14 October 2020
The Sunshine Coupleby TRACEY HEEPS
Mail safely in hand, I spied Mum and Dad in the distance. “I’ll catch them at the Point,” I thought and quickened my pace. The puff of smoke was the first distraction, then the sizzling. But it was the smell that stopped me in my tracks. Families sharing lunch beneath the Norfolk pines is a common sight during fairer days in Port Campbell. I find it astounding that folk (usually Mums and Nanas) are so organised to have burners, cooking paraphernalia and food prepared ready to cook up when a suitable location found. Spinning on my Birkis, I took a few steps back to the couple in their 60’s. ”Your lunch looks amazing”! Two sets of dark eyes sparkled and they said in unison- “please, join us!”. I protested that I needed to join my family, but they were insistent. With pride they explained their modest feast. There were homemade flat breads toasting, at least 6 eggs popping on the hotplate, the whitest of cheeses and a tiny ancient saucepan spilling over with onions and olives. “You must try this,” he said. “Organic, organic,” she said, holding aloft a perfectly blistered lime green chilli. “I grow myself, sit, please sit!”. I sat. He dipped the bread into the frying eggs and offered it to me. It was magnificent. Responding to my question, he pointed with pride to his t-shirt with Melbourne embroidered across the chest. “Sunshine, 37 years.” This lovely couple had driven from their city home all the way to our little town, just to have lunch under the pines.
There were homemade flat breads toasting, at least 6 eggs popping on the hotplate, the whitest of cheeses and a tiny ancient saucepan spilling over with onions and olives.
I explained that I needed to find my family- “bring them here, they can join us, all together, there is plenty!” Reluctantly I started to back away, still chewing, not wishing to cause offence…. “You like baklava?” She asked. This woman is good. She found my weak spot. “I love baklava.” I admitted. “Here, you take to share with you family’” she proffered an unopened box of sugary, rosewatery pastries. Speechless, I just bowed, completely humbled by their generosity. My face ached from smiling and I found myself shaking my head in awe. “Thankyou, thankyou, you have made my day!”, I walked backwards, bowing and smiling and shaking. They were still waving as I turned up the track to the Point.
I was able to watch my new Melbournian friends from a distance as they methodically packed their 20 year old people-mover, waited patiently for the traffic to clear then accommodated a new Audi as it backed out without warning. I hoped that everyone they came across in Port Campbell was kind to them.
They demonstrated more kindness and hospitality to me in my hometown, that I have afforded other visitors in too long.
Thankyou Sunshine Couple. you taught me humility and I am grateful to you.