Charlie Chaplain’s Tales
X…. & Y….. were long term clients at the old Crichton Royal Hospital here in Dumfries.
They were virtually inseparable and the best of buddies….. most of the time.
Every Sunday morning there was a half-hour service of worship in the magnificent Church on site, and both would attend most weeks…. but never on time; having sung the first hymn, during the prayer that followed, the door would be flung open with an almighty crash, and in would come the two amigos.
One of them – and this was during the prayer, remember – in a loud voice would greet the congregation with a booming “HULLO!!!”
Luckily, my prayers there were extemporised, so I was able to stop in mid-flow, and welcome them (as did the others present)
It was also usually their custom, just as I began the Homily, to get up and walk out – with a wave from one of them and the shouted valediction, “Byee!!”
Now, we had occasional Baptisms administered during these Sunday Services – the babies of hospital staff members, or the new grandchildren of NHS workers.
On one particular Sunday, one side of the Kirk was almost full with family and friends gathered for the administration of the Sacrament.
For once, the two pals were early, and sat on the other side of the aisle from the Baptismal party and guests.
Something must have been said or done, but within minutes of their arrival, an amazingly vicious and brutal punch-up kicked off.
And “kicked off it did” ….. and how!
Spilling out of their seats, the two guys ended up in the aisle beside the gobsmacked visitors who certainly weren’t expecting this cabaret of violence.
There was a look of horror – indeed, fear in some cases – on their faces, as the two combatants got stuck into each other, punching, eye-gouging, banging heads off the floor, kicking each other.
One of our regulars (a member of staff) and I managed to separate them. A phone call was made to their ward, and off they went – under escort.
When the dust settled, I welcomed everybody warmly “on this very special day”, “filled with joy and happiness” – and I wasn’t being ironic.
Fast forward to the following Sunday; at the end of the first hymn, the door was flung open, and the familiar voice rang out loudly, “HULLO!!!” And in trooped the two chums – the very best friends, of course.