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A rich and generously told reminiscence about growing up in the Australian bush of the 1950s, and the eccentric life of Mick Eames, the country undertaker.When Mick Eames, footballer and spare parts man, moved his family to Holbrook in the 1940s, he had idea that the job of town undertaker would fall his way. Instead of immaculately attired attendants and battery-operated lowering devices of the city, Mick Eames' lot was much simpler. He had a hearse that wouldn't start, a couple of four-by-twos and a rather unlikely assortment of funeral assistants, including Kelly O'Brien, the very sociable gravedigger who was kwn to sleep in the job. Written with great warmth and gentle humour, The Country Undertaker is as poignant as it is funny. There are big names or great moments in history; rather a wonderful assortment of bush stories and a whole cast of supporting eccentrics (including the matriarch who insisted her prize bull be chief mourner at her funeral), leaving you quietly stalgic for an Australia long past. Loud laughter, while reading The Country Undertaker in bed, is a marriage/relationship hazard. Risk it.Jim Eames' voyage around his hard-drinking, ever-entrepreneurial father, Mick, is an utter delight. Snakes in the grave, booze, bonhomie, lethal country footy games and a cast of splendid eccentrics enliven this evocative and unforgettable account of growing up in mid-twentieth century Australia. Damon Runyon eat your heart out!'Tim Bowden
Jim Eames was born in Albury in 1939 and began his career as a journalist with the Border Morning Mail in Albury in the 1960s. Later he spent several years in Papua New Guinea as editor of the New Guinea Times Courier, before joining the Australian Department of Civil Aviation as its Director of Public Relations. In 1975 he became the chief Press Officer at Qantas and later the airline's Director of Public Affairs. He is now retired.