Readers, use your imaginations! Try to think of the most utterly appropriate, most utterly Australian fund-raising event there could be to help fund a memorial window project of the War Widows Guild (ACT).
Give up? Well, it sounds almost too heart-warmingly good and appropriate to be true but Joyce van Leeuwen, the guild's project co-ordinator for the window, tells us that every cent raised at last Anzac Day's big, raucous, knockabout two-up game at the Services Club has been donated to the window fund.
Sometimes this column, although always exquisite, is not spacious enough to do a story proper justice in just one instalment. That's been the case with the saga of the window. So here, already under way with that two-up story, is the second instalment. Part one, graced with a picture of glass artist Ruth Oliphant with a model of her window, was in one of last week's columns.
Glass artist Ruth Oliphant's War Widows window that will one day go into the Services Club. Photo: Jay Cronan
Just to recap: Oliphant has designed for the guild a stained-glass window in which a life-sized woman, a war widow, will be held in the protective embrace of the wings of a giant kookaburra.
The window is a centenary present from the guild to the Canberra Services Club. Of course the dear old wooden building that housed the club burned down in 2011. But Oliphant is at work already (the guild approached Professor Richard Whiteley, the head of glass making at the ANU School of Arts, and he nominated Oliphant as just the person).
She's made a small glass maquette of what will be a finished window two metres high. The window will commemorate the role that the War Widows have played in all our armed conflicts. The guild's emblem is the kookaburra (because it is eternally cheerful and steadfastly loyal) and in Oliphant's design the bird is in Oliphant's words ''holding the woman with its wings, in a loving embrace''.
Glass artist Ruth Oliphant her small scale creation of centenary, War Widows window that will one day go into the Services Club. Photo: Jay Cronan
One of several things to emerge since the first story is that Oliphant's design has not pleased everybody. War widowhood is a sensitive area. One reader who has recollections of her mother's stoicism in nursing a sick husband for 10 years argues that the window with its stylised woman makes widows seem weak and dependant. In fact, she insists, they were invariably brave and resourceful.
''My mother for one had huge inner strength. I would like to see that in the window.''
Oliphant thinks that's a highly reasonable point of view and reports that in her first design discussed with the guild the woman of the window was ''a very strong woman'' and ''not nearly as nurtured'' as the woman we see now. But, she says, the guild wanted the original woman considerably ''softened'' and more nurtured-seeming and so, after negotiation, we have the woman that we have. And she is still, for Oliphant and for this columnist (and I've seen the maquette up close and have looked into the woman's eyes) showing not only softness but lots of strength too.
The window, when it is installed (in the new Services Club, yet to be built) is going to be of enormous significance for Australian war widows and their families, van Leeuwen explains with feeling. For, almost incredibly, it will be the first permanent memorial of any kind to give thanks to/pay respects to Australia's war widows.
Surely not, we marvelled! What about the Australian War Memorial? No, not even there she reports, without rancour. There is absolutely nothing in the War Memorial because, you see ''We [the war widows] are not servicemen and servicewomen'' and so are not part of the Memorial's traditional constituency.
And because war widows are not commemorated anywhere else the commissioned window is going to have special importance. Van Leeuwen expects that Australians will come from everywhere to see it and that children and grandchildren, their interest sparked by it, will be inspired and educated by it.
If the maquette is any indicator of the big window to come (and of course it is) then it is going to grab and hold the attention of everyone who sees it, whether or not the quiet achievements of the war widows have any personal associations for them. The window will not have a smooth and polished look but will rejoice in all the little grainy flaws in the glass that occur while it's being made. Oliphant says that when the light strikes the window those flaws will sparkle.
When it is all paid for the window will be a testimony to great feats of fund-raising. The guild hasn't been able to prise a cent towards the window from the tight fists of Veterans Affairs or of the RSL and so van Leeuwen and her lieutenants have had to show terrific fund-raising ingenuity. Approaching the Services Club for the proceeds of the Anzac Day two-up school (readily and cheerfully agreed to by the club) is an example of this.
Fund-raising has been and is a battle, van Leeuwen muses, but thinks this will mean that in the long run ''we'll feel that we [the guild and the Services Club] really own the window, that it's our own''.