A road trip about memory, mateship and mortality. It was late afternoon and a few of us were sitting about in the sun having a drink on my birthday when the friend I've known the longest sat down opposite and looked at me like he was going to say something serious.He was, and he got straight to it. He had health issues, he said, in a tone that put the issues word in ironic quotes. He'd been to see his doctor the previous day. He had maybe a year, he said. Maybe a bit more.I was so shocked by what he told me that, after an initial gasp, I said the only thing that seemed to make any sense to me in the circumstances. We should go away for a road trip, I blurted out.He nodded as if he knew I was going to say that. Back south, he said.Yeah, I said back to him.South meant Southland, where our story started, 46 years earlier. And that was the end of that conversation. Within weeks the trip was all booked and ready to roll. I felt nervous.A road trip about memory, mateship and mortality, into the heartland of a New Zealand that still exists and still surprises.
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