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  • Charles "Tremendous" Jones... "Dr Hinwood's life is filled with miracles because of his great level of expectation. His life of miracles has blessed the lives of thousands around the world because he never sought miracles for selfish reasons."
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Miracle Story

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Dr John Hinwood
Brisbane
QLD
Australia

Irish Bingo Bonanza

Submitted into: Miracles of Money Category,

On: 2014-07-21 16:29:46

It was late on a magical summer afternoon in 1970 in the country side of County Cork in Ireland. Judy and I decided we had better find a spot to set up camp for the night.

As we rounded the corner on the narrow back country road a magnificent emerald green paddock appeared to our right and a quaint, two hundred plus year old thatched farmhouse and barn to our left. This was one of those idyllic places you read about or see on a National Geographic television program. We instantly stopped and said to each other, this is our spot for the night.

There was only one obstacle we could see to stop us setting up camp... a massive brown bull! He was the ‘King of the Paddock’, it was his realm as he sauntered around on the lush green carpet.

As we were leaning on the fence admiring the paddock, the bull and the pristine environment around us, we heard a voice come from across the road. “And how would you be? Me name is Patrick and I live ‘ere.”

We wandered across the road and introduced ourselves and asked if we could possibly share the beautiful green paddock with his prize bull and camp there for the night. Patrick was thrilled that we had commented so favourably about his pride and joy.

Farmer Patrick said...” I’m over the moon that ya would like to be camping in me paddock. And would ya be stayin for a week?”

He was most put out that we only wanted to stay one night as, “this is the most beautiful place in all of Ireland” he told us.

We finally agreed to stay for two nights. That first evening we would accompany his wife to the Bingo at the local Catholic Church Hall. The following night we would be his guests at his favourite local ‘Singing Pub’ that he went to every Thursday night.

The next job for Patrick was to move his prize bull into an adjoining paddock so we had this idyllic emerald green carpet to ourselves.

Once the bull was relocated he introduced us to his wife Mary and their two little girls who were three and four. He shared with us that he had been a bachelor until his late fifties and had only married his young bride five years earlier.

As we were erecting our tent and getting settled, Patrick appeared and asked of us, “you’d be want’in some fresh milk and thick cream straight from the cow, wouldn’t ya?” “And would ya be lik’in some fresh mushrooms?”

We gave him a resounding yes to all three and soon Patrick returned with a large dipper of warm milk, a bottle of double clotted cream and a four gallon old kerosene tin full to the brim of delectable field mushrooms. We were in heaven. All three were totally yummy.

At 6.30pm the good wife loaded us into the farm truck and off the three of us went to their local small village and farmer Patrick stayed at home caring for the children. When we arrived at the church we were ‘gobbed smacked’. The small village church was virtually a cathedral and the church hall where the Bingo was played seated 500 people, and it was totally packed by 7pm when playing began.

Not being Bingo players, Judy and I had a learning experience for the first few rounds until we got the hang of it. The cost of playing one card per game was three pennies. Some very experienced players had their own custom made boards and played six cards per game.

Most game prizes were twenty Irish pounds. In 1970 when we started teaching in England a few months later, we earned twenty five English pounds a week (same value).

There was lots of excitement at Bingo that night because the ‘Monster Bonus Bingo Prize’ for the last game of the night, had jackpotted to an amazing five hundred pounds. This was twenty five times the average Irish wage and it only cost you three pennies to play.

Then the ‘miracle happened’... the visitor from Downunder, that country where so many Irish people were sent to in its early years, that penal colony on the other side of the world, had a Bingo WINNER!

Yes, it was me, John Anthony Hinwood who yelled out BINGO and won the five hundred pound prize!!

We had been travelling around England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland that spring and summer in our VW Beetle and camping in farmers fields mainly. We had an extremely low budget of twenty pounds a week for two... petrol, food, the very occasional camp ground fees ( as there were few in the UK at that time) and entries to castles, museums etc.

We were running low on cash as it was the end of summer and we knew we would have to find teaching jobs in London in a few weeks time. Wow, five hundred pounds, no need to teach, just keep travelling. Move over to Spain as it became too cold in the UK. We were excited.

The final part of this miracle story saw the arrival of the greatest fundraiser we have ever witnessed. He went to work in such a polished manner.

In 1970 in Australia and even more so in Ireland, nuns wore full habit and only exposed the flesh of their hands and faces and the Môn senior of the church was dressed like the Pope with a flowing black dress affair and a special cap that distinguished his station in the church. He was the ‘Over Lord’ of this very profitable operation was not going to allow some ‘blow in’ from a penal colony on the other side of the world come and steal the local treasure chest.

Our farmer’s wife hostess was one of the Bingo ticket sellers that night and she was so excited that her guests had won this prize that had been jackpotting for many weeks. She must have expressed this to the Môn senior when I had leapt up screaming out BINGO!!!

As the great man in his ceremonial dress approached us with ten fifty pound notes fanned out on a plate my heart was pounding with excitement. I had only ever won one other prize in my life before, a bag of six dozen Bluff oysters in a New Zealand pub in 1964 when I was hitch hicking around that beautiful part of the world.

The magical fundraiser, or the best describer would be ‘Miracle Man’, approached me with a broad engaging smile and he gave me a welcome like I was the Holy Father. He embraced me, asked me where I was from and then proceeded to tell his five hundred strong audience that my face displayed all the characteristics of a kind, caring and giving man and he knew from experience that all Australians were amazingly giving people.

He next slowly moved his left arm forward with the ten fifty pound notes fanned out and one end of each note was secured by his large left thumb.

The final part of this miracle was a masterful piece of work. His dialogue went something like this...

“This kind and giving young man from Australia has decided to give fifty pounds to the church restoration fund, another fifty pounds to the church re-roofing fund, another fifty pounds to the work of our nuns in Africa, another fifty pounds to the Pope’s Special Appeal Fund”, and on he went. He continued on until I had donated four hundred and fifty pounds to nine totally worthy causes that the church was running.

Each time he announced another fifty pound donation I had made he removed a note from the plate and placed it in a side pocket of his flowing robe with great ceremony. This man was a master.

Finally, to really make me feel good he had the throng shower me with great applause “to honour the great giving of this wonderful Australian young man”. His final words were... “and with the fifty pounds remaining, have a wonderful holiday in Ireland me boy!”

What a lesson Judy and I were treated to that night and the next evening at the ‘Singing Pub’ loads of locals came and said thank you for the gifts.

Our extra weeks paid holiday was a miracle for us.

 

Dr John Hinwood,

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia