I’m Not Dead Yet - by Geoff Machin.   May 22

 My cousin, Ian, the computer geek from Auckland visited us for Christmas.  Like my wife, he is interested in Ancestry, and was able to help her with any computer work in that field, (and it all seems to be computer work in that field.)  He suggested that I should visit my 89 year old cousin in Motueka.  Ian arranged everything.  All I had to do was to pack my bags.  (A big suitcase for the Christmas gifts I was taking to my son and his family who live in Picton, plus a small bag of my own clothes.)

We had a smooth crossing on the Kaitaki, and walked to Andrew’s place, carrying our luggage.  Hell, it was hot!  After a long ice cold drink of water, I presented the gifts, then replaced them with my bag of clothing.  Ian collected the rental car, and we were away.  He is an excellent driver, and we made very good time, arriving at 795 Motueka Highway just before sunset.

Eric was really pleased to see us and we were impressed by the firm strength of his handshake.  He showed us to our room.  It used to be the lounge when his wife was alive, and before his children left home.  Now it had a big double bed.  On the wall was a photo of a young hunk of a man, bare-chested and stripped down to his shorts in order to show off his “Mr. Universe” muscles, - Eric at the age of 18!  A few months ago, while driving home, he went to sleep at the wheel and put his car into a ditch, hurting his back, but he is determined to regain his former fitness.  Meanwhile, he is not allowed to do any heavy lifting, and his girlfriend makes sure that he doesn’t!  So, he asked us to do a wee job for him.

On the 5th, Ian and I had a lot of fun going through old, dusty boxes, cabinets, and drawers, some of which were falling apart, in Eric’s huge old shed and workshop.  We found old papers, photos, books and lots of interesting objects.  We put these into labelled boxes for sorting later.  Most of my mother’s stuff was put into a suitcase to take home and sort.  While we were doing this, Ian was taking lots of photos with his all-purpose cell phone, and sending them to my wife, and to others who may be interested.  At least it was reasonably cool in the shed.  Motueka sun is really intense.

                                                                         Smartphone

                                                                  Ian’s hand-held brain

                                                           With its photographic memory

                                                                   Always tells the truth

Ian even took photos of old photos, “just for the record.”  On the 7th we visited four cemeteries where members of our whānau are buried.  Once again, out came the all-purpose cell phone.  Ian was taking photos of the relevant headstones, and sending them to all who were interested.  As this would be our last night with Eric, Ian decided that he’d better get a photo of my cousin.  He did so, and sent it with the label:                                                      “Eric, aged 89, taken today, 7-1-2019.” 

An e-mail came back. “We have the sad news.  When is the funeral?”           

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