Story by LindyP
Jim arrived in the community one day -his old truck towed in with a well travelled dog that had seen better days. Muttering to himself he proceeded to set up camp, nervously busying himself with the task , a process which had obviously been repeated many times before.
He was a short , wiry older man with a weathered expression and dark skin. His ready but guarded smile became popular quickly in our camp and he could be seen out and about ,always ready to give a helping hand.
He found people warmed to him and his ways, and his old dog. They started giving him stuff —old bits of board and old tarps. He got to work , diligently putting them together to extend his living arrangements into some semblance of habitation.
One day someone gave him a white plastic wedding marquee with pretty cut-out windows; this fitted neatly around his structure, making it more pleasing to the passing eye.
There was something quite final about this elegant finish to his humble home. Perhaps , I thought , it gave him comfort , or stability , or whatever this hardened traveller was searching for.
Unfortunately after a couple of months the flimsy covering was damaged and torn apart by our gusty Perth winds, and had to be removed.
He lived amongst us for 2 years , a recovering alcoholic, with his problems of emotional and mental abuse and petty crime .
One day he was told to leave -an unfortunate incident happened which ended his tenancy. His old dog had reacted one day when Jim was out and had bitten someone who inadvertently had walked into it’s territory .
He had a choice -get rid of the dog or move out.
Without objection Jim dismantled his home in 2 hours .
I watched and waved as he was being towed away in his truck to his next home. As he passed I glanced at the trailer full of his precious belongings , and saw the neatly folded remains of a battered and torn wedding tent.