Monday, August 8, 2016

Jock

You grow older and somehow become more accustomed to death.  I do anyway.  I accept the passing of others a lot easier than I used to.  Sometimes, though, it is harder, when the departed one is young, for example, or dear to the heart or hold a special place in my memory.

Jock belongs in the latter camp.  I first met him not long after I arrived in  New Zealand to live at Pouto, on the Kaipara Harbour.  Not yet 30, I was nervous about meeting all these new farming folk.  We had come from Mt Isa, in north west Queensland, a big mining town with a great mix of nationalities, and its dry harsh landscape.  To a small, predominately Maori community in a lush green paradise. I hadn't yet learned the rules of being a farmer's wife.  I really do think there were rules back then.  Rural life was strange to me and I was worried about how I would "fit".  I now know that others wondered the same thing and doubted if I would "last". 

Jock was one of those people that I immediately felt as ease with.  I knew as long as I could give him a smile, I'd be good enough in his book.  In all the years I've known him, that never changed.  

Funny how the presence of some people weaves itself in and out of our life.  My son became friends with his son, it was my son and another friend who, in the early 70s came across the body of Jock's father when he died while out taking a walk.  In the late 70s my family stayed on Jock's property and milked his cows in return for a place to stay until the purchase of our new farm came through.  That is a very happy time that stands out in my memory.  It was like holiday time to me living right beside the beach, milking his small herd of lovely jersey cows through his quaint walk through shed, beach visits.

I hadn't seen Jock since March, 2009 when my family and I enjoyed a Back to Pouto weekend.  It was a time for my children to share with their children the playgrounds of their youth.

There used to be a sign at the entrance to the beach at Pouto Point (maybe it is still there, I don't know) that proclaimed it as the Place of Hidden Treasures.  That phrase describes it perfectly for me.  One of the treasures is the local people with its share of colourful characters and we are lucky enough to be related to a lot of them and to have lived amongst them for a few years.  Jock is one of those local treasures.  Even amongst the locals he is known as a legend.

He will be remembered also by tourists who ventured off the beaten track and went with Jock on one of his Kaipara Lighthouse tours.  He was a storyteller and had a hoard of stories of the shipwrecks, sailing ships and the early settlers that made that part of the Kauri Coast their home. Tourists were warned not to scream too much when Jock was driving them on his quad ranger dune buggy up and down the sand dunes otherwise he would go faster. I knew him well enough to know not to scream when he took me for a ride but I sure did squeal quite loudly with delight.  Im not sure who enjoyed Jock's tours more, him or his passengers.  He delighed in delighting others.
  
 

I have a feeling that Jock has given me a poke in the ribs from the other side, reminding me not to forget the old days.   To remember what it's like to feel the wind in my hair and to survive a pounding heartbeat.

After much pleading from the grandchildren he agreed to let them all pile into the back of his buggy and take them for a little ride.  He set out very sedately but we suspect that he livened things up a bit once he was out of sight of the parents.


Stopping for a chat with my older son and younger daughter. 

 
This little sand rocket turned 13 during the week.  It must be time we took her back to Pouto or she will forget the thrill of sand hill sliding.  Maybe we will tell her a tale or two about Jock.



Rest in peace, Jock.

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for share.
    Marta

    ReplyDelete
  2. A beautiful way to remember a dear friend and a very lovely tribute of fun and happy times with Jock in a wonderful place.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't been to Pouto or out Dargaville way for quite a few years since I worked up that way in 2010, I love how people are when you live in a small town, sure people talk about what you do and don't do but there's that feeling that everyone looks out for each other, a sort of closeness, I miss that :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Pouto community is quite unique in this day and age, Amy. They retain that close knit 'family' feel that doesn't seem to exist in larger, closer to town communities. And they have more than their fair share of characters!

      Delete
  4. It is one of the many sad facts of age that we lose and miss characters whose company we have enjoyed.
    He sound a great chap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was, Adrian. I think we are lucky as we age if we have happy memories of those we have walked beside.

      Delete
  5. A nice tribute to someone who was very significant in your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tabor. I'm lucky to have been influenced, even in a small way, by someone like him.

      Delete
  6. Happy times in beautiful places with wonderful people. Jock sounds like he was a treasure in and of himself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you're right, Jock was a treasure.

      Delete
  7. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. You don't meet many characters like Jock who accept you for who you are. You have described him well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Red. I wish I could have captured the essence of him. He was a great character.

      Delete
  8. Always sad to lose a friend. This is a fine tribute to him.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I enjoyed reading about your friend and looking at the pictures. That was a really lovely tribute.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I feel your sadness felt at the passing of your friend. No matter how much time passes between catching up with our good friends, our memories of the good times, the happy times, the bad and the sad remain...they will be cherished; never forgotten...every one of them. Hold tight to your memories of Jock...of the times shared.

    ReplyDelete

I love to know who's visiting. Leave me a sign!