The cowboy and the bench

In a small coastal town, in northern NSW, that long ago surrendered its identity to a parade of homeware and genuine antique stores catering to the tidal flow of tourists escaping sand and sunscreen, a cowboy sat on a bench.

He wore a silver suit with a dagger of red hanging around his neck that clashed politely with purple socks. On his feet, two-tone shoes hailed back to a time when Al Capone patrolled the silver screen. Finishing off the outfit was a white cowboy hat from a distant prairie and silver mirrored sunglasses that perfectly accented his shoulder-length hair.

His handle-bar mustache dripped low, beyond his chin, and his white sleeve cuffs were crisp and standing to attention while a kaleidoscope of jewels glittered on every finger.

No one had noticed, but he hadn’t moved for almost 30 minutes. Even the wind dared not disturb a brittle whisker. His feet were anchored to the pavement and his hands rested calmly on his knees; his right hand poised to take up the pen he’d been furiously scribbling with before he fell into his silent contemplation.

The cowboy showed a commitment to posture and silence, grooming and fashionable flair, that left a smile bubbling on my lips all afternoon.

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