We sat in front of a lovely family on the train from Canberra to Sydney. Two little girls and their father, travelling up from Jindabyne (if I remember rightly) via Canberra. Somewhere they visit regularly. Somewhere they enjoy because they were planning a trip back down pretty soon.
They were super prepared for the four hour trip. They had packed food, play dough, movies (with lots of pink in them), and brand new puzzle game books. And Dad was fantastic, treating his girls with respect, chatting with them, joining in on their games. He also had a fair bit of sarcasm in his makeup, but that made the conversation all the more fun to listen to.
At one stage I remember Dad saying ‘This is quite a strange trip, isn’t it? The train is running on time, and the pies are actually hot!’ I was really glad the train was running on time, seeing as we had to catch a flight and we didn’t have vast quantities of time to make the connection. I’d been praying about that for weeks, so maybe God was just being gracious. We enjoyed hot sausage rolls as well. DS had found that if you bought a hot sausage roll, you could use it to soften the butter so that it could be easily spread on the cold banana bread.
Around the middle of the trip the youngest girl, Charlie, suddenly came up with a fervent question, ‘Are they ultrarares Dad? Dad. Dad, are they ultrarares?’
It took some time to figure out what she was talking about. But the final answer was: shoes. Were her shoes ultra-rare? That’s what she wanted to know.
One of her friends had told her that shoes that had flowers and sparkle-lys and small eyes were rare. Ultra-rare. And she needed to know, were her shoes ultra-rares?
Because as her dad could see, her shoes had ‘flowers and sparkle-lys and small eyes’ (I really don’t know what she meant by small eyes – they were sitting behind us and I didn’t want to turn around to find out). And so they must, they simply MUST be ‘ultrarares, Dad!’
Dad wasn’t sure what to say, other than to whisper to the big sister, Annabelle, could she just say yes, the shoes were ultra-rare, whether she thought it or not.
And then he had a brain wave.
‘I know how to figure this out,’ he said, ‘have you ever seen any shoes that look the same as yours?’
‘No’ said she.
‘Then that settles it. They are rare shoes. They are ultra-rare.’
‘Yes! They are ultrarares!’ she said in triumph, followed quickly by ‘Annabelle’s shoes aren’t ultrarares – see! They don’t have flowers or sparkle-lys they’re not ultrarares. My shoes are ultrarares, but Annabelle’s shoes aren’t.’
And then the conversation could move on from shoes. And everyone (except possibly Annabelle and her boring shoes) was happy.