No Future In Fussing
Hi, Peter. How are you doing?
I’ve been roaming around, mentally, in my mind. When I look back over my life’s history in Palmerston North, me and my two brothers, we always had our Aunty Florrie to look after us. As young ones we found her to be like a rock. She’d take care of us, look after us. No fuss, just matter of fact. She coped from day to day.
But there was one peculiar thing about that time, and I was thinking, just this morning, of my experiences with the Leyland family a long way back — and I can look back a long way, longer than most! What was strange was that a few of the Leylands, when they were in a crisis, they’d collapse. Aunty Florrie was like that. From day to day she was a rock, but she was also a contradiction.
Florrie had a dear friend — ‘Blind Aunt’ we called her among ourselves. (She was not really our aunt.) One day ‘Blind Aunt Maggie’ took me aside and said, ‘Peter, that woman is a mass of contradictions — a mass of contradictions!’
And sure enough, when Aunty Florrie faced a serious crisis she’d collapse into a chair and moan. Then my dad would say to me, ‘Peter, you’ll have to cope with this — we can’t.’
So the both of them — brother and sister, father and aunty, were useless at times. Negative. And the more serious the crisis, the worse it got.
Now, by contrast, my grandfather, Old Phil, he was different. He seemed totally emotionless to an onlooker. Who knows what he was feeling inside, how can you tell? But he’d just carry on as usual. Never made a fuss.
But my father, he was no good in a crisis. ‘Let someone else cope with it.’ He’d walk away from it. Sometimes I’d get landed with it. I ended up being more like Old Phil who’d say ‘there’s no future in making a fuss’. So I didn’t make fuss. And I still don’t. There’s no future in making a fuss.
And there’s Aunty Florrie, coping with all the practicalities of day-to-day living, but when the personal crisis came along — a total collapse!
Now, Blind Aunt, she lived nearby. She visited us a lot. Sometimes she’d stay a few weeks. She was totally blind, and Aunty Florrie would take her shopping, or take her to church. In spite of her blindness Blind Aunt was very capable and astute, and she’d often repeat her words to me, ‘Peter, listen to me. Some of these Leylands are a mass of contradictions.’
And when I look back and think, yes, we’re a queer breed alright, and some are very unreliable at times. But me? After I retired from the Dairy Company one of the supervisors, (very high up in the firm), he came and said, ‘Peter, if you ever want to come back to work here, you’d be made welcome with open arms.’
‘Why?’ I asked.
‘With your reputation … ‘
‘What reputation? I didn’t know I had one!’
But I must have had some ability, perhaps it was being able to deal with things. I can do that. I can cope. You’ve got to cope. There’s no future in making a fuss.