Monday morning saw an elderly Thurles man, Paddy Fitzsimons, preparing for his death in his bed. Paddy had persisted and defied the prophesy of his doctor the week before; latter who had announced to Paddy’s much younger wife Bridie that he, Paddy, “wouldn’t see this world past Saturday night”.
Paddy, aged 75, had been ‘heading down hill’ rapidly for some time past and had spent most of the last 10 days drifting in and out of disturbed sleep. During episodes of wakefulness his past had often flashed before him, so it came as no surprise when his nostrils appeared to signify a presence of the smell of his favourite scones, apparently wafting around his small bedroom.
Dropping back into a mild coma, Paddy again awoke some 20 minutes later; to an even stronger, fresher scone aroma. Taking a painful gulp of air through his nasal passages, deep down into his lungs, he realised this delicious smell was in fact no hallucination; rather an actual reality. He called out for several hours to his wife Bridie, but his faint vocal sounds went unheard and unanswered.
Now gathering all his remaining strength, Paddy reached out slowly and grabbed a bar on the left side of his bed; before dragging himself into a half sitting position. Resting on one elbow he eased his legs over the side of the bed. Having briefly rested from this exertion, he reached for his aluminium Zimmer Walking Frame and after several agonising attempts later; he managed to get on his feet and into an upright stance. Leaning on the frame, he began to shuffle slowly in the general direction of the nearby kitchen, in his bare feet.
Peering through old, partially misted eyes, Paddy eventually located a tray, piled high with his favourite small, baked, quick bread scones. Could he be already in heaven he thought or were these scones perhaps one final earthly act of love from a devoted wife; seeing to it that he would “shuffle off his mortal coil” a happier man? Would she be splitting and buttering these warm rich biscuits, before serving them with jam and clotted cream, as she was often wont to do on certain special occasions in the past.
With his mouth watering and believing that he was alone; Paddy steadied himself, before mustering up one final physical effort. Throwing himself towards the table’s edge, he managed to land perfectly on his knees in a somewhat crumpled state of posture beside the table. Resting for a moment Paddy reached out his trembling, withered hand; his target a scone sitting precariously on the edge of a wire cooling tray. No sooner than he had achieved this goal; from nowhere came a chastising sharp slap across the back of his bare knuckles. Same came courtesy of his wife, who had armed herself with a long handled wooden spoon.
“Feck off and leave them bloody scones alone” Bridie yelled, “There won’t be enough for your funeral.”