The Black and White Ball

Many years ago I had the privilege of being invited to attend the Grenfell Black and White Ball.

This was something I was very much looking forward to at the time. The Black and White Ball was a very well organised event and an extremely popular event and its reputation preceded it.

Then I met a girl.

Of course young love being what it is, my thoughts turned away from any kind of socialising outside of being within 2 metres of the girl I had just met.

However, I kept to my commitment and drove to Grenfell and attended the Black and White Ball. Briefly.

After pacing around the hall in my penguin suit and spending what I perceived to be the minimum amount of time required, I snuck out, jumped in my car and headed back to Canberra.

In the days before GPS, one would navigate via one or more of these methods:
1. A Map
2. Written instructions
3. A passenger who knew the route
4. Following someone who knew the route
5. Street Signs
6. Going in the general direction and hoping for the best

I opted for a combination of the last two – which are not the best options in Country NSW, especially in the dead of night in an old Datsun 260Z.

A short time down the road I arrived at the town of Young.

After driving through Young, I mysteriously ended up on a dirt road. After about 20 minutes of not seeing another car and nothing but bush I considered I may have taken a wrong turn.

Some taillights appeared in the distance which gave me some hope. But as I approached the eerily slowly moving truck and saw around a dozen dead foxes hanging off the back, a thought went through my head: “This guy probably has a rifle. I think I’ll keep driving.”

Eventually the dirt road came to an end and I was given a choice of “left” or “right” without any signage to guide me. Following my nose I chose left and headed down the bitumen in the vague hope I was heading straight towards Canberra.

A short time down the road I arrived at the town of Young.

I had somehow managed to drive from Young, via the bush in some kind of enormous circle, to the town of Young.

Luckily for me, in my second arrival at Young, I actually saw a sign which pointed me in the direction of Canberra.

As I travelled down the pitch black road I could see a huge set of headlights coming up from the rear that appeared to be gaining on me.

Being in my 20s, and having a Datto meant that I didn’t have to put up with that kind of behaviour, and I promptly put my foot down. Zooming around tight bends and flying down the straights I was smug in the knowledge that no-one could catch me.

However, somehow they still gained on me, the lights were getting brighter. As it got closer I couldn’t help but wonder how something so incredibly huge could possibly be taking all these sharp little corners, especially over all these unusual little bridges, as fast as me and my Datto.

Finally, as I held my breath with sheer panic on my face looking in my rear view mirror, I heard the familiar sound of a train horn and watched as the speeding monolith blasted past me. All those tight little corners over those little bridges were due to my road winding over the train tracks. The train on the other hand, had a straight run with no impediments whatsoever.

The Datto and I breathed a sigh of relief, and cruised at a more moderate pace eventually ending up back in our nation’s capital.

I guess this is one of those times where the journey, as opposed to the destination, was where the adventure lay. In fact, I only have fleeting images of the actual Black and White Ball in my memories, but the drive back is etched for good.

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