It has been many years since I hung my old armour on the wall, afixed my Lance to the wall above the bar, stowed my sword just beneath the bar top (never know when it may be needed) and packed away my chain mail in tissue paper. Out they all came again and do you know what?.... they have shrunk !
Here in the deep south of this beautiful island there is a small garrison, surrounded on all sides by Hillary's Village, where a group of old Knights gather to pray and prepare for combat. Think of the Alamo, you American cousins. We stand no chance at all against the onslaughts of the wicked and foul, but by the Lord Harry we are gearing up to ride onto the field.
Yes, I know. One could easily say that the Order is hard-pressed if it has to conscript knackered old shytes whose days of battle were long ago. But we live in dire times.
I am pleased to announce that I am now a
Knight of the Order of the Southern Cross.
I don't get to wear my black armour with the kingly gold and silver bits very often and I have sent it off to the balcksmith to be 'let out' a bit. But I did get to stand in my Tavern Keeper's apron before my fellows, pledge my allegience and swear my Oath. They let me off the slap around the face due to my obvious bearing and personal presence!
The Order was formed in 1919 and remained secret for many years. Back then there was considerable discrimination against Catholics in Oz and we did not have an Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. Not that the current ones do anything to aid sound chaps. They are on the side of the foul. We had to fight Masons back then, and their influence on the government. Catholic youth suffered. It was common for companies hiring employees to say
We fought and we won. Nowadays it is not so secretive but nevertheless the Order does not shout its presence about. If it is known at all it is for owning and running the third largest Aged Care organisation in the Nation. That was a battle too. Not quite so opposed but a challenge nonetheless.
It is barely understood these days that Knights, back in the day of the Knights in general, were all Catholic. Those days were before the 'reformation'. After that, secular Kings usurped the role of Knighthood induction.
Knights were not always good men. Every man a sinner and some on the way to sainthood. Today we take only sound fellows. Like me, it seems.
I had three days of Masses and Communion and no end of Rosaries said to prepare my soul for this Honour and this Duty. I have washed the floor of the crypt with tears for my sins. Pray for me.
I am Commissioned to take this garrison to Battle as soon as we get up to strength. There is a war going on and we are once again called.
The drinks are on the house and the taps are flowing. Do not be concerned that the Tavern will not be properly manned.