I Googled it. I scoured YouTube for ages. Nothing. Why could I not find the happy song the old man was singing on the bus today?
Did he make it up? Maybe he was a songwriter in his day because the tune was lovely.
He plonked himself down next to me and leant on his stick with the palm of each hand resting on the top. A baby girl was wriggling in her pushchair by the front seats and he took delight in making funny faces at her, which settled her down instantly. As soon as the last passenger was on board and the bus began to pull away, a melody began to stir in his throat. I wondered if i should turn my head, look straight at him and smile, but then I remembered I wasn’t really in the mood for conversation and eye contact always triggers the tongue of the eccentric elderly.
So I did the ‘gaze at everything boring outside the window’ thing.
Suddenly he burst into song:
“Oh, I’d like to live in the treetops and listen to all the birds sing.” He repeated his one line several times and it was sung with such ardour that I really believed he would live with the larks and thrushes should someone be kind enough to build him a sturdy tree-house.
The suspense was killing me. I wanted to see the reactions of our fellow passengers so I peeled my eyes away from the interesting pavement and scruntinised those sitting in front of us. Living in this age where people feel they must be in contact with someone all the time, or at least pretend to be, most passengers were staring at their phones. A few were reading the local papers and the rest shared my fervour for looking for ants on the window pane.
I imagined the song would have fun, imaginative verses and a catchy chorus and by the time I had reached my stop i was singing the song in my head.
Disappointment filled my spirit as I soon discovered that this memorable ditty could not be found on the internet. I felt regret. Maybe I should have plucked up the courage to speak to the travelling songster and find out the origins of tune and words that now haunted my mind.
One thing i knew for sure. This sweet old man was happy and he didn’t care who knew it. And of course his avian passion revealed a secret dream to all the public who rode with him that day.
This elderly gentleman may have walked with a stick, but I do not think that its owing to a rickety skeletal frame. How can I be so sure? Well it says in Proverbs 17:22, that a cheerful heart does good like medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. So no doubt, my jolly companion shall be skipping about for many years to come.