It was so good to see Norm Heldon. It has been five long years since my last - alas, truly my last - visit to Australia. This afternoon, he was really and truly sitting there, in my beloved rocker in my very own living room.
My friendship with Norm started on my first trip to Australia, way back in 1975. He was the master gardener responsible for keeping the gardens at the Hurstville church in tip-top shape, which meant that he was often just two doors down from where Mike & Kerry ended up.
His wife, Ruth, played the organ. She was a good friend. When she was not well enough to go to a celebration involving her dearly beloved grandchildren, she asked me to go with Norm in her place. It was a honor I will remember forever. I miss her still.
Norm is the quintessential Australian - friendly, outgoing and with a strong desire to help. He would lend a hand to anyone who needs it. A man that it is an honor to call friend.
It was great fun sitting there, gabbing away with Norm, his brother Syd and sister-in-law Lib. Great fun to hear about his travels.
What I will remember most will be the two brothers talking about when they were growing up, especially their description of the marvelous garden their parents kept. Blackberries and raspberries, apple and pear trees, all sorts of vegetables.
It was so much fun to slip back in time with the two of them, who seemed liked more like boys that the older gents they are.
This is Norm's last day in the USA. Tomorrow, he heads home after a very active visit. He went all over the place - Bryn Athyn, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Canada and probably quite a few places I forget. Boy, to have the energy to fit in all he did. What a man!
It was a good day, a very g'day indeed.
Love - KRL