2499. Pioneers
© Bruce Goodman 4 August 2022

It had been fourteen months since Abagail and her son, Jimmy, had arrived in New Zealand. The year was 1841. The trip out in the sailing ship had taken several months. It had taken some time to settle in after arrival, especially with lack of work and money. Abagail’s husband had stayed in England for a few weeks longer to tie up loose ends. Then he boarded another sailing ship and headed out.

After six weeks of Abagail and Jimmy waiting, the husband’s ship never came into harbour. Perhaps it had been caught in a storm; perhaps it had sunk, as many do.

Two months passed. Three months. Abagail was out of pocket. She worked down at the wharf in the evenings, doing what she described as “woman’s work”. That is where she met Barry. And now, fourteen months later, and the courts having annulled her first marriage, or at least having declared her husband “presumed dead”, Abagail and Barry tied the knot.

It is wonderful to be able to move on after tragedy, declared the vicar at the service. It is wonderful to be able to move on after tragedy, declared Barry at the reception. Suddenly Jimmy arrived at the door

. “Mum! Mum! The ship’s come in! And Dad’s on it!”

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