Dad is coming over for a visit, flying in from the land of the long white cloud. in the wee hours of tonight Max will back quickly out of the driveway and race around the corner tear along Newcastle road turn left into Dinsdale road where it has been reduced to 40 km in a measure to stop the boy racers. he will ignore that and pull up smartly in Dads driveway.
although well dark the house will be awash with lights and the suitcase packed. usually Max waits in the car beeping if there is any slowness involved but with Murray he is helpful so he will probably get out of the car and place the suitcase in the boot.
If Kay had been ready she will be sitting up like Jackie in the passenger seat her hair nicely coiffured her lipstick bright and shiny and her bangles clinking on her arm wearing a smile as large as life.
more than likely Max will be shift worker grumpy and drove too fast and she had to yell – Max slow down or you’ll get another bloody ticket and he would have told her to mind her own business and that would have continued back and forth until they got to Dads. And if Kay had been running late or Max overly anxious he would have zoomed off without her to get Dad and then go back for her.
His mission which he takes super seriously is to get my sister and our Dad to Auckland International airport on time. this will be full of tension and other cars had better watch out. it is lucky this is happening in the wee hours and traffic should be light. hopefully not too many long haulage trucks on the graveyard delivery shift because getting caught behind one of them would involve a fair bit of angst for all of them.
this is what happened when I was over there last year and we had to go to the Rangariri Cemetery up near Huntly . Our mission then was to place the ashes of Aunty Rita into the ground.
she had made it known that she wanted to be buried with her Mum and Dad which took us into the oldest part of the cemetery. It was dark in there wandering under large spreading trees among huge concrete gravestones all starting to go askew . lots of weedy shrubs are growing up out of the cracks and hardly a clear path to walk on .
a perfect forgotten place and enchanting in an eerie sort of way on a sunny morning in June.
Max is here I call out to Dad. We are ready and hop in the car . no Kay. where is she ? Dad inquires . a grunt that meant she was at home and off we race to pick her up. forget about that 40 km sign.
there is Kay in her driveway on crutches stoic – only a few weeks past her knee replacement op. I help her in and throw the crutches in the boot. have you got Aunty Rita I ask. yes She’ s here and then it hit me . oh dear.
um Max can we just whizz back to Dads I forgot the flowers. no reply but off we went. what a do do I am .
we had had a lengthy discussion the day before about how long it would take us to get there. the cemetery is about halfway between Hamilton and Auckland so I thought allow an hour while Max insisted on half and he had offered to drive us.
at the first roundabout it was on. Kay said go left here Max , he started to swing the wheel that way changed his mind and wrenched it back and started yelling – don’t do that Kay now you ‘ve got me all confused. he straightens up the wheel still yelling. Quietly Kay says I was showing you which way to go Max. he swears a bit more still telling her off and Kay reminds him that Dad and I are in the car and to put a sock in it.
We are very occupied dad and I looking out the window and I am enjoying myself immensely. it calms down inside the car and we all stay quiet for a while and then there are new sights new motor ways new things to point out to me and old memories to revisit.
we got there in more than half an hour but less than an hour skimming thru the thick traffic on its way to Auckland on a Saturday morning.We met up with assorted cousins and a small hole at the graveside was ready .
Aunty Rita had been a tiny lady but a force to be reckoned with. she had VIEWS she held OPINIONS. she loved the Queen the church and the national party and now we held her in one hand as a box of dust .
stretched in front of this hole were two huge slabs of concrete .On the headrest in faded writing Ellen Jane Kay nee Stokes mother of Rita Mollie Jean Ella our mum George Harry Ian Alan Hector and David who of course was really Mollies son but no need for truth on a tombstone. makes you wonder about the whole genealogy thing.Beside her in death as in life lies Sidney Herbert Kay a grandfather I never met having died in 1946 just after he had given away his daughter Ella in marriage.
I read Kahlil Gibran and his words on death – a cousin read a prayer. I told the story of our sister Antoinette who was given Sydney as her second name which she always hated it and refused to use it.and how Antoinettes son Jason and his partner Grace had a little girl that they named Sidney and so it goes on. only the i and the y change .
we visited a few other family members in the newer part of the cemetery where the sun was shining the cars whizzing past on the expressway and the lawns manicured to neatness.
Just down the road was the Rangariri Heritage Centre Café sitting on the bank of the Waikato River. We met up there for tea coffee and a bite to eat and a few more Aunty Rita stories did the rounds.
Max delivered us home safe and sound. duty discharged he disappeared into his online gaming world .
Saturday lunchtime I will pick up Dad from Merimbula airport. Wade will be there to pick up his Mum and his two little girls Shyann turned 5 and now a schoolgirl and Natalia 3 will greet their kiwi Nana.
there will be lots of hugs going round. Kay will clasp me firmly to her ‘our mums bosom ‘ and call me dear and I for one sweet moment will be the little sister that shared a bedroom with her all those years ago. I will call her love and we will laugh together.
Dad will shift his weight from foot to foot dealing with a vague embarrassment over displays of affection. Really he will be secretly chuffed and smile at his family of four generations.
And then I will bring him home here to the forest for a few weeks.
the faerie embassy is my home space,a beautiful mudbrick castle in a richly diverse forest. which means I am very passionate about wallabies and pythons and mist spiders and twisted angophoras and the sound of the wind and the feel of the rain . we are an ark ,an island of light, a beacon of common sense in a crazy out of control consumption mad world.we have a composting toilet for goddess sake.