Morris Dingle is going out on his own terms
IF YOU were told you had a year to live, what would you do?
While this may sound like a plot to a Hollywood drama it isn't.
It was the daunting question Morris Dingle had to ask himself last month.
Diagnosed with four primary bowel tumours among other health issues, Mr Dingle was given the option of lying on the operating table and undergoing surgery, which he may not survive, and then enduring months of intensive rehab, in the hope of one day returning home.
Or, he could spend whatever time he had left doing what he wanted and being with the people he loved most - his family.
For the 81-year-old Dingle family patriarch, the choice was easy.
"I've had a good life and done everything I wanted," he said.
"I said to myself, I have met that many nice people in my life and have all these great memories.
"I wanted to share one last picnic with my friends and family."
And what a life he has led.
Leaving school at Year 2 because he was needed on the family farm, becoming a woodchopping champion and competing at events across the country and devoting his life to his beloved family.
With five children, 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, Mr Dingle has certainly got a lot of love to offer.
He married his wife Myra 58 years ago after a courtship which lasted almost three years.
"We danced together at an event and then she went overseas so I pined for her for two years," Mr Dingle said, laughing.
"When she got back, I had to pluck up enough courage to ask her out and it took me about six months.
"On Christmas Eve we went to watch Titanic at the picture show at Mt Perry but I only saw the start of that film, I didn't see the rest."
If family was Mr Dingle's first love then woodchopping would have to be a close second.
Dingle entered the sport in the 1950s and went on to become a life member of the Queensland Axemen's Association.
He said the sport had been a form of relaxation for him even when issuing challenges at the Adelaide Show for any family to take on the might of the Dingle clan.
"Woodchopping has been a huge part of my life," he said.
"I became good at finishing the front of the timber, then jumping and before I landed, the axe was in the back of the timber."
For more than 100 years the Dingle name has been synonymous with Mt Perry. The cattle stud area at the Mt Perry Showgrounds is named after Morris.
Mr Dingle's desire to return home instead of spending any more time at the hospital was strongly influenced by the fact he wanted to have a day out with friends and family.
On Sunday, December 27 the Dingle family will host a BYO celebration picnic of Morris's life, at Mt Perry Showgrounds from 11am.
Mr Dingle is hoping anyone who can make it will do so.
"Why wait until the funeral? This way I can get a few more kisses and cuddles." Mr Dingle said.