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Ask, and you never know …

Emma Grey

“It’s not magic. It’s just about speaking up, and persisting if it doesn’t work first go.”

We went to my uncle’s 90th birthday afternoon tea in Lismore on Saturday and I loved hearing about what I like to think is an inherited family trait to reach wildly beyond our grasp and never give up.

Decades ago, my uncle decided he’d organise some fundraising bus trips to Brisbane to go to musical events. For the first trip, he booked a 50-seater coach, but no one showed any interest, so he cancelled that coach and booked a 35-seater. Then he cancelled that and booked a 20-seater. Then he cancelled that and hired a Toyota Tarago van to take the seven starters on the trip.

Undeterred, he tried again. This time, the coach was full. Over the years, he took more than 60 coaches to Brisbane for concerts, and raised thousands of dollars.

Another time, he told his wife he was going to invite the famous Sydney organist, David Parsons, to do a concert on the pipe organ in the tiny church at Bexhill, near Lismore. His wife told him he was wasting his time asking. She said this guy would never come that far just for them. David Parsons did come and do a concert, without charge, and he came back every year and did the same, for 22 years straight.

We were in Fiji three years ago, and I fell in love with the books of a best-selling Scottish chick-lit author named Mhairi McFarlane. When we came home, I told my husband I was going to email her and tell her how much I loved her work. He told me I was wasting my time writing to her — she was top of the Irish Times list and she’d never reply to all her fan mail. Of course, she wrote back within five minutes, and we exchanged several emails about our books and about writing and editing.

Then there was the time I reached out to Harry Styles, who sent a bandana for my daughter’s friend when she was sick, and the time we organised some emergency rations to be helicoptered into an Island on Vanuatu just by asking for help on Facebook.

There are countless examples of times we’ve simply asked, and something has appeared. It’s not magic. It’s just about speaking up, and persisting if it doesn’t work first go. Thanks, Uncle Grant, for showing us the way, and happy 90th birthday!

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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