Two true stories
Some years ago, my friend Michael Toon ran a saddlery manufacturing business in Walsall. One day, a group of nuns led by Sister Wilhemena from Little Sisters of the Poor came to the door, collecting. He asked them what they wanted the money for. “To help the people in our old folks home”, they said. Michael usually gave them £50 at Christmas, but they asked for 'a little more'.
'How much more?', asked Michael. 'Would £200 cover it?'
We have to have the elevator repaired. None of the residents can go home for Christmas, or have visitors in the lounge. We need about £5,000.'
“I tell you what I’ll do”, said Michael. “I’m going to the casino tonight. I’ll put a bet on for you at roulette, and if I win, you can have the winnings.”
“Roulette?” said the nuns, what is that?
“I bet on a number, and if that number comes in, you win thirty five times the amount that I bet.”
“So what number will you be betting on?”
“And what time will you be doing that?”
“All right”, said the nuns, “At eight o’clock we will pray for you, number seventeen!”
So that night, Michael went to the casino. He asked for a private roulette table so that he could bet more than the £25 maximum on a number. He waited until exactly eight o’clock, then placed a fifty pound bet on number seventeen. The ball span round and around the wheel, then fell straight into number seventeen!
Michael thought this must be his lucky night, so this time he put a hundred pounds on number seventeen. The ball was spun, and once again landed straight in number seventeen!
He called the manager to bring a chip tray. The two hundred £25 chips exactly filled the tray - five thousand pounds. Gloria the manager asked how he wanted to be paid out, and he said 'A check please, make it payable to The Little Sisters of the Poor, and leave it at reception. Gloria started to cry, and said that in all her days of casino management she had never seen such a donation. Michael replied, "Gloria, believe me, that was not my money!"
On Michael's way home, his cell phone rang. It was Sister Wilhemena asking "How did we do?" Michael told her that he had won £5,000 and there was a check waiting for her at the casino reception. She said "Yes" matter of factly, and said that of course he had won, because all of the nuns had prayed at 8pm for number seventeen to come in!
- - - - - O - - - - -
One snowy Christmas eve, I was visiting my sister-in-law Val Burnell’s house. We’re not regular church goers, but we decided that it would be nice to go a Christmas eve candlelit service in a country church. We called several churches – no candlelight services. We tried Lichfield Cathedral also – no candlelight service that year. So we were a bit disappointed, but decided to go anyway, to the local village church.
That evening, we were walking to the church through the snow in the little churchyard. The church bells were ringing, and snow flakes were falling. We were just about to enter the church door, when all the lights went out. There was a power cut!
So they had to hold the church service by candle light!