Halfway around the world, about as far as you can get from Canada, I was suddenly brought home by my mother. On Christmas day, this was in 1994, I was at remote general store near an organic farm I was working at somewhere on the east coast of the southern island of New Zealand. I had walked down early in the day to get some supplies, usually tea and cheese, and maybe bread, to bolster the salad and weeds we’d have for dinner most nights. And as I walked by the pay phone next to the store it started ringing. This was weird because there was literally nothing else around and hardly any people in the area. I’d seen maybe 6 different people in 2-3 months.Why would this pay phone in the middle of nowhere start ringing as I walked by it? Bizzare.
So I went into the old red phone booth and picked up the ringing phone. And it was my mom on the other end.
It was X-mas for her, and Boxing Day for me. She said that she’d called twice that morning, because she thought I’d be down there. She found the number on her own, I had never given it to her, and never actually even knew it myself. I had called from that phone once before, sometime in the previous 2 months, to say all was good. She had found the place on a map, a really good one, and somehow worked out the phone number.
She did the same thing on my birthday 3 months later, finding me in a pub in Australia, stuffing my mouth full of kidney pie and lager, part of my ‘salary’ for working nearby. I was 20. In Australia you get the key to the city at 20, ’cause you can do whatever you want.
I didnt get the key to the city, but I got a pie, a pint, and that phone call. And that was pretty good.