OLD FART: Kevin Mischke spreads joy and laughter at Tabeel Aged Care in Laidley.
OLD FART: Kevin Mischke spreads joy and laughter at Tabeel Aged Care in Laidley. Meg Bolton

91-year-old says sugar is the secret to his long life

NO ONE has eaten more sugar than Kevin Mischke, according to the 91-year-old.

The Tabeel Aged Care resident said he was a walking, talking commercial for the ingredient.

"I was going to advertise sugar," Mr Mischke said.

"I was going to say, look at me, I've had all that sugar for that many years."

Mr Mischke said each day he put two or three spoons of sugar in his tea and added it on top of his cereal.

Once Mr Mischke has his sugar hit he is a burst of energy, spreading jokes and laughter everywhere he goes.

He said his presence earned him the nickname "Kevin from heaven", which he claimed the nurses at Tabeel called him.

But in his lifetime sugar has been more than just a sweetener for Mr Mischke - it has been his livelihood for more than eight decades.

Mr Mischke spent 78 years on the same cane farm and, with his father and brothers by his side, it was a family affair.

The business gave Mr Mischke an opportunity to try all types of sugar and incorporate the habit into his work routine.

"When we started cutting cane by hand we got the cane knife and cut little pieces out of the cane and put it in our pocket and when you were cutting you just went along chewing," Mr Mischke said.

He now sits more than 100km from his family's Beenleigh farm proudly dressed in his Canegrowers polo shirt and cap, with his memories as company.

The old cane farmer has called Laidley home for the past 18 months but not a day goes by when Mr Mischke doesn't think about his family farm.

When the farm was first bought, the family cut 50 tonnes of sugar cane but eight decades later they produce 10,000t.

Mr Mischke said advances he didn't believe were possible were now an everyday practice for his son and grandson, who continue to run the property.

"My father used to use a steam winch to unload the wagon pulled by horses," he said.

Mr Mischke also remembered strapping large cuts of cane to his back and climbing up a ladder to load the produce into a truck - the moment was captured in a photo he has in safekeeping.

"Workplace health and safety wouldn't let you do that now," Mr Mischke said.

Adorned on the walls of his room are other reminders of his cane farm days.

One of the photos show Mr Mischke at the World Expo 88 representing cane farmers.

He said the visit gave him an opportunity to explain country life to city kids, who thought milk came out of a bottle.

His life on the cane farm was filled with happy memories of innovation and hard work.

He proudly explained how they used to lay tracks down in the cane fields to prevent the vehicles from getting bogged during harvesting.

But he also experienced hardship and misfortune on the farm, which he is reminded of every day.

Mr Mischke lost half his hand in a machinery accident about 50 years ago.

"I lost them in a chaff cutter - three-blade shaft-cutter, hand got in a bit far and wasn't quick enough to hit in the reverse button," Mr Mischke said.

But the incident didn't hinder him - he said he delivered sugar cane in trucks across Brisbane and never had an accident.

Mr Mischke spent as long as he could on the cane farm before returning to the region where he was born.

 

In June, Mr Mischke will celebrate his 92nd birthday with his 102-year-old cousin who was born on the same day.


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