Saint Anthony

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During my life, I have had several occasions when a prayer to this venerable saint of lost objects has been the only thing that has stood between me and heartbreak and disaster. Twice he has saved rings. The first was my husband’s wedding ring which slipped off his finger whilst he was swimming in the sea just in front of our house. He spent twenty minutes searching for it, to no avail, and both Don and I thought it was gone forever. That night he said, just before going to sleep, “I shall have another look in the morning”.

The next morning he got up, put on his togs, and prepared to look for his “precious”. Remember that the tide had gone in and out and was on its way in again before he started his search. Our neighbour, on being told what he was doing, said encouragingly, that she thought he had more chance of winning the Lottery than finding his ring. Oh, Ye of Little Faith! Don emerged from the briny holding aloft his ring, polished and shiny from the sand, with a triumphant smile on his face. He must have prayed exceptionally hard the previous night. St Anthony did not play favourites. I, too, have had reason to be grateful for his intervention. When I lost my engagement ring I had no idea where it might be, in the house, outside in the yard, or somewhere in between the house and the bridge across to the mainland. In those days I would walk every morning to the bridge and back. I was extremely upset, and not comforted by Don saying he would buy me another ring. “It will not be the same”, I protested. I made several trips to the bridge and back but without success.

Three, four days, passed, and still, it had not turned up. The next weekend my daughter and son-in-law and their family arrived to pay us a visit and I recounted my tale of misery. My sonin-law, Bill, went out into the yard as he had noticed that the bird-feeder needed some adjustments and on walking back to the house followed the exact path that I would have taken when feeding the birds. Yes, he found my ring, and ever since that day, when I am particularly pleased with him, I will refer to him as My Ring-finder. I am sure the Saint guided his steps.

A more recent occasion, when again I needed his help, concerned another type of ring, an earring. The first pair of earrings Don bought for me was down the Gold Coast in the days when traffic flowed freely up and down Cavill Avenue, many years ago. I was devastated when I lost one of them during my recent trip to the U.K. but perhaps Britain is outside St Anthony’s jurisdiction, so I decided to buy myself another pair, similar in design, and keep the solitary earring as a memento. This I did.

I have to be very careful when putting earrings in, so I always cover the drain hole with a face-cloth. This method has worked for years but the other morning I dropped one of my new earrings and it rolled behind the cloth! I tried to be extra careful when retrieving the earring but my hand jerked, and down the plug-hole, it went. No use checking inside my bra or on the floor, it was heading straight for the sewerage system. What to do? Then, I looked at my fridge and saw the number of the ever-helpful Home-Assist. Might they be able to render the assistance their name suggested? I rang them and was answered by a very kind lady who immediately understood the gravity of the situation, and assured me that someone would be round that very morning to solve the problem. Thank goodness, that only a couple of weeks ago, I had cleared and tidied my bathroom cabinets and drawers so the U-pipe was accessible. I would not want the Handyman thinking I was slovenly as well as careless!

He was easily able to unscrew the pipe and gave it a good shake in the shower recess and we both heard a very reassuring tinkle as the earring fell out. All that was needed was a quick rinse of the offending article. The Handyman was just in time to prevent me from turning on the tap before he had screwed the U-tube back in place, so all was well. Whilst I am enormously grateful to my favourite Saint, I do have another trifling chore for him. It concerns the whereabouts of a certain pale blue purse.