Richard is Everywhere

Akaroa, Nouvelle Zealandé – A few years ago Marcus and his brother Lain egged each other into signing up for Le Race, a 100K bike race that starts in Christchurch, New Zealand and finishes on the coast in the uniquely French settlement of Akaroa. After the grueling ride over a couple of verdant but steep mountain passes, they both arrived in dire need of French-milled soap and copious amounts of water. But that’s not when Lain jumped into the bay.

You see, a few weeks before, Lain had gone online and rented a house in the village so the whole family could stay and enjoy the weekend. The house turned out to be a parsonage, which sat next to a lovely old Presbyterian Church. The two buildings and accompanying gardens were neatly enclosed by a fence and, upon arrival, Lain’s three-year-old son Jack lost no time setting about exploring out the grounds and chattering away about what this wonderful new place had to offer. Jack was especially excited about the church, which he, curiously, began to refer to as “Richard’s House.” When we asked Jack who Richard was, the little guy lifted his palms to the sky, looked heavenward, and said slowly and with a great deal of awe, “Richard is E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!”

Well, now, there are all sorts of names for the big guy in the sky in this big wide world of ours, but not a one of us had ever heard the almighty referred to as Richard before. Except Jack. So, naturally we began to think that Lain and his angelic wife, Heather, had parented a very special son indeed. And we told Lain so. But that’s not when Lain jumped into the bay either. 

No, you see, later that afternoon, Lain and Marcus’ Dad (aka “Grampy”) decided to take our divine little nephew fishing off the pier. During this fishing expedition a picnic lunch was served. In the midst of that lunch a white paper napkin was picked up by a brief gust of wind and carried off into the water where it landed and commenced to float about like a sordid piece of litter. And that, is when Lain stripped down to his skivvies, dove into the bay, swam out to the offending paper napkin, and retrieved it.

Because heaven knows, Richard could have been watching. And nobody likes a litter bug.