Butcher John Egan looks back on a half-ton of prime cuts
By HELEN JACK
JOHN Egan remembers the days when the cream carrier delivered meat wrapped in newspaper along with the dairy delivery to outlying farms.
He also remembers a time when bus drivers would deliver orders of meat on their runs to MacLean and Yamba.
John has seen plenty of changes during his 50 years as a butcher in the same South Lismore butcher shop and he knows all the local faces.
"There are two women who still come in here who I remember serving when I began my apprenticeship here in 1957 at the age of 15," said Mr Egan.
"It's the only job I have ever had. I guess it's a generational thing, my father was a butcher and my grandfather was a butcher. It's something I have always enjoyed and still enjoy, and I get to talk to different people."
John and his wife Rita own Egan's Premier Meats. Rita works alongside John and has done so for 22 years since they bought the butchery from Laurie Major in 1985.
"I could not do this without her. She does all the book work and she is as good a butcher as the blokes. The only thing she can't do is the boning," John said.
John said the future of the independent butcher was safe even though big supermarkets offered a selection of meat.
"They don't give personalised service like we do." Looking back over their lives both John and Rita said they would not change a thing.
"Most of the friends we grew up with are still here and we still go out and play up," said John.
John and Rita said they could not see a time when they would quit.
"What would we do? You can't stay at home and you can't keep travelling the world, and there is only so much bowls you can play."