Kaimoana Tales

by Kiwi

Carver's Business

Part 79

(Hey. Last one. A wee surprise here - I don't think anyone saw this coming, but it was planned from way back.)

The approaching, strange-but-familiar woman, was in Ugg boots, tight blue jeans and, despite the heat of the day, a Swandri jacket. She was kind-of tidy, but kind-of rough. She definitely looked out of place among the tourists and housewives in the street. She'd be more at home out on a farm somewhere.

Cecily was sure that she'd seen that face before, but couldn't place her.

Apparently, she was right because the woman stopped and exclaimed, "Cecily Carver! You don't remember me, do you? Ginnie Cain, I used to date your big brother, many years ago."

"Ginnie? Oh, Good Lord! I remember. That was a long time ago, but I remember. You were a teenager with long hair and short skirts."

"That was me! I've still got the hair, but I wouldn't get away with a mini-skirt these days. You were just a girl. Look at you now - all grown-up!"

"I'm grown-up. I'm a grandmother, several times over."

"Really? Time flies. You wear it well, you must've started young. But then, most Carvers did, didn't they?"

"You're not wrong. They still do start young actually, far too young sometimes. One thing the Carvers have always been good at is having babies."

"Tell me about it! Where is young Harvey these days?"

"He's living in Brisbane, has been for years. He went there on holiday, 20 years ago, and hasn't come home yet."

"Bloody long holiday! I thought he'd never leave Westpoint."

"No? Well, some do, sometimes."

"Obviously. Did he ever get married?"

"Harvey? No, he's still single."

"Yeah, me too. I call myself 'Mrs.' but I've never married, not yet anyway. Harvey's still gay is he?"

"Yes, Harvey's gay, apparently."

"Yes, apparently. Bastard got me pregnant, and then said that he was queer. I haven't forgiven him for that yet."

"I remember. You had a little girl, didn't you? So she was Harvey's?"

"Definitely! She grew up and had a baby really young too. It must run in the family."

"Genes will out, so they say."

"Sure looks like it."

They spoke for a few minutes, exchanging memories and pleasantries, and then Ginnie moved on. She was in a bit of a hurry because there was a closing-down sale at the liquor store.

"Something bloody wrong when a bottle-shop goes bust! Still, good news for some people. Gotta go, Cecily. It's lovely to see you again. Give my regards to the Carvers."

"I'll do that. Goodbye, Ginnie. Don't buy all of their stock."

"Well, you never know."

She hurried away and Dianne sat down at the table.

"You're okay here?"

"Yes, I'm fine thanks. I suppose that I should be moving on too."

"Enjoy your leisure time, I'm sure it's not always like that."

"It surely is not!"

"Cecily, I've got a question. You are a Carver?"

"Yes, that's me. Or, I was, I changed my name when I married. Westpoint is full of Carvers, it's a big family."

"It must be. Your son, Billy, does he really have red-hair like the company logo?"

"Oh, yes! The logo is a cartoon of Billy, done by Jason, one of the local kids. Billy is a hundred per cent ginga, a lot of Carver kids are."

"Maybe more than you know."

"Oh?"

"Yes, have a look at this."

Dianne opened her wallet, took out a photo and handed it to her. It was a picture of three grinning teenage boys. The one in the middle had dark-brown hair and he was flanked by 2 identical red-heads.

"That's my Riley with our foster-sons, Colin and Jacob. They're 15 and they are twins, obviously."

"Obviously. We've got a lot of twins too. It's another of our family traits. Red-hair and twins both are."

"Hmm. Colin and Jacob are known as 'Richardson', but their legal name is Carver-Richardson, that's how they were registered at birth. Their father was Ken Richardson. They never knew their mother, she walked out on them as soon as they were born, but she was a Carver. So they are Colin James and Jacob James Carver-Richardson."

"They're Carver kids?" Cecily looked again at the photo. "They could be, I guess. That's, yet another, family trait - a lot of our boys have James as a middle name. I don't know why, but they do.

My youngest sons are Ross James and Robert James, and they're twins too. Maybe your boys are long-lost cousins! What was their mother's name?"

"Buggered if I know. I haven't been able to find it. All the birth certificate said was "X" Carver."

"Aha!" Cecily exclaimed. "Try Cecily Carver and you might get somewhere."

"Cecily Carver? But that was your name."

"It was my cousin's name too. She was Cecily and known as Cissie for short. But she hated it and called herself 'X'. She claimed it made her more exotic and mysterious."

"Well, the 'mysterious' certainly worked. I haven't been able to track her down at all and I'm good at that. Did your cousin have the red-hair as well?"

"Oh, yes! She did."

"It must be her then - it has to be! Do you know where she is now?"

"No, sorry. I wouldn't have a clue. She ran off and I haven't heard of her in years. Ma might know something. I'll ask her and let you know."

"Thanks. That'd be great. I know it's not important, but the boys have never known their mother and it would be good for them to know where they came from."

"On the contrary, I don't agree. It's VERY important to know where we came from. Our roots are what make us what we are."

"You might be right. Well, thanks, Cecily and please do let us know. I'd better get back to work. Would you like another coffee?"

"No, I don't think so. Thanks. Where do I find this famous seal colony that we've heard about?"

"The seals? Turn right, go along the Esplanade and just keep going. It's about 3 or 4 kilometers, I think."

"I'm not walking that far. I'm an old lady! I'll get the car and go and have a look. Thanks, Dianne."

"Thank you. Have a good day now."

"I will. It's been good so far. Goodbye then."

"Yeah, 'bye."

The seal colony was not hard to find - dead easy in fact. After the Esplanade, the road continued on around a couple of small bays, passed a fisherman's wharf and the old pub there which looked back across the water at the town, It went past a small sandy swimming beach and ended in a car-parking area.

Cecily sat for a minute, looking out at the scene. She was almost tempted to forget it and drive away again. There were a lot of seals of all sizes out there on the flat gray rocks, but there were kids everywhere - dozens of them!

They were obviously a large school-group, here to study the seals. Most of them were carrying note-books and other gear. The seals were sedate in comparison. They just lay around watching the busy kids watching them. There was a lot of laughing and joking as they took turns at posing for pics next to the seals.

That was really not the most intelligent thing to do. The excellent information signs all had clear warnings about not getting too close to the seals. They might look slow and sluggish, but they were wild animals and the NZ Fur Seal could move fast in short bursts. However, like kids everywhere, they were invincible and bomb-proof so they were ignoring the danger.

There were no warnings on the signs in the viewing area at the seal colony near Westpoint. They weren't needed as no-one could get anywhere near them. In Westpoint the seals were viewed from high on a cliff above them and no-one could get down there and close to them. Here the people were walking right in amongst them.

Cecily decided that, oh well, she might as well get out for a closer look. She'd come this far and, although there was a lot of people, it wasn't crowded. They were spread out and there was plenty of room for everyone.

Besides, she was all too used to being surrounded by hordes of people and they didn't worry her.

She got out and locked-up the car. There was another Beamer there, probably Ashton's she decided, but she couldn't see him anywhere out there.

The flat rocks extended out to sea by, maybe, a couple of hundred meters, with lots of gaps and cuttings between them. However, by choosing the route carefully, it should be possible to walk all the way out to the front without getting her feet wet.

The bulk of the area was so flat and smooth it was probably all underwater at high-tide. She'd timed it just right then, apart from the kids.

No-one took any notice of her as she quietly made her way out past them, which was good. There were a few adults there, (teachers and parents?), but most of the people were teenagers. The adults weren't much more active than the seals, but the kids certainly were!

A small group of girls and boys were skylarking around and when one boy grabbed a girl and made like he was going to push her into the water, she laughed and squealed, "Get off me, Virgil Cain!"

Cecily stopped in her tracks and looked closely at them. The laughing boy was small and slight but, presumably, mid-teens. He had a big smile and auburn-coloured hair. He was a nice-looking kid.

'Cain?' she thought. 'Virgil Cain?' Could this boy possibly be Ginnie's? He'd be a grandson, wouldn't he? Ginnie had a daughter, but she said that her girl had a baby young as well. She'd have to have been REALLY young, but, she guessed, he could be. It was a small town after all and the name wasn't that common. She walked over to him.

"Excuse me," she smiled. "I couldn't help hearing. Your friend called you Virgil Cain?"

"Yeah, that's me," he replied. "I'm Virgil."

"What is your mother's name?"

"Mum? She's Mrs. Cain. She's not here, she's back at the school."

"The local school?"

"Yeah, Kaimoana High. Mum teaches woodwork and metalwork there."

"That would fit. What's her first name?"

"Natasha. Why?"

"I'm just interested. Would Ginnie Cain be your grandmother?"

"Yeah, that's her. You know my gran?"

"I used to, a long time ago. Well, Virgil Cain, I'm delighted to meet you at last. We are related. I'm your, well, great-aunty, I guess."

"My great-aunty? Really? You're not very old."

"Oh, aren't you lovely? Yes, I'm your great-aunt, your grandfather was my older brother."

"He was? Wow! That's great. Gran's never said anything and I know nothing about him. I've grown-up with just Mum, Gran and me, so I've got no more family."

"Oh, you've got family all right, a huge family. The way the Carvers are going, we'll fill Westpoint up."

"Westpoint? Mum's from Westpoint. Wow, we are family. That's great."

"Yes it is and it's a great family. Do you know Colin and Jacob Richardson?"

"Colin and Jacob? Yeah, of course. They're in our school."

"It appears that they might be in our family as well. They could be distant cousins of yours."

"Cousins? Yeah, I could handle that. They're good guys. Damm. Look, I've got to go or I'm in trouble again. Are you staying in town?"

"Just for tonight. I'm at the Ocean View motel, unit 5."

"Could I come around and see you tonight? I'd love to hear more about this family."

"Yes, of course. That'd be good. Come at around 6 o'clock, I'll buy you dinner and we'll get to know each other."

"Very cool! I'll do that, thanks. I'll see you then - Aunty."

"Yes, see you then, Carver Kid."

Virgil ran off to join the others and Cecily went, smiling, back to her car. She was so glad that she'd come to Kaimoana, what a productive trip this had been. It looked like their big family had just got bigger.

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