It was only a small journey but one that a lot of planning went into.
It took the two of them good few years to recognise that one of them needed help with their daly journey.
They managed in their own way for years. A friendm who was watching this situation develop, suggested that unless they used a second walking stick they were going to lose their balance and do themselves an injury.
Reluctantly at being offered help and probably knowing they need the help themselves, they accepted the friend’s offer of a second walking stick.
The second thing that was sorted for them was the application for a disabled parking disc.
Starting from their home every morning, with the car – a wee blue Opel Corsa – parked down the hill which was a lot easier to get in and out of, they turned at the bottom of the hill and back up the hill staying in second gear to they got to the top of the Back Road.
Timing is everything
On their journey there was a 15 minute window when the road was quiet between children arriving at school up to 9.30am and 9.45am to get parked up and organised and walk slowly up the side isle to the left and into the seat to say a few prayers before the priest came out to say mass.
After mass was over they progressed slowly back to the car, turned it around and headed back down the Back Road, hopeful they would get parked somewhere near their house, always parking down-hill again for easier access.
If a space wasn’t available they both would work as a team from the window of their house to watch for a space to become available. One would go out, stand in the parking space on the two walking sticks until the other would move the car down to base outside the door, ready for the next journey.
On a Friday the journey included a trip to the Post Office, followed by a trip to McGettigan’s Bakery in the shopping centre for a treacle scone, which was on standard order, and a selection of confectionery and some crispy rolls.
Also included was a trip into McFadden’s Pharmacy for prescriptions.
Parking was never a problem at the shopping centre but at the Post Office on the Main Street it could be hard to get parking of any kind of space let alone at the disable parking spaces – especially on a Friday morning.
Sometimes they would go down after mass on a Saturday morning when parking was a lot less lighter and the town was quieter.
It never bothered them if the disabled parking space was in use, even if it prevented them from doing their bit of business. ‘If someone used that space they probably needed to be closed to the front door of the business more than us’ they said.
Over these last few weeks its very noticeable how many people, since this pandemic lockdown, have parked in disable parking spaces without any disabled parking disc displayed.
With traffic wardens off at the start of the lockdown, disabled parking spaces – especially outside chemists and Post Offices – have become an opportunity for motorists who do not have a disability.
Recently I saw what looked like two generations of the one family pull onto a disabled parking bay in a car with no disabled parking disc displayed.
They were only parked for 10 minutes but it was enough for a disabled identified car to pass down, look at the parking space, then drive slowly before giving up and driving on, probably having spent a lot of time preparing for their journey only for their efforts to be completely ruined by the thoughtless actions of someone else.
Minutes later, the two people from the illegally parked car in the disabled car park space arrived back at the car. The two looked around them looking for a reaction from anyone that has noticed that their car is taken up the disabled space.
It was as if the older generation is telling their younger generation that they are privileged and entitled and it’s OK to take a reserved disabled parking space because it is empty.
There is nearly twenty years in time between the first part of this writeup from the viewpoint of someone planning their journey and the opportunists who I recently noticed taking this parking space.
Years gone by
The person on the two walking sticks was my Aunt Bida and husband Uncle Miah Deeney.
They made the journey to mass every morning in life something Bida did every morning with her father Pop Coyle until his death in 1977.
She used her father’s walking stick after his death until her friend Muriel Kelly (who only recently passed away) offered her a second walking stick, one that belonged to her father Dr. JP McGinley.
Bida said if her father could make it up to mass to his nineties, she was going to try and do the same with the help of God. They put a great value on their disabled parking disc which gave them great independence – something that was very important to them as they sailed about the town in their wee Opel Corsa and finally in their wee Deawoo Matiz
Bida stopped walking the day her husband Miah passed away. She would suffer a stroke after his funeral at the meal at Gleneany House. The two walking sticks that she used that morning lay in my car for months after hoping that she would regain strength but it never happened.
Years on I still have these two sticks and looking at them this week with all the years of use they could tell many a tale about Bida Deeney, Muriel Kelly, Pop Coyle and Dr. Mc Ginley but would have all the same theme of reaching out and helping someone if they could – people always seemed to do that years ago.
I think in the run out of lockdown we should consider others that may have not have the mobility that we take for granted. Most people follow the good nature and care that was passed down from the generations before us. It takes only a few who think of themselves first that do the damage.
Happy motoring folks