My friend, Mossa, comes from Lebanon. He used to own the chip shop in Kells, Co. Antrim, when I was minister there, and we hadn’t seen each other for 18 years until a few Saturday nights ago when, through a chance encounter, we met up again. It was great to see him and to renew our friendship.
These days Mossa, his wife, Violet, and their 3 sons, live close to Dungannon, and Mossa has a chip van which he parks at the Tamnamore Roundabout on the M1. He serves the best mixed kebab and chips in that part of the world and if you are ever in the area and are feeling a bit peckish, it’s a great place to stop.
One of the interesting features of Mossa’s chip van is that it is drawn by a very sweet-looking Massey Ferguson tractor which he keeps in great condition. That leaves some people cold, but for many men in rural Ulster, it is thrilling to such a beautiful piece of machinery in everyday operation.
It was Mossa who first educated me about the plight of ordinary people in Beirut who had to live through the awful days of war and conflict there. His own family were frequently close to death through missiles and bombs in the city, and when they re-located to southern Lebanon, they were still under threat of attack. Thankfully the situation is a bit better there these days, and Mossa returns twice every year to see his family who still live there.
Mossa is a remarkably resourceful and hard-working man, who is extremely kind and generous. It’s great to know that we can see each other regularly again. My problem is this: which is the healthier meal: a mini-fry or a mixed kebab? Now there’s a dilemma!