Bath stone

When I was a child in Tho Ha ancient village, I was surprised to see a slender, oval stone, slightly flattened on both sides, next to the water tank at the well’s edge. No matter how many days of rain or shine, the stone remains unchanged, still smooth with a dark green color and gives us a cool, enjoyable feeling when holding it in the hand. Seeing my question, my mother patted my head and said: it’s a bath stone. It’s not just an ordinary stone used for scrubbing, it’s also a memento left by your grandmother for your mother! No wonder my mother loved the stone so much! Then when I knew how to herd cows, swim in streams, wade in rivers, in the fun of poor rural children, I very much remember the times I went to find a stone to bathe.

We rolled up our pants and waded back down the stream. The spring water is cool, so clear that you can see schools of small fish swimming together. Then suddenly one of the group shouted when he discovered that the stream had countless smooth round stones of all colors and styles lying on top of each other, looking at the shore. Immediately, each child chose their own favorite stone and brought it home in Tho Ha ancient village. We also marked the bank of that stream, treating it as a common property that only a few of us in the group knew about.

Because I love rocks with strange colors and shapes, I sometimes bring them back in Tho Ha ancient village, but I can’t use it to bathe. Seeing that, my mother showed me how to choose a bath stone. These are stones that are both elongated and flat on both sides, because it can help us to scrub both our backs and between our fingers. The surface of the stone should be neither too smooth nor too rough, because too smooth a stone will not be able to remove all the dust and dirt that is too rough, when scrubbing it will scratch the skin. Mother also told me to leave the stone in a dry, clean place, even sometimes I have to scrub it, to avoid getting it dirty or mossy, so when bathing it is good and safe for the skin. According to my mother’s instructions, I finally found a suitable bathing stone for myself and cherished and kept it as a precious object.

I still remember when coming home from work in Tho Ha ancient village, my mother used to use a bath stone to rub her feet and heels. Remembering the hot summer days, in the evening we would go to the well to take a bath. Hands on the wall of the well, stooped, sometimes lying on the edge of the well so that the brothers alternately use a stone to bathe each other’s backs. The stone face on the back is cool. The stone rubbing up and down on the back was refreshing. Use forever to get used to, the days of bathing without a stone feel like a lack of burning, itching like not having a bath.

Growing up, going to school and then going to the South to set up a career, I always keep a bath stone with me. My preference for stone baths has been passed on to my wife and children since I don’t know. Moreover, my wife also learned and told me many other uses of bath stones such as being able to remove hair, help blood circulation, and even use a bath stone to press on acupressure points on the soles of the feet. massage… Back home to play in Tho Ha ancient village, my daughter once insisted that her father take her to the stream to wade in order to earn a bath stone for herself. Some of my friends say what era is it, but they still use stones to scrub! I don’t think so. Because sometimes the new is not necessarily a good thing, and also because the bath stone for me is an unforgettable childhood memory, family love. Every time I hold the stone in my hand, I think of my grandmother, my mother…

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