By Samantha McGarry, Manager Red Cross Shop, Newbridge
It’s not every day someone come into the shop with a concealed firearm. But it has happened.
A few months ago, a man came into the shop saying that his father had died and that it was about time he cleared his house out.
“It’s well over a year that John my father died and it has taken us this long to get around to clearing the house out. It’s not an easy job as you can imagine, it’s emotional, but on top of that he has so much stuff it’s hard to know where to start,” he said. Would we take clothing, household items and small pieces of furniture, he asked.
“Erm yes of course that would be great.” our volunteer Martina said. The man said thank you and left.
We didn’t see him again for while then one day he arrived at the door with black sacks and boxes. He chatted for a while about how hard it was to pack all the items and went to leave. But just as he was walking out the door he turned and said, “One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.” And with a smirk on his face disappeared out the door.
To our delight, we went through the bags to sort them out. They were all in good tack and we got them ready for the floor.
Next were the boxes, four in total of household items and bric-a-brac. All sorts of fine bone china cups, good mother-of-pearl cutlery still in their original box, a wooden chess box with the chess board on top, with beautiful brass and bronze pieces nesting inside surrounded by red crush velvet niches for each piece.
Just when we thought we had seen the best of the haul, we found a long bulky item wrapped in a cotton grey tee shirt. We unwrapped the parcel and pulled out what looked like a long piece of flat driftwood. But when we flipped it over, we discovered to our amazement a gun. A very beautiful at that, made of solid rosewood with a cast iron barrel.
Once an item is donated, it becomes the charity’s possession. However, there are a number of items that cannot be sold under Irish law. Funny enough, a gun is one of them. So with gun in hand, off I went to the Garda station to have it checked. Before I took it out of its bag, I told them what it was – even gardai get jumpy around guns, I figured. They were certainly surprised.
After inspection though, they told me it was a reproduction. So we sold it.