31.  Remarkable pink wedding

Having just uploaded a few chapters in my autobiography the weekend of March 19/20 was the perfect time for a night away with Isobel in the countryside.

Unfortunately, as I found out traveling to Germany in 2002, simply moving away bodily did not mean that the mind also switches to holiday-mode. On more than one occasion, over those two short days, I could sense the leading of my inner, inexplicable, remote guidance and observation system. I just called it - God at work. He was arranging our paths to arrive at the right places at the appointed time. Except, only I could see it.   

On the Saturday of departure my diary states that I woke at 3.35am and pondered about the word Cathedral. Broken into letters I read it as ‘see a cross, he, DR, LA’. At the time I (DR) had already booked my flight to LA, but had not yet told Isobel. I didn’t want to spoil those precious hours. 

I fell asleep again after contemplating this word ‘Cathedral’ for a while. I knew I would be visiting the Crystal Cathedral in California within weeks. On that day, only hours later, the words ‘Crystal’ and ‘Cathedral’ would cross our path again.

The second time I woke the clock radio showed 5.33am. How strange this all is, friends, but I would not have written this into my diary, if it had not been so. I can’t recall when and why, but a few days prior to our trip, the name Melrose came to my mind. It is a lovely little town, situated in the Southern Flinders Ranges, about 5 hours drive north of Adelaide. We packed leisurely on Saturday morning and left in the green Suzuki about 9am.

We had no accommodation booked. It seemed unnecessary off-season. Usually, where possible, I plan to travel one way to a destination, and a different way back for variety. Our first stop was Redhill, a tiny town just off the main highway to Western Australia on the railway line, which had only recently been extended, to reach as far north as Darwin.

We stopped for a sandwich, which we had packed and a coffee, which we also carried in a thermos flask. Studying our planned route I became intrigued by the names of the places we’d be visiting. My mind couldn’t help deciphering the names, breaking them into brackets of letters and playing little games with them. It just came natural. You may recall our first stop, Redhill, as the name of painting No. 7 at the Gallery I had inspected and written about.

After the 3.35/5.33am Cathedral incident and now the name Redhill, I started to wonder, if this weekend was really going to be a rest and relax or a weekend of work, the kind I specialize in. Having claimed that I am committed to the guiding of the Holy Spirit, I should have known that this is a 24/7 engagement without holidays.

The next stop was at Crystal Brook, a larger, regional centre of this rich agricultural district. We decided to go for a stroll up the main road, which was very wide, tree-lined with a large median strip. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm for tourists. Farmers would have wished for rain, no doubt.

A few hundred meters along I noticed a small park with a rotunda in the centre. We walked in that direction, just looking around as tourists do. To my left we saw a picnic table. There was something odd about it – on the table were rose petals, a thick covering of them, mainly pink in colour with a touch of white. How did they get there? Luckily no wind was blowing or they would not have stayed on the table for long.

Isobel dismissed it as kids playing or perhaps a wedding had taken place earlier - before 12 noon? I knew that the colour pink had featured very prominently in my latest upload only ½ week earlier. How could I command my brain to deny thinking what it was thinking, or my eyes to reject what they were seeing? The word petal, of course, is on of those that contained the letters P, T and L, which feature very prominently on my Intro-page on this website. (Pallet is another).

I took notice of something else very odd. An electric wheelchair, also called gopher, was parked by the kerbside. No driver anywhere in sight. What was it doing there, all on its own?

Beyond the Picnic Area I noticed cars parked outside a church. I was curious what kind of activity was in progress at midday on a Saturday. It was not a Seventh Day Adventist Church, but a traditional (Uniting) church. Isobel wouldn’t go inside the door of the church. Two ladies sat on a table, a kind of reception desk. They told me it was a Healing Seminar – Freedom for life.

I said, as a joke: “It must have worked, because there is an abandoned wheelchair over by the park!” Just as well Isobel didn’t hear it. She would have been embarrassed. 

After arriving back at our car I noticed a phone box. I decided to ring a place in Melrose to reserve a room, just in case. Two things puzzled me as I did this. One, the male voice at the other end at first said, “I don’t think we’ve got anything (a room for us), but let me check”. They did have a room. (Later I would notice they had many rooms. It was going to cost $ 70. We were given room Number 7).

The second peculiarity was two phone-cards, which I picked up from this phone box. They were identical five-dollar cards. The colour scheme was pink (and white) similar to the colours of the petals on the picnic table. 

Crystal Brook - 19/3/05. Adelaide Market 18/02/05. On both occasions I was using a public phone box. Both times I found identical $ 5 phone cards (used, of course) inside the phone booth. 

In Crystal brook the card matched the colour on the table, where I had just taken photo.

                                     

 

What made it so interesting was that the previous time I used a public phone I also picked up two identical $ 5.00 Telstra cards, which sat on top of the phone. How co-incidental is that?  

Driving into the next town, Gladstone (love then name) I was surprised at the large numbers of Garage Sales signs. Here I was, on a weekend away from the constant barrage of Garage Sale signs every weekend in the big city, and what do I get?

I noticed an empty 5c soft drink can. My Suzuki’s remote guidance system sprung into action, perhaps triggered by the aluminum can and ‘Garage Sale’ Sign. (It was not the only encounter with a 5c can that day). I pulled over and parked right beside the merchandise the local Kindergarten was selling to raise funds.

I bought a video, the old movie ’Heidi’. Talking to the ladies in attendance, I explained my childhood connection to this film: When I was 12 years old, still living in Germany, I spent 2 weeks on a holiday camp in the village, where the film Heidi was made – near Berguen in the Swiss county of Graubuenden.

Gladstone’s fame is Redruth Goal, a historic institution, now a Museum. Inside the courtyard entrance a special event was held – a garage sale. We didn’t buy anything, instead had a walk through the ancient thick walls and looked into the still functioning cells. They were used for school camps.

We climbed the central lookout tower, which gave us panoramic view of the vast dry, yellow bare countryside of South Australia’s Mid-North after a long, hot summer. I noticed a freight train, with its load of steel, creating much noise as it rumbled out of town. It was followed by a 4-wheel drive (Transfield) on rails. (The next day I couldn’t help seeing an identical train followed by the 4-WD on our way home).

My diary says: I enjoyed being with Isobel. We had no arguments and only a little nagging. The next town we drove through was called Laura. In my first book I made fun with this female name, reading it as L’aura. As we drove through the town I did have a distinct sensation of being watched. In a way it was disturbing, to think people knew us and were looking and waving at our car as it went through this small town. But then, it could have been my imagination?

The name of our destination for the day was no imagination: Melrose. Not only was this name interesting, the whole weekend was filled with names, some remarkable, as if Hollywood had written a script. Would their brightest brain have included the Melrose landmark 'Cathedral Rock' or 'Mount Remarkable', under which Melrose nestles? It spooked me, when I saw the signs and then remembered waking up that very morning, thinking about the word Cathedral.  

Two other names stood out right on arrival - Stuart Street, where our Hotel was located and Nott Street. (No Garage Sale signs, hooray!). I wrote in my diary: What co-incidence that we chose this place on this weekend! The timing was significant, as usual - read on.

On check-in a friendly, petite lady showed us to Room 7. She must have assumed we are thirsty and said to Isobel: “I will go and get you a bottle of cold water out of the refrigerator”. As we were unpacking, she came back, saying that the manager did not agree to us having free cold water. With me this clicked straight away – not so with Isobel. She didn’t think there was anything unusual about all this.

Had she read my story, she would remember how I had arrived in LA almost 2 years earlier. I had expected to perhaps receive a glass of water, but didn’t. I drew a parallel. That’s why I was not upset at this most unusual treatment of visiting tourists. To say to someone, I go and fetch you a drink and then coming back saying, you’re not allowed to have one, is rather strange. Our hospitality industry is far more classy and generous than that; believe me. My explanation is the only one that made sense - I love it. Next day, before leaving I would be getting my ‘revenge’. 

Strolling up and down Stuart Street, the main street of this tiny town, we felt as if we were the only tourists around. This was really surprising, because we had picked the Saturday, when a wedding was taking place in the town. Normally, a wedding attracts tourists from out of town, so why did we get a room in the town’s only establishment so easily? 

As a matter of fact, judging by the number of motor cars in the parking lot, there were more empty rooms than occupied ones. The total was about 10. Only one other tourist couple and their daughter were staying there. Their car rego number was …369. But they were there not for the wedding, but traveling through.

As we walked past Paradise Park, on Stuart Street, we noticed the wedding party was still there. I wanted to walk over and find out a few details, but Isobel pulled in the other direction. The main attraction for me was the colour of the bridesmaids dresses. Guess the colour scheme. Correct – Telstra-phone-card-petal-pink.

Later in the afternoon another observation puzzled me. The bridal party only had 200 meters or so to travel from Paradise Park to the local hall, where the reception was held, but still had arranged for wedding cars. If there were an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the shortest route covered by wedding cars, this may have won the spot.

Walking past the noisy hall that evening, I had a peep through the open front door – Music, laughter, clanging of crockery and glasses were just as you would expect. Isobel said she heard the noise go on until late at night. Despite all looking normal, I still wondered about the things that didn’t add up. 

I had suspected fake funerals and Garage Sales in the past. But fake weddings? This would be the first and why not?

Actually no. It had happened on Sunday 6/2/05, when I was on my way home from the Italian Festival ‘Carnevale’ in Adelaide’s Rymill Park.

What a show! Da Ninci and I loved it, especially the three Fiat 500 Bambinos, parked side by side in red, yellow and blue. The Italian Choir sang the “Slave Song” by Verdi and “Leo”, a female pop group, finished their performance with “The Prayer”. One cap worn by someone I knew well, raised my Da Ninci level almost to the limit – the embroidered logo consisted of nothing, but the letters YD.

As I walked back to where I had parked my Suzuki, two Daimler wedding cars arrived just at that moment. A bride and bridesmaid got out of the cars and slowly walked into a Function Centre, called “The Observatory”. There was no one else anywhere. Wouldn’t you think that other wedding guests would also be arriving and cars be parked everywhere? I was perplexed for the lack of people and activity. Something looked strange late that Sunday afternoon.

As mentioned, arriving in Melrose I played with street names right from the start. At the tennis courts a tournament was in full swing. We were walking nearby, when I stood and pondered for quite a while at the street signs - Lambert St and Christie Ct. Isobel was in a relaxed mood and didn’t wonder, why I was taken with the two street names or why I took a photo of two streets.

 

Benjamin Lambert, early special Landowner, original purchaser of Lot 1, Melrose.

Who was Christie Ct. named after?

 

As we strolled away two things bugged me. The CT indicated as Christie Court was not a street. At best it was a driveway to the house on the corner, but one could not even call it a driveway. I speculated that the sign on the picket fence was added after somebody read and believed my encounter on Lambert St. just before Anzac Day 2004 (Chapter 31 Mind).

One other item on that corner bugged me. As we walked away I registered a soft drink can laying in a ditch inside a drainpipe. It was a fluke that I spotted it at all. I was going to retrieve it right then. (Why walk around a tourist town, holding your wife’s hand, when you could be carrying cans and bottles, worth five-cent each at the return-depot? Why was I so excited about this item? It was a Sunkist Orange drink can. 

As I am writing this chapter, I am convinced that I was guided to this place and the can was part of the plot. In Chapter 31 the names Lambert and Sunkist are closely linked. One came first, then the other as confirmation. How could I ever forget? 

Magic was taking place, in my opinion, right there, while playing tourist in Melrose. Because Isobel had not grasped any of my history, what I saw was meaningless to her. She probably kept an eye on me for only one reason – to watch my level of excitement. I could be going high.

What a classic example of two people experiencing the same thing. Yet, one set of eyes sees nothing but two street signs and a 5-cent aluminum can for the trash bin. The other sees magic and beauty; he can’t wait to take a photo and to be telling the world about it.  

I only retrieved the can later that evening during a walk on my own. Should one take a treasure like this to the return-depot for a lousy 5 cent? The next day I was to pick up more magic items. 

The proposed Da Ninci Museum was again under consideration. 

Chapter 32

Index