Adversity Conquered

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs
A tale about two kids who faced up to a challenge

Submitted: June 28, 2017

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Submitted: June 28, 2017

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Hooks’ schoolmate, Frank, turned out to be much like Hooks as they grew up; both were keen sportsmen, both looked after their aged parents and both were bachelors. The difference with Frank was that he followed his parent’s faith so was a regular churchgoer, and that pretty much defined him as the years rolled by.

As aged parents are bound to do, they left Frank their small farm holding, and he focused on being a good farmer to make it profitable despite its small size. Sometimes within church communities, bonds develop and so matchmaking elders introduced Frank to a single woman who belonged to a neighbouring parish. Sure enough, and happily, they were married.

Henry came to know Frank through the mutual friendship with Hooks. Although he didn’t go to it, he was aware that Frank’s marriage was around about the same time as Henry’s and while Henry and Mags had two boys a couple of years apart, Frank fathered three children, his first born was in the same school year as Henry’s eldest. Among Frank’s brood there was a daughter.

Kids bring communities together so Henry came to know Frank’s three kids well through school and the kid’s sports programme that was held in the village hall. Both men were committee members. They cooperated as country folk do so when Frank and his missus bought an adjacent property, he asked Henry to carry out an assessment of some established trees. Funny though, the low branches of the trees kept swiping Henry’s specks off, so he left them beneath a conspicuous tree while he completed the day’s work. When he went back to pick them up, they had gone! He told his insurance company that a magpie had probably stolen them – which was a likely story! They paid out without question! A couple of years after the loss, Joyce arrived at Henry’s door with his specks, one lens was cracked but the frames were ok! They had been left high and dry in a creekbed after a flood and she just happened to stumble across them! I was an oft-told joke for a few years.

When Frank’s oldest boy was twelve years old, Frank took the pair to the barber. The lads had been trimmed and were waiting for their dad to have his done. He dropped dead in the barber’s chair, right before their eyes! If that wasn’t enough of a tragedy, a mere three months later their mother died suddenly of a heart attack at home! The family had lived modestly, with religious values, not quite Amish-like, but getting that way. On the death of both parents, the kids were placed in the care of Frank’s uncle and his wife. They too belonged to the church, were childless and were arguably even closer to the Amish way of life. They were into their early seventies and serious. But they did a very good job of raising the kids, although, Henry guessed, they would have passed on very conservative ideals. From what his boys told him, secondary school was a difficult time for them because they were ‘conservative and fuddy-duddy’. There’s nothing wrong being conservative or fuddy-duddy, but school kids do latch on to differences…

Henry lost track of Frank’s kids as time went on. He had no need or occasion to keep tabs on them anyway, but after seven years in Africa and settling back into life in Kiwiland, they never crossed his mind. One day a young woman came into the nursery wanting some advice about her tree planting project. She had been sent by her sister-in-law, who was a good customer and who Henry had worked with on several other projects.

Joyce used Henry’s mister-title but still he didn’t recognise her. He could tell she was a hard worker because her hands showed the cracks and grime of farmwork. She smiled confidently and told him who she was, and that she had married into a farming family Henry knew well. Of course he asked her how her siblings were progressing and was happy to hear both boys owned farms; Frank’s first born lived further north on his farm and he had three children while the younger lived quite locally, also married with two kids. Henry was pleased to hear that the three had conquered adversity.

A couple of years later, Mags wanted a couple of big, square bales of pea straw for the flower garden and she found the phone number of a person selling some. Henry took Albert for the ride and Mags gave him the instructions to wait by the sheep yards at the end of a certain road. A flash new tractor soon pulled up with the bales prodded into the forks. A tall young fellow jumped from the tractor, beaming with his hand held out. It was the younger of Frank’s boys! Albert was just as thrilled to see him as Henry! They talked about farming and weather conditions and Albert decided he would like a bale too. So it was deftly popped on top, which overloaded the truck and they worried about meeting a cop all the way home!

Albert and Henry discussed Frank’s kids on their way home. Both felt that after the start in life the three kids had, it gave them faith in the resilience of human nature! It was great to see how well they have done. The young fellow they had just visited was level-headed, had an excellent grasp of his profession and was taking an active part in his community.

 

 


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