Fifteen years ago I was introduced to Christie, he was a friend of a friend. We were all working at the same place and there were times when it was very quiet and he would start telling us stories. To me they were tall stories but he swore they were the truth.
According to him every person did shoddy work and he was the only one with excellent balance for climbing onto roofs to do maintenance. I listened to all this but because he was not very energetic I took all his stories with a pinch of salt.
Unfortunately my mom was looking for a repair man to have a look at the roof and she asked him if he would come and repair the roof for her. He would arrive in the morning and demand coffee. Then he would tinker on the roof. Lunch time my mom would cook him a huge meal which he would eat with second helpings and then after that he would not do anymore work for the rest of the day although he was charging her by the day.
We would often see Christie walking with his trade mark floppy hat. Christie always had his expert opinion on every person but he did not have any money, nor did he have a car and he stayed with distant family, a niece if I remember correctly.
One day he told us he was going to win the Comrades Marathon – that was funny. A 90km race, for a man who was over 60 years old, he reckoned that because he walked so much on a daily basis that he was fit enough. What amused me was there is a vast difference between walking and running. The marathon cannot be attempted without a lot of diligent training.
I read in the local newspaper this week that Christie had gone missing and that his niece is desperately asking people to look out for him because he might be disorientated and lost.
I guess if he was not such an odd character I would never have remembered him after so many years. Christie was not a likeable man, he really liked praising himself. He once told us that he could stand next to a person and smell if they had cancer or not. I never heard him say anything nice about anyone.
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