Contributions from Readers – May 2021

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Contributions from Readers – May 2021

Snells Beach. 1943.

In 1943, wartime, World War 2, my sweetheart, Ron, lived with his mother, father, sister Molly and brother Laurie, in a cottage right by the water at Snells Beach.  In those days their closest neighbour was a lady who lived at the other end of the beach. It was a lovely peaceful place with a beautiful safe beach right on their doorstep. 
Then the American soldiers arrived – ten thousand of them! They made their main landing in the next bay, arriving in tank landing craft, by the thousand. 
They thundered past the cottage in Jeeps,  army vehicles and tanks heading for their training camp near Warkworth. Their planes roared over the cottage roof. 
The Americans became a familiar sight over the next few months, rumbling past on the road. They set up machine guns for practice and engaged the local Home Guard in exercises. 
They were very generous and tossed apples, chocolate and chewing gum to the children. “Hey Sonny, do you have a big sister?” they called to Ron. “Yes” he called back. “How old is she?” they asked. “She’s eleven,” answered Ron.
Sometimes the young soldiers came to the beach, to fill their trucks with sand and sometimes they borrowed the two dinghies and skylarked at the beach. They were just kids really. 
Some months later they were sent to the islands to fight the Japanese. I heard not many made it back home. 

Margaret Larsen. 

The Tui Story – from dream to nightmare.

The young tui visited the neighbourhood often. It had been found, fallen from the nest, we think, and hand-reared by someone in the area who then released it into Fern Glen Gardens in Kauri Rd. It liked being around people and even landed on a neighbour talking to a group of other neighbours in the street. It stayed a while then flew off.

The tui often appeared around my deck and, one day, after drinking from the bowl of water perilously balancing on the rail, it hopped onto my nephews’s arm which he was holding out, encouragingly. It seemed quite comfortable there so he brought it carefully into the house to show me. It didn’t seem at all afraid and didn’t fly off around the house but allowed itself to be taken outside and shooed off.

It was getting much braver and was frequently around the trees in the valley beyond the deck. Then, one day when I was eating lunch outside on the deck, it gave up perching on the rail, seemingly demanding to be fed, which we never did anyway, and flew off in apparent disgust.

Suddenly, there was a flurry of wings, feathers and sharp claws as it swooped onto my shoulder. I was completely taken by surprise. I hadn’t seen it coming, got such a shock, shrieked and tried to brush it off, not realising what it was. For a moment it seemed like the terrifying “The Birds” movie or the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “The Raven”.

Probably, all the tui wants is a bit of human company and, perhaps, a bit of food. But, now, to me it seems like an evil presence hanging about in the trees waiting to swoop in on me again in a terrifying flurry.

Rosemary Bold

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