“World famous in New Zealand”

That’s the tag line on every bottle of
Lemon & Paeroa soda. You’ve never heard of L&P soda, I bet. We tried a bottle. Didn’t finish it. Too sweet. Still, I love their tag line.

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Today we said goodbye to our hosts Judith Jones and Tony Kuepfer in Wellington and boarded the Interisland Ferry to Picton, a floating parking lot with a food court, a movie theatre, a bar, a children’s play area and a gift shop. Biggest ferry I’ve ever been on.

Right behind us in the Fo’c’sle Lounge a family of five — mom, dad, two big sisters, and a baby brother — stationed themselves in a corner where they could corral the feisty four-year-old. He escaped several times, and we got a kick out of watching them chase him.

We were approaching Picton Harbour when one of the big sisters appeared at my elbow and asked, “Excuse me, miss, were you at Shannon last week?”

Shannon Library. Only last Monday, at 3:00, after Levin and Foxton. It seems like a year ago. Tiniest library I visited. Dead poorest. Attendance at my program was well under ten kids, even counting the teenage girl lurking behind a magazine. Age range — three-ish to probably fourteen. All stray kids. No parents. I told some stories. I did some origami. I taught them some origami. Sort of. And I made Tiffany — my origami mouth puppet. She was sassy and hungry. Tiffany is always hungry. She eats kids’ fingers. But since she’s nothing but mouth, she has no teeth, so she doesn’t bite; and she has no belly, so she doesn’t swallow. She just tastes. And then she tells each kid what flavor they are on that particular day.

I did a “whut?” face at the girl on the ferry.

“Shannon. Were you just there?”

Input finally computed. “Yeah! I was.”

“My sister was there. Your creature told her what she tasted like.”

And quietly, there was a shy preteen standing beside her big sister, followed by a feisty four-year-old. We had a little visit and folding session. I made three Tiffanies for the three travelers returning home to Nelson after visiting their Shannon relatives.

Their dad came to see what his kids were up to. When we told him he smiled and said, “Ah. You’re world famous in New Zealand.”

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Signage

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This is my favorite road work sign. A friendly looking exclamation point. “Mind — we’re pointing out this hazard for your own good.”

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My name in bright lights…well…chalk…in front of the Eketahuna Library. This town has a population of 450. School kids, K-8, number 93. Twenty of them were at my program today.

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Public amenities? that’s what I’m talking about. Smack on the middle of the Palmerston North town square.

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In the town of Shannon, they calls ‘em as they sees ‘em.

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The elephant in the living room has a name.

Signage. It’s huge.

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