Eddie Windass, in the cafe, stealing Roy’s condiments for food purchased elsewhere. Anna scolds him. He asks if there’s any tape. She looks to see what he’s doing, sticking food and magazines in a shoebox. Ciaran looks too and realizes he’s making a care package for Gary, just left for duty in Afghanistan.
Aah, it’s not the first time I’ve had to wipe away a tear watching Eddie lately. He gave his son a St. Christopher’s medal from his father, after realizing where his son was going and to what. Gary had packed several hairbrushes, saying he’d need them to brush things off. What things, Eddie asked, himself not that familiar with hairbrushes. Explosive devices, Gary said, land mines and that sort of thing. That brought Eddie up with a start, then he rummaged through a drawer and produced the small medal on a chain.
And now, packing up a care box. He got the idea from Ciaran, who has himself become a wonderful Mr. Fixit for other people. Ciaran was telling Ryan about the packages his mother used to send him from Ireland when he was in the Navy. Ciaran’s story was part of his effort to get Ryan to cut the apron strings and go to university in Glasgow.
Ryan wants to go but doesn’t want to leave his poor mother all on her own. (I wonder when Ryan last looked at his mother, really really looked at her.) Ciaran, with his iffy plan to move to Glasgow, may have an ulterior motive for encouraging Ryan to leave home, but I think he genuinely wants the boy-man to take the opportunity that’s on offer. Glasgow University is where he really wants to go, and his mother will be just fine.
So to illustrate his point about being able to live away from mother yet still be connected, Ciaran talked about the care packages from Ireland and how much they were appreciated by him and his mates. And Eddie hears, and begins preparing his own for Gary.
The added bonus of this care box is that Anna will have something positive to do for her son. Since he left, she’s just been mourning. Watching news reports about the war, listening on earphones while she’s supposed to be working. Her whole focus has become Afghanistan and what is happening there. This is understandable, but not a great situation in which to bring a new child. They have been approved for adoption and if a child is placed with them, Anna cannot be totally absorbed in what’s happening with her other child.
So Eddie’s care package has given Anna a new focus. She took it to repack properly. Now she can busy herself knitting socks and packing cookies for the lads overseas. That is something in which a new child may participate and can understand.
And Jack is handing out his own care packages – cash to Tyrone and Molly, theatre tickets to Sally, even a mystery red rose delivered to Julie. Thursday we found out why: he’s dying. I can’t bear to think about it. Can’t write about that, not yet. If knitting socks would keep Jack alive and Bill Tarmey on the show, I’d knit a pile higher than Blackpool Tower.