise without knowledge, so Al invited Sayuri to Easter in Canberra. He wants to borrow a vehicle. I said I was certain it’d be OK. He’s coming here in the morning.”

“Let me call him. I’ve an idea.” Rachel handed him her phone. “Hi, Al. Evil in-law, not sister. Listen, why don’t we drive up to you in a little while and leave a vehicle? That makes for less shuttling ... OK ... it’ll be a bit over an hour, I expect.”

“Clever and sneaky,” Rachel said. We take both cars up there, he picks one, and no one is without a vehicle.”

“Yes. And we’ll shop now and fill both your car and my Rover up on petrol.”

The (small) caravan to Macquarie and the symbolic exchange of Rachel’s Lexus for Al’s thanks and a promise about its immaculate return went quite easily. They didn’t see Sayuri. On the return to Newtown they chatted about menus for the weekend.

“If we were Catholic, tomorrow would be meatless. I’m not sure what the appropriate diet for Easter Saturday is. Lamb is traditional for Sunday,” said Rachel.

“True,” said Patrick. “But that’s inherited from the Jewish practise. Certainly, Jesus and the disciples ate lamb at the Last Supper, on Maundy Thursday – today.” [For many Australians of varying religious persuasions, Easter Sunday would not be complete without the family coming together over a meal of roast lamb.

Cooked traditionally in a baking tray with roasted potato and pumpkin, or given a Mediterranean bent courtesy of ingredients such as garlic, olives and lemon, lamb remains the quintessential Easter Sunday feasting meat.]

“What about the Easter Bunny?” Rachel asked.

“I don’t know. It certainly can’t be Jewish, as rabbits aren’t kosher. I recall reading several theories involving Eostre, the goddess, but none seemed sensible.”

“Celtic? I know Welsh and Irish have animal spirits.”

“The pooka. But, despite ‘Harvey,’ they’re not necessarily hares or rabbits. They’re shape-changers, as I recall.”

“Like coyote or Loki.”

“Exactly.”

“You mean, egg-zactly,” laughed Rachel.

“Anyway, we’ve got the Easter Bilby.” [In 1991 Nicholas Newland of the ‘Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia’ developed the idea of the Easter Bilby to raise awareness about the environmental damage that feral rabbits cause and to replace the Easter bunny with true native wildlife.]

They were still laughing when they got home. “You know,” said Patrick, “There are a lot of real questions there. The White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat in Alice, for example. The Cat is certainly a shape-changer.”

“A shift-less character he isn’t,” giggled Rachel.

“And think of the Goose that laid the Golden Eggs. Another creature distributing fertile wealth.”

“Is that what it’s all about? Spring and fertility. The white rabbit and the March Hare. Easter eggs and Golden eggs. Sowing magic beans that grow overnight.”

“Well, certainly sowing and eggs and spring are related. And lagomorphs are indeed prolific. In fact, my sweet, let me show you how it’s done. After all, next week is autumn here, but spring north of the equator.”

“Oh, my!” said Rachel, “What are you doing, sir?” It was over an hour later that they got round to dinner.

While Rachel was cooking, Patrick phoned Gordy. He was appreciative, but already booked for Easter with Sandra and someone else at Winnie’s.

Many shops were indeed closed on Good Friday, but many were open, as were most of the restaurants and coffee shops. They had a late brunch and then watched Wagner’s Parsifal on TV.

“Another Easter myth,” said Rachel.

“Yes. Did you ever look at Nietzsche contra Wagner?”

“I don’t think so. Nietzsche was too nutty for me. He was nutty. But after I read all the libretti for the Ring, I read other stuff, like Shaw’s book and most of the Nietzsche. Let me find it. I’ll read a bit.”

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