Rene signed off with the ultimate PS. ''Your dear mum would be so proud''
IT ARRIVED hidden among the usual letters.
A card postmarked Horsham.
The contents made by day. Maybe year. Yes, it's the special little gestures in life that can carry so much weight.
The card was from perhaps the loveliest lady you would ever meet... Rene Vivian.
Rene would often drop in to say hello during my time in Horsham.
Each year she would traditionally arrive just before Christmas with a smorgasbord of the most delicious treats for the Wimmera Mail-Times staff.
One of my great weaknesses in life is the rumball and, let me tell you, Rene just happens to make the very best in the world.
We had a great agreement - I'd collect stamps to help Rene's fundraising for the Cancer Council and she'd supply the odd jar of her famous rumballs.
Oh, how I miss those tasty treats.
But I digress... back to the card.
It seems Rene has been following my 12-week Men's Health Challenge from afar with great interest.
Clearly, my efforts had impressed her to the point where she sent me this lovely card of congratulations.
''Good on you, Rod,'' she wrote.
''Could not be more proud of you.''
As if that wasn't touching enough, Rene signed off with the ultimate PS. ''Your dear mum would be so proud of you.''
Oh, Rene... you're a special lady.
I so hope you're right. My weight was one of the things that worried by dear mum Irene so much and, well, I never did much to ease that tension. Until now, I guess, and she's not here to see the results.
It's something that has worried by dad enormously as well while my stepmom Val has taken up Irene's cause with gusto - always bashing on about looking after myself and losing weight.
If I'm to be honest my weight has worried everyone close to me.
So, finally, thanks to the urgings of Peter Strange at Bendigo Community Health Services and the drivings, sorry, support and encouragement of Amy Holmes and co at Shape Health and Fitness, I've made a change to my life.
A friend told me this week they've never seen me happier.
My wife confided this week that my whole demeanour has changed.
Apparently, I used to swear and curse every morning while struggling to put my shoes on. Can't remember that but I'll take her word for it.
My snoring (I once used to raise the roof) has descended to 'acceptable' levels.
My belt is on its final notch - seven in all.
The count now is 15 kilograms and 20 centimetres off my middle.
I continue to pound the pavement around Lake Weeroona, although still thankful it's under the cover of darkness.
The most popular question I get asked is 'how do you feel'. Honestly... sensational.
Who would have thought the change could be so drastic?