He appeared slowly as if he had always been there and we had gently become aware of him. Unassuming and quiet but with a solidity of the earth, he was a presence in our world and had been for as long as anyone cared to remember. He quietly ambled toward us, dressed in faded browns and greens, natural camoflage as old as the village and of its colours. No labels on these clothes and if any such label remained, no doubt the company that had made the garments had long ceased to exist. He would fix them with his broad flat hands gently wielding a needle to patch and repair until they were now only the indication of what they once had been. Worn until they frayed and tore and then fixed. Kevin was a fixer, a handyman who earned his small living repairing fences, gates, paddocks. The sort of work that someone needs to do, without specialism but vital in itself. Who will feed the horses when we are away for the summer? Who can open the hall every Tuesday at 7pm and lock it at 10? Who can dig the drainage ditch for the new outhouse? Repair the old shed roof? The answer to all these questions was Kevin. He was the owner of a brown broad face with a wide downturned mouth that could have seemed dour but for the deep and ample smile lines that surrounded his dark brown friendly eyes. A face decades in the making, etched by the wind and beaten by the sun, hammered flat by the weather of the years. His eyes had seen the comings and goings of the village, witnessed the occasional scandal and seen the turning of the seasons from his quiet place in the center of it all.
Apart from fixing the village when its various parts creaked and split, when its animals needed care and its halls janitored, he also fixed himself. He maintained his clothes and his house in the same way, with his broad brown hands that were as wide as spades. He ate when hungry, enjoyed a drink and rested when he was tired or poorly. He had never visited a doctor nor held a paying job and he had never paid taxes. He could not accurately remember how old he was though he did feel he was in his sixties. He was as much a part of the village as the hall or the local shop. As much a part of it’s character as the church and the graveyard and he was as far as is possible to be, the gentle enduring spirit of the small community. Quiet, unassuming and eternal.
Copyright Faramond Frie © 2015