Part of Ireland’s charm is the old-school conveniences that linger. For example, motorists are still able to find gas stations with restrooms. These can be places for rediscovering the simple joy of a cold toilet seat, as Carol pointed out.
Anyway, it happened that we were on the edge of Bandon, the County Cork city of John’s ancestors, the Hawks, when we decided to examine the facilities of a road-side gas station. The most intrepid of our group, Heather, went first. Tom and Carol, dog tired, watched passively from the car. After some time passed, they looked on to see that Heather had been taken hostage inside the bathroom. John launched immediate hostage negotiations, talking calmly through the door. Wisely, he sought local assistance. A man, we presumed to be the station’s owner, came to the door. Heather was released. The only ransom paid was an indignity visited upon the Americans by the gas-station man, who offered that there would have been no hostage incident had the instructions for unlocking the door been followed. This is malarkey, of course.