Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

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A Day to Remember

by John Morris

Days we remember and one God remembers

The day that Marcia and I got married is definitely a day and an event to remember. We were married at Drummoyne Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sunday February 17 1963. Pastor Eric Hon, a long time family friend officiated. The wedding party included Dulcie Keen (now Clarke), Pam Mayhew (now Jackson), Robert Stocken and John Bagnall.

Marcia looked a picture as she walked up the aisle on the arm of Errol Wright, a mutual friend. Marcia's dad had died some years before. The Drummoyne church was also a picture with flowers decorating the sanctuary. A number of things stand out from that day and event apart from the vision of beauty that seemed in my mind's eye to float down the aisle.

We owned a Fiat 500 (Bambino) and wanting to make sure that the vehicle was not damaged by enthusiastic guests parked it a couple of miles away. When it came time to leave the reception, I asked Alan Whatson to call a cab. This was a great surprise to all of the guests. The Fiat was still where we left it, all cases and gear in place.

The first trip as Mr and Mrs went off quite well until we neared Brunswick Heads. The sun was setting and I turned on the lights, but to my surprise there was no change to the light levels on the road. There was absolutely nothing. The battery appeared to be dead flat. An endeavour to locate the problem was fruitless. We continued to drive down the long hill into the town using a torch held out of the driver's window to keep the centre lines on the road illuminated. We pulled into the first motel in town, without questioning rating, just thankful to get there safely.

The motel was a converted and extended house. Showers and toilets were in a block at the back of the house. Meals were eaten with the proprietor and his wife.

The next day we organised to recharge the battery, then drove into Surfers' Paradise where we were to stay. Day 3 of our honeymoon saw me driving into Brisbane to the Fiat dealers in Fortitude Valley. I left the car there and hitch-hiked back to Surfers.  The trip was repeated in reverse a couple of days later to pick up the car. The problem had been a short circuit in the generator. All the way up from Sydney the generator had not been charging the battery. Definitely a day to remember!

Another significant day, or perhaps I should say days, so that no one is left out, was the birth days of my 2 daughters. The first of the days was Cathy's birth day. The fashion then was to exclude the males from the birth process and let the "about to be" mother, the nurses, and doctors get on with the job. The husband was superfluous. I got kicked out. The key thing on this day was that Marcia was in labour for 30 hours.

Marilyn's birth day was different. About midnight Marcia was uncomfortable, thinking that she might have a stomach ache. After a hot shower and other activities, the penny dropped and I made an announcement. "You're going to have a baby. Let's go". Cathy at this time was 7 years old, and though usually asleep at this time of the night had been wakened by the noises and movements. I suggested to Cathy that she stay home and go back to sleep. She agreed and off went Marcia and I to the Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital about 15 minutes drive away - The San.  Our car was a Morris Marina. They were not  wonderful machines, the front suspension was continually failing with shock absorbers being the main problem. Ours had an additional problem at the time with a hole somewhere in the radiator. Forgetting to check the water level in the rush to get to the hospital we found ourselves driving down Fox Valley Road with the temperature gauge indicating that the temperature was far too high and we contemplated having to walk the last 500 metres. We got there - just.

After getting Marcia settled in I went back to see how Cathy was going and bring her back with me if she was awake. Seeing Cathy had taken 30 hours to make her appearance I was sure to have plenty of time to go back and check on Cathy and be present at Marilyn's birth. What about the radiator? It was a case of finding anything that would hold water. The only thing that the sister in charge could suggest was a vase. Flowers were temporarily removed and the vase had a different use to normal.

At that time we had a second vehicle, a commercial van that we had fitted out as a caravan on wheels (an "RV" in today's Americanisms). The "RV" was brought into use for the return trip to the hospital. Over the driver's seat and engine compartment and front passenger side entry I had installed a "pipe cot". Ths was constructed from canvas that was wrapped around a length of 25 mm galvanised water pipe. When it was time to use the cot, you would lift the pipe from its closed position bracket and unroll the canvas until the pipe would now fit into the second or open position bracket. This was Cathy's bed when we were travelling. I found Cathy wide awake and a little fretful so decided to take her back to the hospital. I popped her into the pipe cot fully expecting that she would go to sleep as we drove. She didn't and at the hospital clamoured to be taken in to see the baby. I was not expecting any baby yet. We went up to the ward to find that Marilyn had made her appearance only 4 hours after labour began. So, both of us missed seeing the birth. However we both did enjoy holding Marilyn just 20 minutes after birth. My first thought on seeing Marilyn was how much she reminded me of my youngest sister, letting me know that there were some Morris genes in the production. Mother and baby were tops. This was definitely a day to remember.

I guess that I followed the America's Cup races of 1983 with a fair degree of interest. The thought of challenging for a cup that had remained screwed to the stand at the New York yacht club for 125 years caught my attention. It seemed to catch every Australian's attention.

"The America's Cup success touched the national psyche in a way that clearly has stood the test of time. In spite of the impression of the America's Cup as a rich men's plaything, regardless of the fate that befell Alan Bond, and in defiance of the fact that for the masses this isn't a spectator sport, and that until the final race of the 1983 contest there was no television coverage anyway, the America's Cup win remains etched in our national consciousness.

It's fair to say there's no great mystery as to why: it was a classic victory for the little guy, and we were him. We knocked off the most powerful nation on earth in a battle of technology, as well as of sporting skill, and we were able to thumb our collective nose at what became a convenient embodiment of American power, and thus arrogance, namely the New York Yacht Club. The reasons for the event's enduring appeal are beyond argument." (1)

On the day of the final race, the 26th of September 1983, I was travelling to Melbourne on business. The series results were 3 races each. Australia 11 had clambered back from an almost impossible position of 3 to 1 down. This, by the way, was the first time that any challenger in the 132 years of race history that the full number of races (7) had to be run. While the plane was at the terminal in Sydney, the Captain provided the transmission of the race commentary to the delight of most of the passengers. As the plane readied for take off, the transmission had to be curtailed- logical - and the demands of take off and flight prevented the rest of the race being broadcast.

After some 20 minutes of flight, the captain came onto the intercom to announce that Australia 11 had won the race, and the series and therefore the America's Cup. The passengers burst into prolonged cheering. The atmosphere changed remarkably. People spoke to each other and the low rumble of conversation continued down to Melbourne and into the terminal. Bob Hawke was Prime Minister of Australia at the time. His race comment was  "any employer who sacked an employee for absenteeism the next day was 'a bum'". (2) This was a day to remember for every Australian.

God has given us a day to remember. In the creation record in Genesis we're told that at the end of the creation week God, being finished, "rested". It's not as if God was tired, He simply had finished and therefore stopped the process of creation. To mark the event he "blessed the seventh-day and sanctified it" Gen 2:2. He set it apart to be different from the other days of the week. The fourth commandment, which has a pretty strong introduction, "Remember the Sabbath Day" sets out some of God's reasons for this recommendation:

a)  A day to rest from your normal working week activities
b)  A time to remember that God is the creator
c)  It's God's time, "the Sabbath of the Lord thy God", that he wants to spend with you.

In Exodus 31:12 and 17 the day is identified as a sign of togetherness with God, to help us recognise that God can be a personal God and a forever God. Ezekiel points out (Ezekiel 20:12) that the God who instituted the Sabbath did so , so that we might know for a certainty that this God was going to expand our horizons, and guarantee better living for each one of us.

It was to be a day to be enjoyed, a delight. By the time of Jesus, the rabbis and teachers in the Jewish nation had developed so many rules to help a person keep the Sabbath, that it was a burden, not a blessing. Jesus upset the religious leaders by doing deeds of kindness on the Sabbath eg. curing the man whose hand was withered. He brought a sense of normalcy into what you could not and could do on the day, walking through the field of grain and picking a few heads of grain, and rubbing them between the hands to "thresh" the grain so that it could be eaten was not work. He made it clear that the day was meant for mankind's benefit.

A day for worship, Hebrews 10:25 recommends that we get together regularly for worship and encouragement; a day for service, Matthew 12:12 "Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath day": A day for rest from work and to remember the creator Exodus 20:10. It can be time to get into nature, to head bush perhaps down the Great North Walk, maybe to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Farm Cove, perhaps a garden walk around your local area. There are opportunities even in the middle of the city where a little nook can give you the opportunity to take your mind off the working week routine.

The Sabbath day is the answer to the rush and stress of modern life. It is a valuable resource. Remember it is God's gift to you. Accept the gift and make it a day to remember.



(1)  America's Cup win stands test of time   By Tim Lane February 11, 2006   The Age website  Accessed 01.12.2008

(2)  Australia Screen. Bigger than Texas.  Accessed 6 December 2008

(3)  [[America's Cup]] Trophy image by [ Bob Covarrubias Photography] ([]).  Image placed into the PUBLIC DOMAIN in the United States and worldwide on 2005/03/14 by the photographer.  Accessed 6 March 2009.

This article and the pictures it contains are Copyright © 2009 by John L Morris.  Used by permission.

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 28 - April/May 2009 > A Day to Remember (by John Morris)