This van belongs to a man in the parish! He’s a plumber and recently I asked him to check out a problem we were having with the boiler. He arrived and was having a look. As I passed his van I noticed the dash, covered with such an array of bits and pieces ….. washers, nuts, a pressure gauge, a pen, sunglasses, receipt, brochures, a torch – so, so much and, all of it, there for a purpose.
He reminds me a lot of my father, God rest him. He’s the type that will try to fix rather than replace and the greater the challenge the more likely he is to rise to it.
The challenge this time was years of birds nesting in the boiler house, which is part of the bell tower. Years of nests were piling one on the other in a twisting pipe that went almost as high as the bell. He was in his element – climbing, opening, releasing and at day’s end, fixing what was broken.
I’m not saying everything he needed was on the dash but it was somewhere in the van or in his head. He knew what needed to be done and wasn’t happy until it was done. “Your heat will be a lot better now”, he told me. He was right.
Yes, he reminded me a lot of my father – I say if he needed anything off that dash, he’d have known exactly where to place his hand. Nobody else might be able to find it but he knew it was where he left it …..
There seems to be someone like him, thankfully, in most parishes.
That’s a good thing for sure …
PS. There’s another similarity between him and my father. It takes me back to my Ordination Day. Fr Charlie Doherty, R.I.P., was our curate at the time and he spoke about my father in the few words he shared with us after the meal. He talked about how good daddy was to help around the church if there were jobs to be done. There was however, one problem, it could be hard to get my father at times and even harder to get him to remember to do something. Charlie said he had discovered the way around that and that it went back to the Wedding Feast of Cana. When there was a problem the thing to do was to let “Mary” know!! She’d do the rest so when he needed my father to do a job around the church he’d “Ask Mary”!! This man’s wife isn’t called Mary but I’ve found the same approach works ……