The Larry Pickering I Knew
Paul Zanetti is a Walkley award winning syndicated cartoonist with over 30 years in the media. He blogs at www.zanettisview.com
Our mate, Larry Pickering remained stoic and cheeky to the end. His indomitable, larrikin spirit never left him. Just last week when the doc told his wife, Carol, to let Larry have anything he wanted, he lit up with that irrepressibly irreverent grin.
"Really? Anything? Can I have two sheilas, love?"
Larry defiantly treated the cancer travelling through his body as a bloody nuisance, dismissing the unwanted intrusion as ‘bullshit’.
It was his positive mindset that carried Larry through his fascinating, adventure-packed life - ensuring he played golf right up to the past few weeks; two years after the medical experts told him he had only months to live.
Just a month ago Larry moved to a golf resort to play more golf. A week later he complained to Carol he wasn't well. Last night he passed away peacefully surrounded by the family he adored. I spent time with Larry last week at his new home. His biggest complaint was that Foxtel hadn’t yet been hooked up. He was in obvious pain, but Larry was always “Good as gold, mate.”
Larry still had too much to do, valiantly looking the reaper squarely in the eye (“I don’t fear death, mate. My biggest fear is being bored”). He had a deep love of his family and cherished his community of followers on this blog
He loved reading every comment and knew each Pickering Poster (PPer) as if they were part of his gang (at school he was the leader of the Ishbondogla Gang targeting bully teachers. The PP was an extension of the Ishbondogla Gang, targeting idiot pollies).
Larry didn't often engage in the blog comments, believing this was a place for those who had nowhere else to go to express their frustrations and opinions. Larry marvelled at what the blog had become – laughing and quoting the funniest and most outrageous PPers on our regular nights sipping his favourite South African reds and ‘talking shit’.
Between family, golf, news, politics and the PP, Larry lived a rich life.
Personally, I’ve lost a close friend and confidant. Larry had the most influence on my own life than anyone. We had a mateship that can’t ever be replaced. He was loyal, generous, entertaining and simply brilliant.
I understand his PPers have also lost a friend. His memory will live on in his legacy of work and this blog.
Larry’s wish was that The Pickering Post remain a voice for the people who had nowhere to go – an online community. In a time when other platforms are censoring and shadow-banning opinions, Larry’s blog has become more important than ever.
I don’t know of any blog anywhere in the world that generates thousands of comments per blog post. It’s truly a phenomena.
Larry and I canvassed who should take care of The Pickering Post after his passing. We agreed The Pickering Post couldn’t be in more trusted hands than Harry Richardson, a mate to both of us.
Will share a few memories over the coming days…Larry’s spirit and legacy will endure.
Portrait of Larry by his daughter, Penny.