Let’s go back to 1973. Yes, I was young. Very young. Growing up in Melbourne, one of my favourite things to do on Sunday mornings was to visit Port Melbourne with my dad. How I loved our mornings together. We would stand on the footpath overlooking Port Phillip Bay, watch the ships come in and then head down to the ponies at St Kilda. To be honest, I don’t actually remember seeing the ships come in (were there any? maybe I saw one once…) but guess what I DO remember? The doughnut truck that was always parked right there!
The old caravan with the huge sign overhead, the high window where we placed our order, the white paper bag full of hot, sugary jam-filled doughnuts and the inevitable burnt lips and full belly. They are the wonderful and mouthwatering memories that comprise those special times with my dad. So there began my love of sugary jam donuts. (It has been a long love affair, and still continues to this day.)
My dad Jack Hansky passed away two years ago, at the almost-but-not-quite-ripe-old-age of 84. We had hoped to see him well into his 90s but it was not to be. The scourge of pancreatic cancer.
We asked Dad a few weeks before he died whether there were any things he still wished he had done during his life. He told us that he felt he had a privileged life, that he experienced all the important things he had hoped to experience and that he leaves us a fulfilled man. He has shown us the importance of a well rounded life. He managed to balance family and friends, a successful career in medicine both as both a physician and teacher, a love of the Carlton Football Club, golf and racehorses, and giving back to the community in time and resources. We can all learn so much from him.
I am grateful that we (my entire family) were lucky enough to have such a wonderful husband, brother, father, father-in-law and (truly incredible) zeidi (grandfather) for so many good years. I am grateful that we all had the opportunity over his last weeks and months to say all we had to say and do all we had to do. I am grateful that he passed away with all of us by his side, listening to his favourite tunes from the Andrews Sisters and Frank Sinatra.
The doughnut truck from Port Melbourne is long gone and I am so grateful that many things, including jam doughnuts, will continue to remind me of my dad and will always, always make me smile. With sugary lips.
If you want to take a trip with me down memory lane (and why not?), you can make sugared jam doughnuts from this great recipe from Giora Shimoni.
[box]Dr. Jack Hansky AM
2 September 1931 – 25 November 2015[/box]