The summer at Holy Trinity was a time when we had some visiting help at the rectory so Jack and I could meet each other on vacation. He left first and I met him in Athens. We were to spend three days in Athens with another priest buddy and then off to Rome for five days.
The first Murphy episode happened one morning in Athens when we arrived at the pier too late to catch the boat to Hydra. As we arrived at the boat slip we were disappointed to see the ship a good distance off in the harbor.Jack told one of the fishermen on the pier”we want to get on that boat”. The fisherman repairing his net said “that is impossible.”Jack never batted an eye and took out some Greek currency and handed it to him. “Follow me” he said, “nothing is impossible.” We jumped into his vessel and with great speed he took off after the cruise liner. Ringing his bell and shouting in Greek he conveyed that the boat needed to stop for two passengers. Jack told me to put on my sun glasses and went up the ladder. Half way up he turned and said don’t come up until I send for you. The fisherman and I waited until Jack reappeared. We were ushered to a private deck because he had gone to the captain and said”I cannot tell you who I am escorting but he is a very prominent person and we must have a private deck. The word must have spread throughout the boat because all through the trip people were leaning over the rail and taking our picture.
The second Murphy happening was at the Casino Valadier which was the one of the most wonderful restaurants in Rome. We had not secured a reservation and the concierge at our modest hotel informed us that it would literally be impossible to get one on short notice. This estimate only triggered a further challenge to my mad friend. We went that evening to the restaurant and he entered and with great speed made his way to the attending person and asked for a reservation by name. Informed that there was no such reservation he asked to see the manager .Jack with a straight face informed the manager that the American Consulate had made the reservation months before and his guest was the son in law of the then President Richard Nixon. Miraculously the reservation was found by the manager and somehow we were escorted to a table. Once again the Wizard had performed a miracle