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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

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The true story of Pat and Margaret

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“Dear Pope, I want to leave the holy order and marry a nun. Not a problem I hope.”It is not a widely known fact that I am not the first member of my family to bring down controversy on my poor belegured family. I am just the latest.. But the bad thing about being a Good Boy is that any indiscresion, no matter how small, just seems to get headlines, or at least a deluge of text messages. Anyway I used to have an uncle Patrick, a great big calm happy giant of a man, who loved me and my sister to bits. He was a male nurse, and also a monk, believe it or not. Monks, as you know are the male equivalent of nuns, a holy order who live chastely, not not always seperately from nuns. The monestry and the nunnery ofter were part of the same building, and shared laundry facilities. On one memorable occasion a nun mistook his laundry for clothes destined for a jumble sale, underpants and all. She offered to buy him a whole new set as apology and the story made the local papers. Really But Pat was getting tired of the order, I think he felt life was passing him by, and he was really close with a nun who worked at the hospital. Away from the order, at work in the hospital, their relationship was a lot easier, and naturally a lot closer. As nature intended, they fell in love.Now all they had to do was tell everybody…..To get a dispensation from the order you have to write a letter to the head man himself, at the time it was Pope John Paul II. How the hell do you start a letter like that?I can imagine him sitting down to breakfast, opening his mail when he comes across this little gem.”Your esteemed Holiness, Brace yourself.Right, I have been doing the holy order thing for over a decade now and it really isn’t my bag anymore, I want a life, family, kids, mortgage, the works. I want friday nights out with my mates, days in the park, christenings and confirmation parties to organise.So I know you are dying to know who the lucky lady is… wellIt is Sister Margaret.”At this point I can imagine the sistine chapel was pebble dashed with half eaten cornflakes. I don’t know what Latin is for Fucking Hell, but that would be the day to learn it.Nonetheless after informing the rather stunned relatives including one flabbergasted nephew (me), we all had a big wedding in Liverpool. Pat and Margaret lived very happily for nine years until uncle Pat died when I was nineteen. Naturally I was distraught, I loved the old rascal, and he loved me like his own son. He taught me how to fish, how to drive and gave me a great love of all things Irish.Never in my life will we see the likes of him again.


Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 25, 2008 at 10:41 am

Posted in true stories

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