Well known Thurles local ‘The Jockser Cooke’ hadn’t seen the inside of a church since the day of his confirmation.
Imagine then, the pleasant surprise, even mild shock, that greeted the Rev. Peter Wheatfield, when he looked down into his congregation to find ‘Our Jockser’, standing completely cold sober, at the back of the parish church, for the first time in well over 30 years.
After the service, Rev. Peter took up his long established Sunday custom of greeting each of his worshippers as they exited his chapel.
Stretching out his hand to Jockser, he pulled him aside, to wait until all the other parishioners had left. This achieved, Rev. Peter said, “I am so glad you decided to come to our Sunday Holy Communion service this morning Mr Cooke. What, may I dare to ask, changed your mind after all these years?”
“Well to be totally honest with ya Reverend, sure a while back, didn’t I misplaced me cotton hat and sure God knows I really and truly loved that ould hat. Now didn’t I became aware that one of your other parishioners, Willie Hall, has a hat just like mine. I then learned that every man who enters the church every Sunday has to remove his hat during the Service. So I tell you no lie Reverend, I figured when he would go up for Communion sure I would steal the hat from his pew and leave without anyone even becoming aware it was missing,” said Jockser.
Rev. Peter smiled, “Well Jockser I am happy to note that you didn’t steal Mr Hall’s hat after all. What changed your mind?”
Jockser lowered his voice, “Well, after I heard yar sermon on them 10 Commandments, I decided that I didn’t need to steal Willie Hall’s hat after all.”
With a tear in his eye Rev. Peter gave Jockser a big smile, “Yes I did talk in detail about the 8th commandment handed down by Moses and that moral imperative so often nowadays forgotten ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’. So am I to understand that based on my simple sermon you decided you would rather do without Mr Hall’s hat, thus saving yourself from being eternally tortured in Hell Fire?” Rev. Peter asked.
Jockser slowly shook his head. “Ah no, no, it wasn’t like that Reverend, after ya talked about the 9th commandment, ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’, sure then didn’t I remembered where I had left me hat.”