Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Same Old Tree



Standing under a familiar old tree in the marketplace of the same old town, touching and examining the many carved words, symbols and picture on the smooth bark of the trunk, many memories flooded into my mind and stirred up emotion inside me.

I was standing in the middle of my home town and looking around.......

I saw the same people wandering around, doing the same businesses, playing the same games, creating the same jokes, speaking in those familiar languages and dialects, living in the same houses, though all had aged, matured and changed.......

I saw more and more vehicles moving on the same roads and bridges, going ever slowly to the same places, but the journeys were still rough, bumpy and narrow, though the roads had been repaired, resurfaced, restriped, and widened many times.......

Looking around and pondering deeply brought me more memories of my childhood, my growing up years, past happenings and accidents.......

The same familiar people started to flash into my mind, each with many wonderful and tragic stories to tell........

The same familiar places pictured inside my head, each with its beautiful tales and legends........

The same familiar roads driving through my mind, each with its many incidents and accidents.........

Entering a familiar coffee shop, sipping the familiar hot coffee, brought me even more memories of old times.......

I had a nice chat with the shopper owner, now that he was old, married and with many children. I looked around the shop and saw familiar people nodding their heads, waving their hands and the usual small talks, jokes and humors......

Without realizing it, I had been in this same old town for 40 years. Many of the same age group were now dead and gone. Some had migrated far and to many places, perhaps never to meet again. Some were still busy chasing after their dream of becoming richer; they had no time for friendship and fellowship. Some had suffered mental disorders and breakdown, gone insane and put into mental hospital. Of course, there were still the few of us who put on shorts and T-shirt, who enjoyed sitting in a coffee shop, talking about old times or nonsense and laughing together.

Wandering in the same wet market and hawker center with my wife and children also brought me nostalgia of younger years. Here was where I had spent my 10 years learning about my family trade. Here I cleaned, trimmed and tidied up vegetables before arranging them nicely and neatly on the stall. Here I learned, practiced and mastered my business senses and skills to make decent and consistent profit for my family. Here I learned the lessons "No pains, no gains", "I rather work than beg for a living", "There is no shame in making an honest living".......

Looking around the stalls, I realized that most of my friends had retired. Many stalls were now taken over by the next generations. The same old friends were still standing or sitting there at the back of the stall, watching, coaching and teaching the children and grandchildren the basics of business: the eye contacts, the manifold gestures and facial expressions, the small talks, the ever present and infectious glowing smiles, the necessary precautions, the wit and quick thinking,....... The list was endless, I smiled to myself. Someone must try to write a book of practical advice and tips on these.

Coming back to the same old trees. More and more big, brown and dried leaves had dropped........

I remembered the street sweeper had swept and collected the dried leaves a day ago.

The big, dried and brown leaves scattered under the tree, each telling many different and common stories about the same old town, the same old roads, the same coffee shop, the same wet market and hawker center.......and the same old tree.

4 comments:

adultwetwipes said...

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Katherine said...

You are the most amazing writer... simply beautiful!

Cianoy said...

Very nostalgic post. Kinda makes you want to slow down and appreciate things in the present.

black eyes said...

成功是一把梯子,雙手插在口袋裡是爬不上去的。..................................................