Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Season of goodwill

From fifty yards it was hard to say if the figure was human, or say, a beached whale.It was certainly mammalian but since the lakeshore in Loughrea is at least 30 miles from the ocean, it was unlikely to be a creature from the deep. There was another clue. The creature dressed in pants and jacket was waving to attract the attention of the driver of a clapped out red car parked nearby.When this didn't work, the figure started waving a walking stick, vigorously. Sounds that were suspiciously like the word Help were also shouted without result. As the rain fell in a fine steady drizzle, the driver of the red car stayed put while what might have been an emergency unfolded before him. Suddenly another car arrived and glided slowly to a stop under some adjacent trees. This car was driven by a retired local man, well known in the community and to the figure now stretched out on the wet ground. The figure called help but all that happened was that the man opened his car door to release his equally ancient terrier from captivity.
By now the figure had been lying in full view without anyone coming to see what was going on for approximately 20 minutes.
It was a day just before Christmas, the rain was heavy, and the woman for it was a woman,lay on the ground. All things considered, it was unlikely that she was sunbathing.
Then a white car drove in. The driver saw the woman waving. He stopped, came over and after a struggle managed to yank her to her feet, damp but otherwise unharmed.
Little did he know it, this strange young man, not even a local, that on the 10th of December he would become a 21st century Good Samaritan.
Unfortunately the woman was more shocked than she thought and failed to ask his name and having helped her back to her car, he drove off.
All of this happened, just as I've written it, in a country once famous for it warmth and humanity.
This year, once again, Irish people will put their hands in their pockets to contibute to allieviating starvation and poverty in foreign parts and other Irish people will congratulate themselves on their natural goodness to the needy. A headline on the news also flagged up the statistic that this great little country drinks more take-out coffee, eats more take-away food and buys more condoms per capita than any other similar country.
All in all I just can't wait to hear the jingle of Christmas carols announcing the arrival of the season of goodwill.

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