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Stan’s Stuff

Halloween came early. With a BANG!

With amazing speed the road came up to hit my face. Or was it the other way around?
 |  Stan Stewart  | 

In the darkened street, my foot hit the bollard and I had nowhere to go but down. I was carefully carrying my favourite pizza from Slice Slice Baby. I saved it from spilling and the pizza box saved half my face from even more damage. I lost. Few seconds somewhere and then I realised I lay completely flat. I could taste gravel. I couldn’t move. Blood was trickling down my face. What’s next?

The street was completely dark. I could see streetlights but none were near me.

A car slowly turned out of Mill Road, Whitianga into Monk Street.  I would like to signal but I couldn’t. My arms wouldn’t move. I had lost my voice. It seemed like the car would drive away. Then it stopped. Ever so slowly it backed up. Then the white vehicle turned into the Mill Road carpark where I lay. The headlights bathed me. The vehicle stopped beside me. The driver’s door opened.

A woman asked, “Is that you, Stan?” At that moment I knew I was saved. At that moment, I believed in a guardian angel, fairy godmother, seraphim, cherubim – the lot.

I have always been skeptical about divine interventions – miracle cures etc., but hearing that familiar female voice ask, “Is that you Stan?” overcame me. How could this be?

I had been flat on the ground for maybe two minutes (not sure), and I have been found. And not just found; found by someone who knew me. I thanked God – Alpha and Omega – or whatever you like to call it.

A workmate told me, “It was the Universe. The Universe watches over us and helps us when we most need help”. Whatever! When I heard a kind voice ask, “Is that you Stan?” gratitude flooded my heart. I had made friends with my guardian angel at the Mercury Bay Club and then again at a fabulous family afternoon coffee that went on forever.

Soon her friends were around me. The Ambulance was called. My wife arrived. Blood trickled down my face. From photos I saw later I could see I was looking like a Halloween ghoul – but the blood was not phony. Then my workmates arrived. At The Informer we are a small team, and we certainly enjoy each other and watch out for each other.

After gentle testing it seemed clear that nothing was broken. A chair was brought. By now we were all freezing. I asked “could we walk to our office”. At last, we were warm and a glow of friendship filled the space.

Sometime around 8pm a friend of my guardian angel arrived. She had nursing experience and she checked me out. Nothing to do but wait for the ambulance. I had two problems. 1. I never like being the centre of attention but no one else could compete with my bloody face.  2. I was suspicious that some of my helpers had their eyes on the Slice, Slice Baby pizza. Its aroma wafted through the room.

The three-person ambulance team arrived just before midnight. They were great. In no time at all I was wired up to I know not what and my situation was thoroughly assessed. More probing and blood wiping. In the end I was given the all-clear. No trip to hospital needed.

Although I healed in a hurry, thought still not quite me yet, I had four days off working – had to rest. Gave me time to think about living in Whitianga.

We never intended to come here. A friend coaxed, and then pushed (mainly me) into The Informer. Pauline has now been here for two years and I have lived in Whitianga for one year – so much to learn, working very hard, faltering steps. But now I love it. I’m not talking about the scenery which is unsurpassed. I am talking about the people.

I think most people come here because of the scenery, the lifestyle, the beaches, the fishing. These are all wonderful, but they are not the best things about this place.

Whitianga gives you the chance to start again. My observation is that most have sold up their previous home (and maybe business) and come to Whiti for beach, scenery and fishing. There’s something better here – the people. There is a generosity of spirit that levels social distinctions and welcomes everyone in.

The town and district is like a club.  Anyone can join. You don’t need references, nominations, joining fees. Just by being here, you are in. Maybe in your past life you were stuck up, officious, a super manager, house proud. You don’t have to be any of that here. You can just be ordinary, friendly, no airs or graces. You can be a welcoming person ready to chat to all-comers.

With thoughts like these, who says I haven’t had a brain injury?

Postscript:  Tell me why you love living where you do – Tairua? Coromandel Town? Whangamata? Thames? Pauanui?