It’s seventeen years since Davey died.
I often think of him at this time of year; the first scents of autumn in the air, the sweater needed to go out. Davey’s farm would have been surrounded by the first signs of the changing colours; the fire would be lit now in the evenings.
They laughed that there were more hymns sung at his funeral than he had sung in his life, then perhaps if I had been in Davey’s place I wouldn’t have gone in for much hymn singing either. Church was a place for people in fine clothes, Davey found peace walking his fields with his dog.
Davey called me “Mister Poulton”, he was sixty-nine years older than me and he called me “Mister.” It seemed daft at the time. Maybe, looking backwards, I can understand. He was comfortable in a world where things and people had a secure place, keeping clergy in their appropriate compartment was part of Davey’s order of things.
Why Davey came to mind this evening was a phone call. A colleague ministering to a couple in the blackest of circumstances felt that there was nothing that could be done other than to just be there. Isn’t the greatest way of expressing love just by being there?
Davey and his wife of six decades used to get there groceries delivered each week by Ciaran, the owner of the local general stores. One Thursday afternoon, Ciaran swung his van into the farmyard and walked in through the kitchen door with the box of groceries. Davey and his wife were sat either side of the fireplace, both sleeping in their armchairs after lunch. Ciaran took the local weekly paper from the box of groceries, pulled a third chair up to the fire and sat and read the paper until one of them stirred.
It was a picture of perfect tranquility, a picture of how much love there is just in being there.