“THE RAFTERS”-On The Road To Rotorua- From Godfrey

Yes, Godfrey could be,  gormless. It was a simpler time, the years Godfrey roamed the whirled. All was not beautiful, this he understood, not all faces friendly and welcoming, but a kindness prevailed, and the vagabond found it in some odd places. 

On the winding road to Rotorua, town of volcanic wonders, boiling pools of water and mud, the air was sulph0urous and eggy, many years ago, set out to see it, on a pink bicycle road the vagabond, Godfrey.

He wrote, “twas summer on the gentle road rolling, I sang as I pedaled  sheep looked up from their grazing, and may I add, though not complaining my word how hard it was raining.

“Now being on a bicycle rugged and damp, I usually sought a flat, dry spot to camp, this day however, coming on dark, I stopped at what looked like a grand old hotel on the edge of a forested park.”The Rafters, A Place Of Peace”- said the sign set a slant in the ground, there was nobody around.

At reception sat a gloomy woman in black, she regarded me oddly when I asked for a room, (not unusual for me at all), for a very small fee, she gave me a key, and gestured to a room down a cool, silent hall.

Mist and steam swirled through the evening air, my room was clean, quiet and bare, of fancy trappings, but had a soft bed, and a large thermal bathtub, I wallowed delighted in there. A different gloomy woman early eve, tapped with dinner and tea on a tray, clad only in a dry towel, I again gave thanks for the fine place to stay.

Morning came, it had not ceased to rain, at reception sat a dour fellow in black, “farewell said I, off to Rotorua, he of few words,said he hoped one day I’d be back. The first gloomy woman, with a large clump of feathers was silent, dusting an urn, again she regarded me oddly, when I promised one day, indeed to return.

Down the long drive from “The Rafters” I rode, down a  grand hill to that thermal town, Rotorua, famous in postcards, geysers and smell, I learned that “The Rafters, A Place of Peace, was not a hotel but a Funeral Home-” how folks laughed at me, when I told them,” in his journal wrote Godfrey.

It’s no wonder the morticians looked at me odd, showing up soaking wet but alive, had I ventured out behind in the dark, would have blundered into an old cemetery, and yard for the hearses to park. The stay I paid so little for, and spread wet gear to dry cross the clean floor, soaked in the tub until wrinkled like prune, was part of their home, not a hotel room.

“They are a polite lot”- town folk informed me, mid guffaw. Now years later, I to look back in laughter, and if to Rotorua you roam, perhaps you will also find it, “The Rafters, Place of Eternal Peace”- a Funeral Home…


9 thoughts on ““THE RAFTERS”-On The Road To Rotorua- From Godfrey

    • Good to hear from you Walt- All hope for the new year. We were picked up hitching by a hearse once, story for another time, but dinner most interesting…polite lot.

    • Thanks for the read, Dianne,was trying to capture innocence- nebulous as the mist that long ago ride. A grand New Year to you and yours.

    • Thanks John- He always said, “trust in life will provide apples, and that nice place to sleep”, it did and he did.

  1. What a very, very funny story this is, Sheila. I read it earlier today and have been chuckling since. It would make a great scene in a movie if Godfrey’s life and wisdoms ever make it to the big screen and you become rich as bejesus and can go a-wandering and stay in grand old hotels as nice as The Rafters.

    • Thanks Janet- this story is true, unfiltered Godfrey, and I to have been laughing since he described it, funny how eventually they reach the right age to be shared. Yes, it was a simpler place and time, and will be part of “Godfrey-The Motion Picture”.

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