The Tall Ships Miracle
My mother, Bunny, was a magnet. Think the Statue of Liberty. She attracted the poor, downtrodden and dispossessed and even though she was surviving on very little while we were young, she always found time and something to give to those less fortunate than herself. We grew up with “Jack the Beggarman” enjoying his soup at lunchtime in our house when we came home from school and John getting a “few bob” from her purse even though we all knew he had serious alcohol problems. She cared for her fellow man despite any faults. It was strangely ironic that her heart suffered while trying to lift a drunken homeless person into the recovery position early one morning near our home. She progressively deteriorated in the following years.
She was, however, incredibly alert throughout her life and practiced the noble art of what we always called “Metal Detecting by Eye”, which is effectively the art of keeping your eyes open for money on the ground. You know the feeling … you see it, you look around, you pick it up … whoopee!!!! Notes, coins, cheques – no European or US currency was ever refused. And she was good at it, whether in full health or ill!! Thankfully, and to her credit, her middle son has inherited her noble art and is still always – even today – alert to a stray note or two. Fifty Euro in Eason’s on a Saturday morning with nobody claiming is a great feeling!!
When she took ill post the episode above, she deteriorated quickly. Her heart was damaged so much that she could not really walk far without suffering a serious loss of breath. My sisters, Marie and Theresa, looked after her with incredible compassion and love. Though Bunny was not fully incapacitated, my sister Marie, her husband Gregg and their young children organised a wheelchair – including a wheelchair strap, an oxygen cylinder and a mask before they were really fashionable – to bring her to exciting places like the Quays in Cork during the Tall Ships visit.
As my sister and her husband wheeled her through the crowds to see the Tall Ships, my mother saw a €20 note on the ground in front of them. She promptly threw off the blanket, jumped out of the wheelchair, picked up the €20, waved it over her head and shouted, “It’s a miracle!!!”
Everybody nearby was shocked and delighted in equal measure. The kids were laughing while my sister and her husband just wanted to find somewhere to hide!!!