Central Plateau, North Island

Central Plateau, North Island
View from a friend's farm

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Some words from “ The Ancient Mariner”


I found these words  last week, from many years ago, my dear friend who lived in a suburb of Auckland felt very strongly that the volunteers of all sizes and ages did not receive the thanks they were due.This was sent to “ The New Zealand Herald” with a request to be published. That did not happen.My dear friend passed from this world in April, 2010. I flew from Palmerston North to Auckland to be at his funeral. Words had been carefully prepared. Then I was told the service would not be lengthy, the minister had a family member ill,  eulogies had been selected from family, and friends were not able to tell of the most wonderful impact this dear man had made in their lives. Grief  overwhelmed me. The final farewell was bitter-sweet, as     “ Taps” was played on a bugle.

The wall hanging I made and  mailed to him for his 91st birthday while he had one last  visit to Auckland Hospital has been sent by his daughter to the  Felixstowe Museum,to be displayed with other Coastal Forces Memorabilia. This would be the highest honour I could imagine, and I am humbled and honoured to know it hangs there, a reminder of one man’s life and many years serving  in HMS.

Mariner's Compass wall hanging

I have taken  a liberty that I cannot request, to post  these words,but I am sure “The Ancient Mariner” as he called himself, would be so happy to see them published.

Photos below courtesy of the Internet.


“ Who Will Say Thank You?”

In the good old summertime, Auckland City sparkles and bustles with activity and endeavour.All Auckland systems are go!

From 5 a.m. millions of cars head for the CBD on a myriad of motorways, ant-like in determination, but snail paced in speed, road rage reverberates, gridlock grasps.

A hundred thousand siblings dawdle unwillingly to school. Shoppers throng the malls and centres  throughout  the wider city.Doctors doctor, Nurses nurse, Teachers teach, Journalists scribble and talk, Lawyers  litigate, Police pursue. On suitable recreation days, tanned skins seek sun,sand,sea and surf.On their way to the gulf, tall sails slide gracefully, swan-like between fuming, fussing ferries.Leather on willow;clubface on golf rubber; gut strings on tennis balls, these all resound around the green pastures of the city..At night theatres, cinemas,restaurants, casinos and clubs have the hub-bub of a score of tongues and languages.

Among all this frantic activity,  there is a relatively small group of Aucklanders whose hearts and minds wish to put something back into the community--- CARING

They are the  Red Cross volunteers, who deliver mid-day meals to the ill, the  frail, the aged and the disabled.Their responsibilities also include monitoring the current  health status, and reporting anything unusual or abnormal.The age spectrum of the Volunteers runs from 85 plus at the top end to 17 or so at the younger end.They each bring some aspect of their different personalities to the recipients, for many of whom it is their only connection with the outside world each day. The Volunteers seek no recognition of their service, but perhaps a future Minister of Health could acknowledge the huge savings to the Department’s budget by supplying a plain , tastefully designed lapel pin, a Red Cross on a pearl background with a caring hand in one of the quadrants.

Do not hold your breath.

On behalf of the recipients, several thousand of them, one can only say ,” Many thanks, You are the salt of the earth”

Since the above was written, a married couple , 80 and 82 years of age, told me that they had been volunteers for twenty years, and were resigning this year for health reasons. Dedication, that says it all.


Auckland Harbour


May 2013, Auckland Harbour

Quotation of the day from Helen Steiner Rice

“Time is not measured by the years that we live,

but by the deeds that we do and the joys that we give”

Greetings from Jean


TexWisGirl said...

it sounds like he was a very good man with eyes that noticed much. thanks for sharing his 'thank you' letter.

Nancy J said...

If some of you think I haven't been reading your posts, I have, usually first thing early in the mornings. Life has been extra busy, Hugh is not the best right now, and ( for me, never lost for words!!!) leaving a comment is hard if I try not to reflect our troubled days. My posts get longer spaces and days between, but reading all of yours, seeing the comments you get, is keeping me afloat. And when I read of others who have their man really ill, it tends to put things in perspective down here.

Janet said...

Beautiful words and a lovely tribute. And the wall hanging you made for him is so lovely. I wonder that you didn't tell us his name....

Allie said...

What an honor to have that quilt hanging there, and what an honor to have had a friend like that. Thanks for sharing with us hon. Praying for you and Hugh.

Nancy J said...

here is the link to the post I did about Walter Drake, I didn't put in his name out of respect to his family, who might not have had the chance to read these words of his.


Julie Fukuda said...

I love that Mariner's Compass and the words are so true. Thanks for sharing them.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Jean ~ What a lovely tribute to you friend, and how neat to have your lovingly made piece hanging in a museum in his honor.

You and Hugh are in my prayers.

Love and hugs for the both of you ~ FlowerLady

eileeninmd said...

What a lovely letter, your friend was a good man.. I love the wall hanging. Lovely tribute to your friend. Have a happy day and week ahead!

The Furry Gnome said...

I fully agree about caring volunteers. They run so much of our social services, as well as all the minor sports, churches, community events, hospital fund-raising, and the list goes on. Everyone should give something back to their community. Sorry Hugh is not well.

Jim said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend, Jean. It has finally been 'published'!
And, what a deserving tribute he made to the many people who volunteer their services every day of the year all over the world.
And look at your artwork there....hanging in a museum for generations to appreciate.
Lovely post.

Carol Mattingly said...

Dearest Jean, all you need do is take of Hugh and we post whenever you can. For we are here to brighten your day as much as we can. I loved your story and were it not for Volunteers I fear we all would be in a world of hurt. Stay safe. Carol

KB said...

This was a beautiful post. Your quilt that you made for your friend is elegantly beautiful. What an honor to have it hanging in a museum!!!!! It deserves to be there - it is truly a work of art.

I'm so glad that you published your friend's words. They are heartfelt and show his true character.

Hannah said...

Your quilt square is lovely, a beautiful tribute, and worthy to be hanging in a museum. We were involved with caregiving for my in-laws for many years, it's great if family members can care for the elderly, but it seems like assisted living is more usual now.

Jenn Jilks said...

You know you are loved, Jean. You make a difference in many lives.
It's a shame that the minister couldn't simply let another MC the celebration of life.

We only matter to those who love us, and this is such an important time to honour them.
The journey of caregiver, in your present role, is a difficult one. I'm sure you are learning a lot about yourself.
Many, many hugs, my dear. You are loved, as well. Take your time. Do what you have to do. Refrain from the thing you are unable to manage, or that drain you! XO

Michaele said...

A beautiful tribute! I do hope you are managing with Hugh. You are in my thoughts. Stay strong.

bj said...

What a warm and full-of-love post, Jean. Such a fine tribute.
I love your amazing wall hanging and I know how proud you must be to have it displayed there.
Love, Jean

Jenn Jilks said...

This is truly uplifting. We have many volunteers around here, as well.

Jenn Jilks said...

Your quilts are wonderful. What a terrific hobby.