Yesterday’s weather washed out the St Patrick’s Day festivities at Hyde Park in the City. This didn’t deter the Irish, though, as they flooded to the pubs around town.
Actually if it were not for the once-a-year Irish, yesterday would have resembled any Sunday afternoon in Sydney, such are the number of Irish migrators here.
On dusk in the Rocks I stopped for a pub security dude, a big no no as they’re usually trying to flick-pass a serious problem onto someone else – us!
Luckily this was a special load, a fella my age in a wheelchair, and his two daughters. Being Aussies of Irish descent the girls wore green and boarded singing licks of folk tunes wafting from the rollicking front bar. A happy day all round but they were not drunk. They had a full-time job managing their old man.
After dropping him at the nursing home a daughter told how he’d suffered a stroke two years ago, leaving him paralysed down the right side. He couldn’t read or write and had lost a big chunk of speech function.
She was convinced that the stress of running his small freight business triggered a sudden cholesterol spike. “No, he didn’t smoke. It was stress. Watch out for stress,” she cautioned.
His sudden demise was tragic I told her, but thank God for his four daughters! They lived nearby and were totally devoted to their father, engaging him with warmth and patience as he struggled with movement and communications.
Despite the crushing limitations, he retained the ability to request Maccas for dinner: two cheeseburgers, fries and a Coke. He came alive on receiving the bag of food so I suggested he eat the fries on the way home to his nursing village.
Thanks to Irish luck the bloke can also ride an electric scooter to the pub every afternoon, where he orders a beer by simply motioning to his glass. I suspect the little people are involved in this adventure.
A humbling encounter on a wet St Patrick's Day. Good luck to him.