Billy Mulcahy, a local middle aged Thurles doctor, had just finished examining his old friend and patient Tom MacCarthy and had concluded that the latter was in remarkably good physical health for a man of his age.
Tom, an eighty nine year old sheep farmer, residing in the hills above the very scenic, rural village of Upperchurch, near Thurles, had lost his eighty year old wife some eighteen months previously; she had run off with the newly retired village postman.
Now, as you no doubt are aware, doctors are not the kind of people who get involved in village gossip, but from an overheard conversation, circulating in his local pub, it was being whispered that perhaps this same Tom MacCarthy was about to purchase her replacement, in no less a form than a Russian ‘Mail Order’ bride.
Being a good friend and wondering if this was indeed the true reason for Tom seeking this sudden physical examination of his overall health, the doctor asked Tom if there was any truth in this now rapidly circulating rumour.
Taking the time to adjust his trouser braces before pulling on his wellington boots, Tom assured the doctor that the rumour was in fact true and that plans were already at an advanced stage, with his new Russian mail order bride arriving at Thurles railway station on the following Friday afternoon.
Aware of other well founded rumours which stated that Tom hadn’t ever spent a penny of his Ewe Premium grant aided cheques from Brussels over the past ten years, Doctor Mulcahy, fearing Tom had acquired a ‘female gold digger,’ inquired as to the age of this new mail order Russian bride. With a knowing nod and a wink, Tom stated, ‘Doctor don’t worry, I’ve checked her out; the one I bought, she’ll be twenty-one this coming November’.
There was silence in the surgery for a few moments as the good doctor caught future flashes on his inner eye of the inevitable age problems which lay ahead for his elderly patient. Being a wise general practitioner, Dr. Mulcahy could see that the future sexual appetite, alone, of such a very young woman, could never be easily satisfied by this eighty nine year old hill dweller.
Now, anxious to ensure that his old friend’s remaining years continued to remain happy, Dr Mulcahy tactfully suggested that Tom should perhaps consider getting in a ‘hired hand’ to help him out on his remote sheep farm, fully realising that nature was bound to take its inevitable course some cold winters night, in this remote picturesque location in the hills.
Tom also agreed that this was a good idea and gave an undertaking that he would insert an advert in the local Tipperary Star newspaper that very same afternoon, in the hope of obtaining someone who would be happy to work on a low-hour contract basis.
Tom returned to the hills and it was some four months later before Dr Mulcahy would again encounter his patient, walking in front of his two sheep dogs, down Liberty Square, here in Thurles.
‘How’s the new partner settling in?,’ the doctor couldn’t wait to ask.
‘Begod doctor she’s feeling good – she’s pregnant,’ Tom chirped back in reply.
The doctor smiled inwardly, happy in the thought that his former sage advice had most likely worked out according to ‘expectations’.
‘And how’s your hired hand getting on?’ Dr Mulcahy continued.
‘Great doctor,’ replied a smiling Tom. Then lowering his voice he declared, ‘Between you and me doctor, all the signs at the moment indicate that she’s pregnant too.’
It may have something to do with the pure air in those hills above Upperchurch Dr Mulcahy now believes, but scientists from the Harvard Medical School are continuing to investigate.