His name is Lionel Darby he lives in Ireland about 25 miles out of the city of Aberdein. For almost 30 years he has been working for John Cassidy driving a horse cart delivering wool to be spun and picking up knitted finished goods from the local cottage industry. This year he will be celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary to Mary.
Five years ago, he told John Cassidy his plans to have a special 40th anniversary gift to his wife, to take her to New York City to visit her sister Kathleen.
John tried to help him with as many additional clients, but business was slow, the large mills were producing more goods than the market could bear. So, he allowed Darby to use his horse and cart to haul whatever goods and services he could obtain to raise the funds.
We are now five years later and Darby working night and day surprised Mary with tickets on the Queen Mary to New York.
With instructions in hand by Mary, they headed toward the New York subway system. Darby couldn’t believe hundreds of people waiting for the trains, they pushed and shoved. Mary got on the train and poor Darby was left behind without any instructions on how to find Mary’s Sister home in Brooklyn. He found a bench to sit down to contemplate his dilemma. Next to him was an older black man, he never met a black man before.
Samuel: “My names Samuel Jackson, it looks like you’re having some difficulty. Am I right!”
Darby tells Samuel his predicament including his brothers-in-law name. Samuel checks the Brooklyn phone directory, but found no listing.
Samuel: Darby I live in Brooklyn, let me get you there and take you down to the Irish area. Maybe the police or someone may know of your sister and her husband.
When they arrived in the heart of Brooklyn Samuel directed him to the community that had a large Irish population. Darby couldn’t thank Samuel enough for his kindness.
Darby walks for block, not knowing if he was even going in the right direction. He did ask a police officer for help, and was told to continue down this avenue and when you come to some people sitting around their apartment building, ask them if they know where your family might be living.
Finally, Darby collapsed from exhaustion on some stairs leading to an apartment building. Out stepped from the doorway an older gentleman neatly dressed and sat down next to him.
Ben: “Hello, are you visiting someone in this building? My name is Benjamin Steinman. I live here.”
Darby tells him his problem.
Ben: You’re definitely in the right neighborhood and even though I am Jewish, I am friendly with the Irish community and know many of our neighbors. What’s their name?”
Darby: “Kathleen and Henry McDougal.”
Ben: “Let’s go down to Irish Pub down this block and I’ll buy you a pint. Maybe someone there knows of your family.”
When they enter the pub, the pub was crowed and the Irish music was so loud, even in Aberdeen he never saw this type of partying. He couldn’t even converse with Ben until the music stopped. Then Ben brought over this young man.
Ben: “Darby meet your cousin, Thomas, from the McDougal’s side of your family.”
When they finally brought Darby to his family a great uproar went up as he entered the apartment. Mary just couldn’t believe how he found them, she kept hugging and kissing him and holding on to him. She told him how everyone worried and they even called the police.
The anniversary party began that evening. Ben was even there and Darby kept thanking him, again and again.
Henry got up to make a toast: “But first I must tell you an old Irish joke about this 60-year-old man celebrating his’s 50th anniversary. As he was walking in the forest on an early morn, out jumps this leprechaun, he says, “I know you O’toole and today is your 50th wedding anniversary. Today I am going to be nice, giving you a gift by granting you one wish.”
The old man says, “I wish my wife to be 30 years younger.”
So be it, says the leprechaun, granting O’toole his wish and he was now 90-years old.
A few days later Darby is walking around the neighborhood taking in all the local sites and shops, he came to a small park and sitting on one of the benches was Samuel. He was so excited to see him again and to tell him about meeting Ben and his help to find his family.
Darby says: “It was like a gift from heaven.”
Samuel says: “You just might be right.”
Author’s notes: When writing this story, I imaged Darby coming from such a remote isolated area of Ireland, that when he arrived in New York City it was like Christopher Columbus coming to the new world. It must have been a little overwhelming meeting such a diversified and ethnic community of natives, yet they were kind, friendly and helpful in my story.
©Jerry Silvers - Comedy Writers Network and Summerlin's Writers and Poets Workshop - Las Vegas, NV.
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