Stroke Ward, Ulster Hospital, Christmas 2016
Having a approached the ward with open visiting feeling something
akin to dread it could only be true to the spirit of Christmas of the kind
that Jimmy Stewart knew that next to the bedside appeared a skinny woman
with her black dog to pet, and my father, who normally shied away
from any canine drew near, smiled and leaning down petted the mutt
the length from head to tail. Miracle enough it would seem until
the Salavation Army band turned up to play their buttery brass.
It was beautiful, I don’t know what else to say, even if the other patients
snorted and snored through ‘Come all Ye Faithful’ and later my father
refused his Christmas dinner because of an excessive gravy slick,
but then, then, whilst my son sat embarrassed in the plastic coated armchair,
my dad in the mechanical bed singing along, and me perched on the stool
from the nurses’ station, we had Christmas truly and it was fine.