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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 1, 1932)


There is a pleasing absence of stiffness and ceremony about the country social gathering. Here is a little story which comes to me from the King Country concerning a welcome gathering arranged for the purpose of greeting the new minister in one of the townships along the Main Trunk line.

He was a shy young man, the new pastor, report said, so the ladies of the church were asked particularly to do what they could to put him at his ease and make him feel at home. It is rather difficult, perhaps, to believe that any parson can be shy, considering the fact that he is courageous enough to enter the pulpit and address a critical flock; still, I believe this youthful clergyman really was nervous.

Two girls who had a lively turn of wit resolved to do their little bit towards making the stranger feel at home. They borrowed a perambulator from next door, and enlisted the co-operation of their auntie, a plump and dimpled dame who was as ready for a lark as any of the young ones. They dressed her as a baby, inserted her into the pram—it was a tight fit—and wheeled her along to the afternoon gathering at the church.

The young parson was doing his nervous best to make himself agreeable. He came to the pram, and as in duty bound expressed his admiration of the bouncing infant therein.

“What a wonderful child,” he said, “and so fat and lovely!” He chucked the wonderful child under its well-plumped chin. “You are the mother, I presume?” he said to the smiling maiden who wheeled it. “Yes,” she replied, “and this is my sister.”

“And who is the father?” the reverend one inquired. “I really must get acquainted with all my congregation, you know.”

With a coo of delight the wonderful infant stretched out her arms to the parson and piped out, “Daddy, daddy!”