I first came across Albert (sorry if that’s not his name) tramping far and wide in the Byron Shire, in rain and shine, when I lived in Main Arm and The Pocket in the early ’90s. Much more recently, several years ago, the Backlash page of The Echo issued a warning, advising motorists to watch out for Albert who was beginning to veer into the middle of the road on his walkabout. More recently, his walkabout contracted more and more to Mullumbimby, where he was sighted almost daily. He started offering his forlorn hand somewhere on Burringbar Sreet, for a dollar. Then several months ago he vanished.
I was very happy to see him a couple of months ago, on a footpath near the Byron hospital and then yesterday, crossing the main road near the Byron Arts & Industry Estate roundabout, his familiar, determined, half-bent stoop and now his royal blue top replacing the black garbage bags of yesteryear. I guess he is being looked after somewhere, maybe he doesn’t have to fend for himself for his next meal and he has a dry bed. All I can say is, good on you Albert, may you enjoy these years.