Posted by r.a. Sunday, Nov.22, 2015
The following is from a book I own titled “Come Before Winter”, pages 336 -339. I have abbreviated and edited those pages.
Intro: It followed them every step of the way. They were completely unaware of death’s shadow which accompanied them as they made their way to market. (r.a. note)
The old man and his son loaded up their ox-drawn cart with vegetables and headed to the nearest city to sell their produce. The father and son had little in common except for their name and a little piece of land.
The son figured if they walked faster they’d reach the city by early morn. So he kept prodding the ox to move faster, but the ox just kept his steady pace.
The young man wanted to get to the market before other sellers so they could get a good price for the produce. “Take if easy, son”, said the old man. “You’ll last longer”. The father pulled his hat down over his eyes and fell asleep on the cart seat.
Four hours and four miles down the road, they came to a little house. The old man awoke and said, “Here’s your uncle’s place. Let’s stop in and say hello.”
The son complained that they already lost an hour. The father said a few more minutes won’t matter. While his father and uncle talked and laughed for almost an hour, the young man was fuming.
On the move again, the father took over leading the ox. They approached a fork in the road and the old man led the ox to the right. “The left is the shorter way”, said the son. The old man replied, “I know, but this way is so much prettier”.
The young son asked impatiently, “Have you no respect for time?” “Oh, I respect it very much! That’s why I like to use it to look at the beauty and enjoy each moment to the fullest.”
Twilight found them in what looked like a huge colourful garden. The old man pulled the cart to a halt. “Let’s sleep here,”, the father sighed.
“This is the last trip I’m taking with you”, snapped the son. “You’re more interested in watching sunsets and smelling flowers than making money!”
The old man fell asleep while the son was restless all night.
Before sunrise, the son hurriedly shook his father awake. They hitched up and went on their way. They soon happened upon another farmer – a total stranger- trying to pull his cart out of a ditch.
“Let’s give him a hand”, whispered the old man. The son exploded: “And lose more time!!”
“Relax son, you might be in a ditch sometime yourself. We need to help others in need — don’t forget that!” The boy looked away in anger.
It was almost eight o’clock in the morning when they were able to get the other cart out of the ditch and back on the road. Suddenly, a great flash split the sky. What sounded like thunder followed and the sky grew dark.
“Looks like a big rain in the city,” said the old man. The son grumbled, “If we had hurried, we’d be almost sold out by now.” “Take it easy…you’ll last longer and enjoy life so much more, counselled the kind old gentleman.
It was late afternoon when they got to the top of the hill overlooking the city. They stopped and stared down at it for a long, long time. Neither of them said a word.
Finally, the son put his hand on his father’s shoulder and said, “I see what you mean Dad.”
They turned their cart around and rolled away slowly from what had once been the city of Hiroshima!