An Australian rite of passage has taken place in Betoota Heights today, as four year old Gracie Middler got the opportunity to spend a whole morning the studying the mannerisms of a local tradesman that her parents had contracted to fix the gutters on the roof.

With an accountant dad and a mother that works in recruitment, Gracie has never before seen a self-employed blue collar worker in the wild.

Local roofer, Buddy Costello (67) is the subject of today’s anthropology – a hard-living tradie from Betoota’s light industrial Flight Path District.

“Daddy doesn’t listen to music like that” says the toddler, after listening to four hours of Triple M at full volume.

“There is so much yelling”

While Buddy claims ‘to be great with kids’ – the closest he has come to interacting with Gracie today was when he subconsciously saved her ponytail from being taken off by a razor sharp sheet of rusted corrugated iron with a gentle nudge from his steel cap boot.

Other than that, it’s mostly been an elephant and the mouse dynamic, where Gracie stars at this leathery construction worker with wide-eyes in the hope she might get some form of acknowledgment. She eventually gets a wink and a smile after the hungover Buddy became concerned that the child might have heard him rip an F-bomb after dropping his hammer.

It’s a blossoming friendship forged through a clash of culture and language, however one thing Gracie cannot get her head around is Buddy’s ability to chain smoke White Ox tobacco with needing to take the rollie out of his mouth.

“How does he breathe?” aks Gracie.

“Where does the smoke go?”

“Does his lip burn?”

At time of press, the now enlightened 4-year-old had been joined by her mother, and both stood in awe as they watched Buddy consume two entire litres of iced coffee without drawing breathe for 5 minutes.


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