I hadn't met you I would never have seen, driving late
at night in the Araluen
the surprising sight of a man standing beside the road
draped in a grey blanket with a gorilla mask on his
head. Nor would whoever was in the other car, the one
you had a short time before mistaken for ours, which
had first slowed down and then passed you at speed.
jokes are one of the many things you introduced me to.
I had joined the Sydney University Newman Society to
meet people (especially boys). At City
the meeting-place, I found an old, once-gracious house
with bare floorboards, ramshackle furniture and big
old kitchen table, which extended a rare welcome. In
that house I found warmth, acceptance, fun and challenge.
I learnt there not to expect simple answers and to stop
thinking of religion as a set of rules. I learnt about
social responsibility. I learnt about Irish music, red
wine and Dixon
thought there was something special about that house,
and there was, but it had nothing to do with the house.
Over the years I have seen the spirit of that house
recreated in many different places. I feel lucky to
have been in that place at that time and to have become
part of the wide community of people whom you have inspired,
challenged, supported and loved.
by Maria Manning