What’s it like where you live?

July 22, 2009

williamsburg day 3 104The old man sits by the city gate and greets all who enter the walled city.  He has, literally seen it all he has sat here so long.

The first visitor of the day wears a look as haggard as his clothes.  Perhaps a professional pugilist, thinks the old man.

The visitor is the first to speak.  “I am looking for a place to live.  What are the people of this unkempt town like.”

The old man pauses,  “Could you tell me please, what were the people like in the town you left behind?”

“Mean spirited and unfriendly!” barked the stranger.  “Never spoke to you, never gave a backward glance or a offer to help a neighbor.”  He spoke with bitterness and pain, but the old man sensed something deeper- loneliness.  But perhaps it was self inflicted solitude.

“I am afraid,” said the gatekeeper after a moment, “that you will find the some sort around here.”  He sadly shook his head.

The traveler mumbled something foul under his breath, brushed some dust off his sleeve, and proceeded through the gates into the city.

More visitors came through the gates as the morning sun began to heat up the walls, and as the shadows grew shorter another stranger came to the gate.  He was every bit as travel worn as the first visitor of the day, but he seemed not to notice his own scruffiness.  He carried a broad pack on his back and an equally broad smile on his face.

“Greetings gatekeeper!  What a fine morning to be sitting in the sun.”

“Welcome traveler.  It is indeed a blessing to be outside meeting new friends.”

“Could you tell me about the people of this fair city.” inquired the traveler.

“I would be delighted,” said the man at the gate.  “But before I do, could you tell me a bit about the town from which you come?”

“A most delightful place.  I am sorry I had to leave.  Everyone smiled and said hello.  People cared about one another, looked out for each other.”

The gate keeper smiled.  “You will like it here.  The folk of this town sound just like your old neighbors.  And my guess is you will feel at home as soon as you set down your pack.”

The visitor smiled, shook the gatekeepers hand and went through the gates with a look of high expectation on his face.

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