Thursday, November 22, 2012

'Our Town'

As I go about the busyness of my day I feel content in the knowlege that the characters of our town are busy going about their business, starting their day, finishing their breakfast, getting their tools ready for their day on the job.  I drive past my neighbours' houses and feel a sense of belonging just knowing that I am one of them. We.. together... in our town. I may not even see any of the people on my street in  a day but there is a connectedness, a bond that we share. Their houses are a comfort to me and represent the people inside.  We live in this time, in this part of town and for a short microcosym of time we are in this same place together. I gain support from knowing that, as I drive past their houses and I love them for all their quirkiness and interesting ways.

There is the man who rides his bike really fast around the town. Sometimes he comes up behind you in your rear view mirror and you jump. There are the beautiful 'Bill and Ben' brothers, who are now in their late sixties, but continue to dangle in the wind as they climb tv towers to work for our community in their elecrical business. There is the lovely lady who rides her bike past my house after working in the local op shop. She tells me she is taking a treat home for her cats and one for herself, as she waves the bottle of brandy aloft. I only know her by her first name, but we always have a chat. There is the inventor who's real life job is a physiotherapist, but all around his house and work place are his efforts at cooling the building using other means. He reads voraciously and is way ahead of his time in many aspects of his thinking.
There is our local priest who laughs so loud it wakes the sleepiest parishioner- he was told, 'Father we will remember your laugh in the holy land' on his latest pilgrimage. There is the grumpy woman across the road who refuses to talk to me because I allowed my child to walk on her fence- once. I said to our painter,' it only happened once' and he said, 'well that was one time too many!'

Sometimes though, you drive past a friend's house and feel instant anxiety as you sense all may not be well but search desparately for a logical solution to the picture. It happened a year ago when I drove along our street to see crime scene tape surrounding a friend's house.  The street our children walk home along, when they come from their bus had played host to a stalker with evil on his mind. Our innocence was lost in that moment when we realized what had happened to one of our young beautiful people. The young lady left our town and her predator is now in jail. Still we watch as we didn't before!

Today I felt that fear again, as I drove with my children past another  friend's place. There were two police cars in his yard and I prayed that it was a break in, we'd all laugh about our friend and his bumbling ways. His prayer before lunch as we sat at our favourite cafe..him with his overalls with one strap dangling. The way he'd drive over to the wrong side of the road just to say hi, as you walked home and then continue to drive along chatting to you. Or the time when he found my daughter and I searching for brown paper bags at the supermarket and insisted that we leave immediately and drive past his house where he would find his brown paper bags, no longer needed by a growing son. Sure enough, as we drove home, there was our friend standing out the front of his house, flagging us down, true to his word. That's how it had always been. We would call him when we needed work done at our house. He would tell us his entire life story and we would be happy to share the time with him. He was kind and good and troubled by life, but trying his dammdest to find his way back, by giving back in many important ways.

I drove on to deliver my children to school and it wasn't until later in the day after doing a million other things that I heard the terrible words that sealed his fate. You see this kind hearted warrior had taken his life this day and now I drive past his house and it sits in darkness and we are all blessed from knowing you my friend. I just wish you could have felt that in yourself. We will miss you..........