It takes a village …

You know the common phrase “it takes a village to raise a child”.
I would like to tell your readers that that sentiment extends throughout life to the elderly.
The village I want to praise is Umina and the person is my 90-year-old widowed father, Jack, who has lived there for the past 43 years.
At first, I wanted to send thanks to the kind person who found my father’s lost wallet last Friday outside Aldi and returned it to him complete with all monies and cards intact.
What a wonderful gesture that brightens the heart: to think that honesty and decency still exists!
However, the humanity extended to my father from the “village” Umina doesn’t stop with a single act of decency, it is displayed 10-fold each week by members of the community.
I want to share some of the spirit of Umina and thank the people who care enough to be kind.
This is not an obituary as Jack is well alive and kicking (or talking) as many would know him from his friendly wave, greetings and small talk to familiar faces as he rides his scooter up and down West St almost daily.
It is the selfless acts of kindness over and above the friendliness that impresses me.
The Meals on Wheels delivery man who brings a “special” cake for Jack along with his meals weekly.
The friendly man who drops in for an hourly chat weekly and whose wife invites Jack over for lunch. The “unknown” woman who met Jack at the coffee shop and brought around home-made soup that afternoon on her way to her nursing shift.
The wonderful women at the chemist and post office who share a joke, a birthday card, a present, give a hug and even phone Jack if they haven’t seen him for a few days.
The coffee shop worker who “slips’ him a free biscuit from time to time but remembers how he likes his coffee so that he feels special.
The new coffee shop owner who has only met Jack recently but took the time to carry his basket and help him shop at Woolworths last week.
The friendly and patient staff at the doctor’s surgery who share his jokes.
The current postie who stops to share a laugh.
The previous postie who used to bring him eggs from her chooks weekly.
These may all seem quite trite, small gestures but accumulatively they support and care for an individual who is also much loved by his family.
On behalf of Jack’s family, I thank the “village” of Umina for raising and caring for our father also.
Maybe it is isn’t an extraordinary tale.
My father led an ordinary life, youngest of nine children, too young for the war, worked for the Sydney Morning Herald for 45 years, raised four children, married for nearly 60 years, played competitive sport, coached etc.
He is a likeable “larrikin” (like Bob Hawke), a decent man, and honestly I think he deserves the love and support he gets from his family and his community.

Email, 19 May 2019
Jenny Aitken, Queensland

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