Legendary men

By: Julie Cotton

Hi honeys, I’m home! Ha ha ha. Yes, back from the wildest adventure that incorporated severe impoverishment, humility and humanity at its best – along with some of the best coral reef gardens I have seen anywhere in the world. Culminating, when I got home, with a severe tropical infection on my back (most likely from coral), a stint in Auckland Hospital, surgery and a truckload of drugs. I am now adorned with what I call my holiday battle scar, forever reminding me that those amazing memory capsules will always be mine to have and to hold.

Any physical pain that I went through quickly diminished the other day with an incident that made me feel alive and, perhaps for the first time, ‘local’. Sitting in my car at the Caltex service station, a caring young man came to me and pointed out that my tyre was flat.

“Thank you, and I love you for telling me that,” I said. This lovely man had now saved me from roadside abandonment and sulky flat tyre eyes. I hobbled up to Doidges tyre shop with the gut feeling my stupid car tyre would not be in stock and nobody would be at home to come and take me back to the farm for a few hours. Malcolm, the proprietor of the tyre shop, informed me of the reality that I suspected. The ensuing wait for a lift home was quickly becoming a reality when the sweet man let out the ‘banger’. “Jules, how about you leave your car here and drive mine home?”

With my mind in overdrive I thought, ‘Oh my lord, this beautiful man has just offered/trusted me to drive his fast-looking, low lying, V8 oozing, racing car-looking ute home! Oh, dear is it automatic? (now seems a highly inappropriate time to be brushing up on my gear changing skills), what if I crash it? No you won’t Jules you’ve got this situation fully under control.’ So, I blurted out, “Oh my God, thank you Malcolm, you’re amazeballs.”

With that, I slid in the driver’s seat and took off ever so gently, reminding myself constantly that racing car driving had never formed any part of my skill set and to stick below the speed limit. On the way home all the cars I passed waved. Wow! I knew they all recognised Malcolm’s car and I thought, what a popular vocation vulcanising must be. But when you think about it they are saving people like me from adversity every day, so it makes sense that people  wave and show their gratitude. I turned up the radio really loud; what a treat to have the classic old hits of the 60s permeating the cab. I sang along with high emotion to the Everly Brothers’ Cathy’s Clown, as I wound down the window, whipped my Akubra off to let my hair blow around, and for those brief moments in time I was the queen of the road – yeah, baby! Entering my junky gravel road, I slowed down as I saw no need to practice being late for the school bus. I crawled along the road and enjoyed the fact that perhaps I was a local, I’m alive, and loving life and the magic happens every day. So, what do you call a man that lends a desperate housewife his car to get home? Bloody legend!

Julie Cotton


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