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The Boy & The Country Tramp

Being a short story about a wee common kid & a gentlemen of the highways and byways.

I love Silver Birch trees and when I see a nice one I often remember back to a time and place when I met a special old gentleman. He was an old country tramp whom I met and befriended as a wee common kid. He was a little old man and his clothes were equally old and patched. He was a 'gentleman of the road', a breed of men that has long since disappeared, evaporated into the misty past.

I met him one sunny summers day as I was walking up the track that wound its way up past the fence of the paddling pool and play area on Wynn's common., opposite Goldsmid Street. He was sat on the hill in the long grass under the shade of the Silver Birch trees that grew next to the path. He was eating his lunch. With a common kid's smile I said, 'allow! and he smiled a toothless grin back acknowledging me. I started talking to him and pretty soon we were good old mates. With his soft unhurried voice he told me that he, "travels around the countryside going many a mile in his journeying, living here maybe one day by the woods and then may be there by a river another day." I was fascinated by his stories and his kind crumpled friendly old face when he smiled as he told his tales to me.

I always used to keep an eager look-out for him after that first meeting. If he was there I would go and sit silently next to him and listen intently as he told me his many fascinating travelling stories.

He would always share his sandwich with me as we sat in the long grass in the dappled shade of those Silver Birch trees, just two plain old common folk enjoying the simplicities of life.

Unfortunately though, he disappeared, just as quickly as I'd found him, after those few happy meetings. I never did ever met with him again, though I would often scan the horizons of the common in the hope that he would be sitting there, having his lunch in the shade of the trees.

Yes, those were indeed the simple old Common days... of long ago... fading memories that we are lucky to have and to share... common thoughts... from common folk.

Colin Weightman

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