You may remember the picture by Jo May which began our caravan journey. Jo May painted her caravan with a red door. The young man at Resene cleverly matched the colour to ‘Poppy’. I bought a test pot for $4.50 and painted a funny old table which sits under a punga fern in front of the picture, which now hangs on the fence.
There was some paint left over in the tiny black pot, and it matched the geraniums by our letterbox. In the hot sun, I bravely painted our boring letter box an undeniable red.
Our lovely neighbour Roz stopped on her way to Auckland. ‘You might as well do mine as well.’
So I did.
Three other neighbours came past and I missed my Tom Sawyer moment when I could have offered them a turn. But it was nice to talk, out there on the street.
After two coats on the letterbox, there was just enough left over to paint the numbers on our meter box. Our address is now unmistakeable.
As I said, the colour of the paint is ‘Poppy’, the flower which is the first to grow back on land devastated by war. In the weeks before Anzac Day we buy the bright red poppies, to wear to commemorate those who have died in wars over the last century. We watch the defence forces and returned servicemen and women parade in the street, their buttons and medals shining in the early morning sun, and the poppies there for all to see.
Today, a package arrived in my glowing red letterbox. There were two medals there for me -one commemorating the visit of the Queen to New Zealand when I was just three years old, and the other marking the centenary of the first four ships to arrive for the Canterbury settlement , in 1850. One of these ships carried my great great grandfather, the first editor of what became The Christchurch Press.
The sender light heartedly suggested that I wear them for Anzac Day, or for being brave while backing the caravan.
Oh the circularity of coincidences , and the serendipity of red paint.
I quote from Dr Zeuss
And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.