Dare to Be Yourself

– By Bridie Corrigan –

I would like to introduce you to two formidable women each in their own way. The first, my mother Nell Barrett R.I.P. and the second my Aunt Kate Brennan R.I.P. They are both on their way to visit a brother in England. I was tagging along as general factotum (which means running around doing everything).

My mother a country woman, a worrier, shy, kind caring gentle person, Kate on the other hand was very confident highly shrewd, tinged with a slight meanness, crafty person, but a lovable rogue.

Having flown to Manchester and before we boarded a train to visit their sick brother who was in hospital, we had a meal. As we paid for it my aunt Kate spotted a jar of lollipops, never one to miss an opportunity to get something for nothing in her sophisticated tone she asked the lady “Excuse me how much are the lollipops?” knowing very well they were free and most likely for children.

Armed with the lollipops we boarded the train, Kate and Nell sat opposite each other at the same table while I sat at a table a few seats away on the opposite side but with a full view of both. After sometime I noticed mother taking out her lollypop and really enjoyed sucking it to her hearts content oblivious to all around her, while Kate cringed with mortification, yet dribbling at the mouth at the longing for a taste. When she could no longer resist the temptation she secretly took a lollipop out of her handbag. She then proceeded to hide it under the table while trying to remove the stick from it so she could enjoy eating it like a sweet rather than the childlike way (mum) Nell was enjoying hers. I was highly entertained and the longer Kate struggled to remove the stick the more I realized that Nell had the right idea.

We arrived safely at the hospital their brother was in, only to discover that he was been transferred to another hospital for the day to have some scans and tests done. I decided that I would accompany him in the ambulance, however the next challenge was how to get my mum and aunt Nell back to their accommodation safely. I repeated the direction three times to ensure they were clear for them. I called for a taxi, gave them the keys of accommodation and told them I would be back with them in a few hours, and to cook a meal for themselves while I was away.

Hours later exhausted and hungry I arrived at the door of the apartment and rang the doorbell, no response, I rang it again and again, I was about to give up when it entered my head to throw a stone up to the window, finally, Aunt Kate looked out the window and at last opened the door for me. They proceeded to tell me they thought it was the telephone ringing each time. Now no meal on the table and when I asked why, and they began to tell me about their eventful journey home from the hospital. They had asked the taxi driver to drop them to a restaurant and planned to eat and walk back from there to the apartment. While walking home Kate needed to go to the toilet, so discretely as possible she found she found some necessary shelter in the garden of some person’s home while she had Nell on the watch out. Suddenly Nell saw a man approaching and sent out an urgent warning signal to Kate. Kate held on to a stone wall to help herself up, but unfortunately she grasped a loose stone and fell. Luckily she wasn’t injured and she scrambled upright her trousers undone, Kate in her sophisticated voice asked the man for directions to the apartment. The gentleman kindly showed Kate and Nell the way back. Safely at the apartment door, Kate took out the keys and tried every possible way but the door just wouldn’t open. They settled themselves on the door step until a tenant arrived and let them in 20 mins before I arrived.

I’ve often pondered on the escapades and looked deeper at the meaning behind them. Mum wasn’t trying to be anything but herself, while on the other hand Kate was trying to portray herself as a refined sophisticated lady and couldn’t be herself.

The moral of the story is “Be Yourself”.

Bridie Corrigan

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