Ask Yourself Who You Want To Help Today, Then Put On Your Cape & Do It!

The Flying Fryer, the mobile fish & chip van, has been providing delicious fried foods to our village for the past twenty years long before the arrival of pizza delivery and Chinese takeaway. No Saturday night in could be considered the same without one of their deep-fried treats.

Whilst my mother doesn’t approve of purchasing food bought from a mobile vendor deeming it unhygienic & unsavoury, Dad and I used to sneak out on the nights she was at one of her Women’s Institute meetings for some golden cheesy chips smothered in salt and vinegar and served in the obligatory newspaper. Just for those that don’t know, they most certainly always taste better in newspaper although these days the newspaper has been replaced with a more sanitary wrapping. I usually smuggle them into the house disguised in a supermarket carrier bag so that the neighbours are unable to report our treachery back to my mother.

Harry, who owns the Flying Fryer is a big fella and devoted to his wife Maureen; there is a theory that the longer you are married to someone the more you tend to grow alike & in this case it was irrefutable. They had worked side by side in the small van like a well-oiled machine for as long as I could remember. On the morning in question Dad had strolled up to the local Medical Centre for his weekly appointment with his physiotherapist and bumped into them both in reception. Maureen had broken her wrist and was bemoaning the fact that she wouldn’t be able to help her husband with the lunchtime rush and he wouldn’t be able to cope alone. So naturally unbeknown to us the old fella offered his somewhat limited assistance which was gratefully accepted.

As the afternoon wore on and it started to become dark and numerous phone calls around the village had failed to locate him, I was despatched by Her Maj to ascertain my Dad’s whereabouts. The old dear was convinced he was lying injured in some ditch, I on the other hand, made a beeline for the allotment where I found the dynamic duo of Ernie & Sid, his allotment buddies giggling away tight as ticks laying waste to the last batch of my Dad’s dandelion wine. When I enquired about the whereabouts of my tee-total father they informed me that he was helping out a friend and I’d best check the village car park.

When I eventually tracked him down there he was behind the counter of the Flying Fryer beaming and chatting away with the customers whilst handing out change and taking orders. I stood under the street light watching him for a while. The joy on his face was obvious when he was teasing the children and carefully counting out the cash.

As I strolled over to the van, Harry said “It’s okay Bob, you go on as I think we’re about done for the night. Thanks for your help, you’ve been a right Godsend today. In fact, don’t know what I’d have done without you, mate”

My old Dad’s flushed face lit up like he’d been showered in golden pennies. As we walked home together arm in arm he smiled at me and said “I just wanted to feel useful” and in that moment I realised that our friends and neighbours had given my Dad something which none of his immediate family had been able to: a sense of purpose and for the old fella that had been more precious than treasure.

Back home, not everyone appreciated the local village hero as my mother insisted he sleep in the spare room claiming that she wasn’t sleeping alongside someone who smelt like smoked kippers.

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another – Charles Dickens

Old Mother Hubbard's Cottage (from the nursery rhyme) now a Chinese Takeaway

Old Mother Hubbard’s Cottage (from the nursery rhyme) now a Chinese Takeaway

41 thoughts on “Ask Yourself Who You Want To Help Today, Then Put On Your Cape & Do It!

  1. We love our local village chippy too and thankfully don’t have to sneak them home lol! I love that.
    Really lovely to read that your dad found a sense of purpose, maybe this will give him the confidence he needed.
    There is no better feeling than lightening someone’s load and helping them. I feel kind of low today, I should go do a good deed. I needed that push – thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No better gift than that which comes from our heart. From his giving, he received.

    Pops, you continue to inspire across the miles, showering those of us eagerly waiting beside the railroad tracks, anxiously waiting to wave to you, that jolly fella, who waves to us from the caboose of Tink’s Crazy Trail. Merry Christmas to all of you and thank you for sharing your joys of the season. xo


      • She’s perfect Tink, thanks. I do have a couple new shots of her, just no context in which to show them. lol. Didn’t want to be thought of like the new mother or grandmother puking kiddie photos all over the walls of FB and WP. Wish I could put one here in the comments for you. I’ll think of something, but in the meantime, think of her and I as inseparable (I have as much of her hair on me as she does on her!) and both happy and you’ll have it. 🙂 xo

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful day for your father. My mother who is well into her 8th decade works alongside my sister who is a dance costumer/designer. Mom just phoned and gave me an update on her latest project: making a ballet tutu for young children. She is have a wonderful time. And these were her exact words: “I want to continue being useful.”

    “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” George Bernard Shaw

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think our parents and grandparents were born in the age before technology and its very difficult for them not to want to do anything which incidentally for afternoon would be an absolute joy for me. My Dad still can’t watch television during the day as he feels that its wasteful


      • I’ve been thinking about your comment above that God gives us what we need rather than what we want. I’m not sure that’s true. The one man wanted support and help to be successful at his business, the answer just didn’t appear in the form to which he was accustomed. Your Father wanted to be reassured of his value and worth and being able to provide his time, energy and efforts to positively impact his friend did exactly that. Our Heavenly Father does promise to give us the desires of our heart (Ps 37:4) and He is a very good Father that knew what would delight the hearts of these 2 sons at Christmas!


  4. I have never been able to figure out why unhygienic food tastes so much better!
    A heartwarming tale indeed Dallas, but then any story with your dad as protagonist always is 🙂


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