I’ve just come back to a wet and languid looking Taradale. I spent the morning on the road from Palmerston North and I think that’s the first use the windscreen-wipers have had in 12 months. When I got to town I took a look around me and everyone’s in the same boat—racing from car to shop without any coat or brolly because they can’t remember where they left them!
We were meant to get a downpour in Palmerston North but we never got a millimetre of rain and the same went for South Taranaki. These places that are supposed to be wet, like Taranaki, were still counting down to the big rain and Taradale, which seems to be perpetually dry, is as wet as can be.
Funny old summer this one. They tell me that it was fine for Tom Jones’s concert though, and that is mightily important. There are quite a few concerts at various wineries but Tom Jones’s seems to have been the big one.
I had gone through to Taranaki to do some catching up with old friends. My staying power runs out about halfway through unfortunately so I see only half the people I have planned to visit. By Thursday I’d had it so I had to lie low for the rest of the stay. It wouldn’t be so bad if I learned from this but each time I think I’ve got it made only to fall flat on my face again.
It’s really important to call on the folks in Taranaki because they have done so much for me in the past two and half years. The Mission Rest Home and the Brothers residence are a crucial part of my healing along with the parish and folk of Stratford and Hawera. It’s with a real sense of importance that I revisit them. They remind me too of how far I have come. I can drive over now in one go which is a bit different from 18 months ago when I had to split the four-hour trip into two days!
Then there was the cathedral Mass on Sunday. It was St James’ School jubilee and it was a joy to see everyone that little bit older. I was at the cathedral in the early to mid–1990s so the small children have grown up and the young couples are now slightly grey and becoming very wise. I had some fine conversations with folks who have become today’s leaders.
When I look at the week it has really been about catching up with people—people from way back when I was newly ordained and people who have helped carry this particular cross. Someone made the comment that if you’re a Catholic there are always contacts being made within the church. Actually, it goes further than that, it’s part of being human—making contact.