Family on track
By ADAM HICKS firstname.lastname@example.org THERE is a part of retirement that Michael Lisha doesn't understand. The part about not working.
The former Lismore Turf Club curator hasn't been employed for 10 years, but he still works at the track nearly every day.
"I'd be lost with it; I couldn't bare sitting at home," he said. In recognition of his efforts, Michael was recently awarded life membership of the club.
"To my surprise, they called me out," he said. "I went along (to a party) thinking it was a send- off for the bar manager.
"I wasn't expecting it and I was a bit overcome by it. "It was an honour to accept it; it was more or less on behalf of the family."
Every business day, except Tuesday, which is golf day, Michael and his wife Judy drive to the track to lend a hand to, and keep an eye on the 'new' curator, their daughter Lesleigh.
"If they didn't help me I couldn't do everything that needs to be done," Lesleigh said.
And with more than 30 hectares of grounds to mow, manicure and propagate, there is a lot that needs to be done.
The combined family effort has seen the once barren surroundings of the track bloom into a beautiful backdrop that makes the Turf Club grounds a sought-after wedding and function venue.
Lesleigh built the gardens. Basically everything that's not green or concrete is hers. Judy helps tend the plants. Michael handles general maintenance.
Together, they are the reason that all punters at the Lismore Cup on Saturday will be partying in luscious parklands instead of dancing on dusty goat tracks. Saturday is the day the city comes to their back yard.
"I'll be excited when it's over," Lesleigh said in jest. For a perfectionist, it's a nerve-racking time. , "I get a bit fussy. Everything has to be manicured properly ... there can't be a tuft of grass sticking up or
I'll have to cut it," she said. But, on the positive side, it is an excuse to not wear King Gees for a change.
"I get frocked up. I dress like a bush hog the rest of the time, so this is the time I look a bit decent," she said. And Lesleigh is not the only thing looking good.
"The track looks excellent," she said. "With all the rain it has kicked it along. You can water it as much as you like but you can't beat rain."