Lindsay Tuffin

Beside this barricade, always on duty, eyes gleaming was Private Guy Parsons of the Legacy Core. These Legacy funds-raising Christmas puds, he would say, have been maturing since I was doing my tour of Nam in ’69 . This lot over here are particularly fruity, an irresistible blending of late picked 1965 sultana with glace cherries matured in the secluded monastery of Mt Athos and watched over by 19 vestal virgins. Or words to that effect.
IT must have been his military training. As Christmas approached the feeling of trepidation for night sub-editors on exiting the lift and entering the editorial floor of the Mercury rose exponentially.

As you left the lift, turned right and walked up the corridor, you knew the perfect ambush would be in place. There would be a massive barricade of plastic-contained Christmas puddings stacked it often seemed, to the ceiling.

Beside this barricade, always on duty, eyes gleaming was Private Guy Parsons of the Legacy Core. These Legacy funds-raising Christmas puds, he would say, have been maturing since I was doing my tour of Nam in ’69 .

This lot over here are particularly fruity, an irresistible blending of late picked 1965 sultana with glace cherries matured in the secluded monastery of Mt Athos and watched over by 19 vestal virgins. Or words to that effect.

And, as the first victim, Peter Hercus approached, Parsnips would say:

How many this year Hercy?

One, said Hercy.

Turning his one good ear away Parsnips would say: One dozen. Done! Bemused , Hercy would stagger away under the unreasonable weight of an overladen bag of puds, lighter in cash, but over-endowed with goodwill.

It was never enough with Parsnips to just buy one pud. And who could resist such irrepressible salesmanship? And such love for his fellow human beings.

This anecdote of the working nightlife of Guy Parsons is an insight into the soul of genuinely good man.

A good man.

Rich in his compassion, care-full in his concern for others. Every Tuesday he would be dressed in jacket and tie to start his evening shift … legacy of the Legacy lunches he helped organise. He was forever giving his time and concern for this most charitable of charities.

This goodness overflowed into righteous indignation at injustice or what he saw as the too-often failure and hypocrisy of his profession, the Fourth Estate, to adequately question the Spirit of the Age. Over many years we fiercely debated modern journalism’s pereceived successes and failures.

In recent years that debate included his contributions to (this) website, Tasmanian Times; contributions often cryptically, sardonically but perfectly argued and presented for adjudication at quite ridiculous pre-dawn hours. Always exquisitely written.

For example this observation on his fellow Vietnam veterans :

They had brains: maybe some went back to that way of life, but I tend to believe most stepped onwards, having already stepped up [in their own life]. Let’s rather forget about the past if we are not able to change anything, or live with the good out of it. Let’s, above all, not feel guilty and feel the need to be a victim because we are still around while some of those with us copped the bullet or the mine, or our empathy for the Vietnamese, who died or lost everything but life and with even less knowledge of what was happening around them than we, the strangers, did.

Better, let’s salute those who come through something like Vietnam and do something good for themselves and the garden of life they stand in — think of the sincerity of Tim Fischer and others.

In my naive and young mind in those bad old moratorium days of ‘69, one of the reasons for coping with a Government demand to suddenly become a front-line soldier – even learning to march when I was rejected in the hokey-pokey at the first high school dance – to march and dismantle an SLR when I couldn’t shoot rabbits with my dad’s Belgium double-barrel shotgun, was, in good part, that it was all part of the plan of defending a raft of things such as freedom of expression.

If my mind is still young and romantic and hopelessly naive, I’ll live with that.

Guy, that is one small impress that we retain of you … you are with us, still young and romantic, sometimes even hopefully naive.

A tribute from his Mercury workmates (along with other words by John Lawler and Peter Hercus to the life of Guy Parsons, May 20 1948 – June 28 2008