Monday, January 15, 2007

Meetings with Remarkable Men - The Chief of Sinners

Approximately 4 times a week, during our extended break, would find me & a 14 year old on her way to rowing practice, standing on Paraparaumu railway station waiting for the 8.35am to Wellington to arrive.

Having performed my drop off, and waiting just long enough to ensure the train was on time, I'd head back to SunnyO for about 4 hours until it was time for me to head South again to pick up the sporto.

Over the statutary holidays the station was bereft of humanity. Except of course for us. Later, as commuters started heading back to work, the place got pretty busy, although it should be noted that the public lavvy there is regularly devoid of loo paper, soap, and even on occasion, will not flush.

I would have reported that last one, except that on emerging onto the platform to go tell someone in authority, I was stopped by the open, smiling visage of a familiar face...

I've speculated about this guy in the past, even dreamed up some appropriate backstories for him. Then I got bored with it.

He was in his trademark trilby hat & rainproof jacket, and yes, he was staring right at me. He flicked a glance at the girl who'd joined me and asked, "Is THIS your daughter?"

He said "I've seen you in town!". I had to admit that over the course of what must surely be the last 25 years or so, I've seen him too. What most surprised me is that he recognised M, she later told me that he regularly targets her in his ministrations for the Lord, whenever she walks past. De ja vu.

Anyway, he asked if we lived up that way, I told him only sometimes, mostly we're in town. He asked where & then was able to give me the address of the closest mission to our house. Useful. I think he said that he lives in Forest Lakes... that's a long commute in my opinion.

He asked our names & I gave them. Then in return, I asked his. He looked stricken for a moment, then he leaned in close & conspiratorially whispered "The Chief of Sinners!"

He smirked, then added "But I have been redeemed!"

Then, I missed it, but M swears he added quietly, "Confidentially, it's Paul".

Which if you ask me would be the perfect christian name for someone of his calling.

Anyway, we bade our farewells, M waitied until he'd boarded & chose the carriage furthest away...

We didn't come across him again, but I'm guessing we will again before too long.