Fr Kevin Neal
About once a month, I usually make a quick run through to Napier to catch up with my friends the Frechtlings and to quite often enjoy some sun.
Last summer this last part wasn’t quite true since it seemed to be always raining, but that is the exception, I hope!
Whatever the weather it gives me a chance to a have rest and spend some time with friends, who I’ve known for more than 40 years.
On the way to their place I can also call on friends in Waipukarau. There are two little boys there now. They go back a fair distance in time, too. Tony Kuklinski boarded with me when I was parish priest of Sacred Heart, Hastings, and that’s going back a few years.
One of things I enjoy, besides calling on friends, is familiar sights on the road. You see them especially on Fridays and the last trip was no exception.
I was driving through the Takapau Plains when I spotted a Ford Mustang. I guess it was an early 1970s model.
Then around the corner came another, a newer version. It wasn’t long, before a dozen or more appeared out of the murk. They were on some kind of outing.
There’s something about specially-kept cars, truck or tractors. I have a weakness for vehicles that are stock standard. They’re dressed the same as they came out of the showroom.
I’ve met processions of Mustangs, but I’ve also seen similar things for Corvettes, although they are probably a bit rarer in our country. I’ve met baby Austins struggling to keep open road speeds and Minis in the same livery they left the garage all those years ago.
I’ve come across tractors, army trucks and even traction engines with processions of trailers and caravans being towed behind them.
Every now and then you see something wonderful such as a relatively old Ferrari or an Aston Martin.
For me, they give my heart a jolt. I don’t want to own something old but it does me good to see them on the road.
I think it does some good, too, when I read the newspaper. As this goes to print, a number of churches in the Wellington diocese are likely to be closed.
If this is the story in one diocese then it won’t be much different in other dioceses. It might take a little longer, but the results are going to be the same.
And it’s not just churches. It’s the timeless buildings we call home suddenly having ‘earthquake risk’ written on the front door as they have in Christchurch forcing their occupants to move. Of course, there are more places of work damaged than we dare to number.
We live in very odd times and perhaps it’s just as well there are a few things we can look at and depend upon.
Even old cars.