August 16, 2005 | Category:

Quiet Town, Part 1: Old John

In a town near Glasgow, in the middle of a belt of towns and villages that stretch to the Ayrshire coastline, there lives a man called John. A man who is every bit a part of the towns heritage as the war memorials, the mills (and the well-known design that gave them fame in their day), and the abundance of churches. His life story is somewhat sketchy in places but the towns people who know him, and that amounts to most of the 74000 residents, know he has lived it his own way.

John is a survivor. He’s seen much of the town come and go, made it through a tragic disaster that killed more than 70 of his peers and, for much of his life, lived rough on the streets of this quiet town. Through bad weather and good, John has been seen in his favourite haunts and doorways preparing for the night ahead. Some say that he does not need to live his life this way, that his supposedly wealthy family could easily look after him. It’s the life he chose and that we must respect.

The townspeople know and love John. If, heaven forbid, anything were to happen to him, the funeral would be the best attended in the towns history. Understand, there are generations of families who have helped him whenever they can, going back many decades. If you ever see him, with his long coat and walking stick bumbling through the town centre, you may wish to do the same.

John, an iconic figure in a quiet town.