The 31st of December is often a time for reflection as was the case with us this morning. “53 years ago we went to see my Grandfather in Nyah West,” Doug remarked out of the blue, “It was the first time I had seen him since I was a little boy and the only time you ever saw him.” He continued.
By the time we married in late 1963 Doug’s maternal grandfather, Arthur Payne was the last remaining of Doug’s forebears. Grandfather being quite elderly was unable to come to our wedding so soon after New Year we decided to go and see him to thank him for our wedding gift.
It was a long haul from Maryborough in Central Victoria up the Loddon Valley highway and onto the Murray Valley Highway to Swan Hill and then a further twenty eight kilometres further to Nyah West. We travelled the 250 Kms there and back in our little green Volkswagen beetle in the one day. Doug was keen to introduce me to him.
On arrival we were not disappointed, he was such a lovely and hospitable man, we had arrived unannounced and he made us most welcome. We have a photo of him standing on his verandah, it’s not a good photo but the only one we have. We came home from the 500km round trip quite exhausted.
Two years later we were living in Melbourne when the news of his passing came through. A Chrysler Valiant doing 120 Mph had hit grandfathers little Austin A40. Yes! I do mean miles per hour not kilometres. The occupants of the other car were killed outright as they hit a culvert. It transpired that they had a boot full of Marijuana. Whether they were fleeing the police or not we don’t know but they were in a big hurry. Grandfather lived only a short while after the impact but was quite coherent and told Uncle Walter that the car came out of nowhere. He had made his peace with God many years before and his injuries were so horrific that we were glad he did not survive.
On reflection two things come to mind. Firstly, we are so glad we made the effort to see him that hot summer day for it has reminded us that in this time of resolutions we should make make the most of every opportunity. Secondly, at our age in life we want to be and do our best. In 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul encourages us to be workmen who need not be ashamed. As we step out of 2016 and into 2017 we want to pursue excellence. That is our goal.