“When it is all finished you will discover it was never random.”
There I was in Bendigo presenting at, of all things, the Food & Fibre Future Directions Conference. The location of this event was the TAFE College whose hallowed halls I had trod as a student almost 40 years before. The irony of change, on both fronts, was not lost on me as I nervously delivered my presentation, hitting the final note to a rousing round of applause. And I breathed.
But before heading home, I lingered just that little bit longer in one of my favourite cities, only to take a call from the folk back at Edgar’s Mission. I was soon to learn about a kind-hearted truck driver who had come across two wee lambs in Western Victoria (hours away from my location) aimlessly hiking down a busy country highway, no sheep or farm house in sight. “I couldn’t just leave them there or even tip them over the nearest fence, for they surely would have died,” he was later to tell me.
With no knowledge of any person in the area who could assist, I struggled to find a meaningful solution other than heading several hours in the opposite direction from where I needed to go, in order to help the ailing orphans. Fully set to do this, I called the driver to work out a pick-up point, only to learn that he had actually been heading to Bendigo and was but minutes from me.
With the two now-quite-feeble little babies tucked in the kindness van, it was back to Edgar’s Mission we all headed, offering sincere thanks to the Good Samaritan truck driver—I did a little happy dance (in my head), for yet again my belief in the goodness of the human heart had been vindicated. No peep was heard from the wee, thin lambs, whose sad silence told they had long ago surrendered to their hunger. It was almost as if they had resigned themselves to the fact they would never again be fed, but at the very least they had each other and in that they had taken their comfort. Fast thinking of names, it seemed most appropriate for these to be Bendy and Go-Go, paying homage to their fortuitous rescue point.
Although somewhat dehydrated and underweight (the tiny boy more so than his sister), they were otherwise in reasonable health. Whilst at first they were reluctant to take to the strange plastic teat that was prised between their lips, its sweet contents told of good things to follow, and it didn’t take too long to convince the malnourished duo that good things were to flow.
Two lucky little lambs indeed—but their story doesn’t end here. The next morning we took a call from the truckie’s wife, as she nervously asked after their health. Audible was her sigh of relief as she learned they had made it through the night, showing great signs of improvement. She went on to speak of her husband’s great love of animals, of his kind deeds in delivering dog food to the local animal shelter each Christmas, and of how he could never walk past an animal in need. She next made a request for the lambs to be named after the couple’s two children, Jude and Jasmine, adding, “It would mean the world to my husband”. “Oh dear, but we have already named them,” came our troubled reply—but then, remembering that things are never random, we knew there was just one more thing to do to set our new orphan arrivals up for the best life possible, and that was to change their names to honour the kind heart who saved them.