Friday, 7 December 2018

45 and still alive Wheelers Corner 50 8th December 2018

Wheelers Corner 50 8th December 2018
Connecting people who care:

Its time to take a break from matters political, its time to allow our local leadership to sit back and consider their ethicial standards, and over the christmas period seriously consider opening up their up-coming workshop on the ethical use of council owned property...while they do that or are considering doing that...Wheelers Corner will bring you a short story or two over the Christmaa New Year period.

45 and still alive. [Words 1341]

[A short story based on ’45 and still alive’ a song written by Paul Walker]

Look out!

Oh, hell!

Are the kids all-right,

The night we almost crashed, well I almost crashed it was raining cats and dogs, I had just stopped at a red light. The light turned green so I hit the accelerator, not real hard, eased maybe. We were about halfway across the intersection when this big red city bus appeared from nowhere. I stamped on the accelerator real hard and the Honda Integra leapt forward with a power I never thought it had, It was almost as if someone had fitted a jet booster to its rear end. I was waiting for the sound of ripping metal and steel on steel but in never came. The car hit the curb and mounted the grass verge. I braked as hard as I could and my pride and joy came to a spine breaking halt just inches from a New Zealand Post mailbox. After checking Carol and the kids, they were all OK, seatbelts on thank God. And to think that I was only wearing mine because Carol reminded me to ‘Snap up or Ship out”.

Have you ever had a close shave, if you have then you’ll be aware of the after-shock of it all, me I almost fainted, me a big tough number eight, my knees buckled under me and I slid down onto the wet grass. In that instant my life seemed to flash across my inner vision, my Mom, Dad, Aunts and uncles, Carol and the kids all appeared, my joyous memories, my anger, the lies I’ve told, my secret desires rocked my head in just a split-second. An hour-long television programme compressed into a moment of time.

Carol shook my shoulder and brought me back to reality. My backside was wet and I felt like nothing on earth. I stood, she gave me a hug, that hug was worth a thousand words it brought me back to earth. The kids joined us and in turn hugged us both and we them. There we were, rain pouring down, our faces wet and shining in the glow of a street lamp looking like a mother duck and her ducklings. Brought together as a unit simply because of the danger we had shared. Fate appeared to be on our side.

The front door light belonging to the house on which grass verge we had invaded was suddenly illuminated. A guy in his sixties strode toward us.

‘Come inside’, he called out, ‘Get out of the rain, you’ll catch your death standing out there’.

We followed him up the path between neatly trimmed shrubs, then entered a large veranda porch inside garden type room that was filled with pot plants.

I introduced myself ‘John, John Takaro and this is Carol my wife and our two boys Ricky and Mike’ I said, as I reached out a wet hand so as to shake his.

His grip was strong and welcoming but was unusually cold.

A moment or two later an elderly woman entered the porch with an arm full of large multi coloured bath towels. She passed one to each of us and said in a voice not unlike my Mothers, ‘Here you are, dry off with these’.

As we did so a younger guy joined us, late twenties or early thirties dressed in jeans and a ‘T’ shirt with the words ‘One of Two’ printed in black on red. He was carrying a large tray of china mugs, instant coffee, milk and sugar. He placed them down on the spotless white plastic picnic or outdoor table, ‘I’ll just duck back for the kettle’, he said as he turned back in the direction from which he had come.

With in minutes we were all sitting with our coffee around the table enjoying the warmth that a mug of hot coffee can bring. We were introduced to each other and we explained what had happened. The three of them listened and nodded, and their smiles quickly gave us back our confidence.

‘You were very lucky’ said Alice. Both Carole and I both agreed.

We spent about an hour, talking and drying out.

‘Oh, I didn’t lock the car’ I said.

‘Don’t worry’, said Alice, ‘Your car is OK’

After a second coffee we thanked them for taking in such a wet and dripping bunch of ducklings. They smiled. Alice reached down and came up with a ‘native fern’ in a small pot she handed it to Carole saying, ‘Here take this as a reminder of tonight, water it but not too often and keep it in the shade and it will last for years’.

Alice was correct the car was Ok. I backed up and turned towards home.

Yea, I guess the birthday treat won’t be on tonight, uttered Carole.

‘What say we just go home, make some cheese and bacon on toast and watch TV, do you all agree? I said. They did. Boy was I glad to be forty-five and still alive.


The next day I brought some flowers, roses in fact and I thought I drop them into our angels of the night after work. I parked out side and on the right side of the curb this time and carrying the roses walked up the scrub lined path. I knocked. The young guy who brought in the coffee the night before opened the door; somehow he looked a little different, older maybe his eyes seemed to have a slightly brighter hue, or maybe I was just imagining it.

‘Hi and what can I do for you’ he said looking as if he had never seen me before.

For a moment I was lost for words, ‘I’ve brought some flowers for Alice and your Dad as a thank you for your wonderful assistance last night’.

He looked puzzled, ‘Last night? What happened last night?

‘We, that is my wife and our two children had a near miss out front, on the intersection and your Mom, Dad and you come to think of it invited us in’, I muttered in a deeply confused voice’.

‘Look I’m sorry, but my Mum and Dad and twin brother David haven’t lived here for, four no, five years. You see, they died in a motor accident right on this intersection, hit by a bus. Would you like to come in?

No, no thanks; thank you for your time, but please take the roses and put them where your Mom would have liked them. Bye’. I walked back to the car, climbed in and headed home in somewhat of a daze.

I entered our kitchen and gave Carol a hug and said, ‘I’ve just had a strange experience’. That family that helped us last night’

‘What family? What help? Interrupted Carol.

‘You know, they took us inside and gave us towels and coffee’ I said, totally confused by Carol’s answer.

‘Must be stress, she said, maybe you should see the doctor, want me to make an appointment?

‘No, I’ll be OK’.

On the top of the fridge, I saw it, a native fern in a plastic pot. Alice’s gift, I walked over and touched a tiny font, it was real.

‘When did you buy the fern? I softly asked.

‘I didn’t I thought you did, must have been one of the kids, neat fern don’t you think.

Are the kids at rugby practice?

No it’s Wednesday, they are up stairs getting flashed up for tonight’s birthday for Dad at the Fishermen’s Table. Don’t tell you’ve forgotten your own birthday party. My, my you are getting old’.

I said nothing but later that night I took a different route to the Fisherman’s Table, avoided that intersection, it was raining cats and dogs when we left home and I buckled up without a reminder.

We had a great night, one to remember.

Yeah it’s sure good to be forty-five and still alive, thanks Alice for the advance warning.

Have a great week and enjoy the sun but please stay safe...and don't get run over by a big red bus...

MPR will bring you a short story each Monday at 4pm...over the Christmas and New Year period.

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