From Australian Stories for the heart. Written by Warwick Saxby:
We had been living in Nimbin valley for some months. Our plan was to become as much a part of the community as we could. My wife Dianne had found a job in one of the many cafes in the village while I had begun my career as a bone carver and teller of stories that in one way or another pointed to Jesus…
The house we first rented was very small, so when the opportunity came to move into a four-bedroom place we jumped at it. One day, without giving it a thought, the Christian lady who moved into our old house dropped off some of our mail at the café where Dianne worked. The top letter was address to Pastor Warwick Saxby. Being a Christian in Nimbin is unpopular. Being a representative of organised religion is almost the worst thing you could do in the eyes of many locals. Needless to say, when Jane at the café gave our letters to Dianne next time she arrived at work, the reception was cold indeed.
It was around this time that the people who were taking the vegetable scraps from the café to make compost for their organic farm decided to go into another line of work. With no one to take them, the overabundance of scraps at the café soon became a real problem. Dianne, feeling sympathy for her struggling employer, volunteered me to remove them. She told me a glowing story of the beautiful vegetables we could grow with all this fresh compost…
The days and weeks went by. Every afternoon I would drop off three clean, empty bins and take away three full ones. Every day that Jane was working I would greet her with a smile and a cheery hello, despite the fact that she usually ignored me and offered only the barest communications to Dianne when they worked together. Mind you, many of the other folk I me as I moved my cargo of scraps to our station wagon congratulated me on doing my part to help the environment.
Nearly five months passed with no sign of our relationship with Jane defrosting. Then one afternoon she stopped me and said that it had been good since I had been doing the compost scraps because I always brought the bins back clean. I was completely taken aback—not only had Jane spoken to me, she had chosen to compliment me! She then told me the previous people used to wash the bins at the back of the shop, which made the place stink. We parted with an awkward kind of friendliness.
Life went on more or less as normal for two more weeks. Then one day as I was on my way out of the café having dropped off the last of the clean buns, Jane stopped me to talk. She told me about life in Nimbin; her own personal struggles; her relationship with her husband and fears for their son and daughter. Jane told me, a relative stranger whom until recently she could barely bring herself to acknowledge, things you would only tell the closest of confidants.