The people of the Upper Clutha parish treated us today with the most extraordinary generosity and kindness. Clemency and I exchanged some small but significant things and our children gave us gifts which showed a great deal of care and thought and planning, including a USB drive containing 40 pieces of music our children knew and remembered from their childhoods, or that they knew one or both of us responded to. So there was a song from the first LP Clemency ever owned (Cliff Richards, Summer Holiday) and tracks from the Cranberries and Dire Straits for me. There were recordings of songs we sang to them every night at bedtime: The Skye Boat Song (Clemency) or Abide With Me (me) and one that was taught in the Sunday School at St. Francis Hillcrest. There was music played on the long traverses of the North Island towing a trailer full of tents and campstoves and the theme music of films we watched repeatedly as a family. There was music from our adolescence and early adulthood and music that populates our current playlists. We drove past the 40th generation descendants of the lupins and gentian blue viper's bugloss which had garlanded the roads in 1976, with the music raising draughts from a deep well of memory. We marvelled at the power of a beautifully conceived and prepared gift to express the deepest love.
It's been quite the adventure. We've had our moments as we've grown through all our adult years in each others' company; but here we are, all these years later with with a depth of companionship and mutual understanding which 40 years ago we couldn't have even guessed was possible.