Dear boat wharf

Tho Ha ancient village is nestled in the embrace of Cau river. All year round, the river is always full of water, quietly accreting alluvium for my village’s fields, which are always green with potatoes, cassava, rice, and corn. The river in Tho Ha ancient village is gentle, never making me angry or angry with people. It is as diligently cultivated as the villagers themselves are diligently cultivating.

Ever since then! On the river wharf, the old banyan tree is still standing, spreading its canopy wide to cover for guests waiting for the boat to shelter from the sun and rain. Perhaps due to the excitement and joy of my son who has been away from home for a long time to return, to see so dear images that have been attached to him for a long time, I was about to shout: “My homeland. Oh, I’m here.” But I stopped in time, let go of my hand, rubbed my head and looked at the passengers on the wharf who were staring at me, smiling shyly. I have crossed this river countless times, yet each time is filled with emotions. From my childhood days, I knew how to follow my mother to sit on a rowing boat carrying a few guests at a time. I enjoyed watching the crimson water lift the floating boat from the dock to the other shore. The pair of oars like giant duck’s feet rhythmically fan the water, soon brought us to the wharf. As soon as the guests stepped ashore, the ferryman hurriedly waved his oars and turned the boat back to carry those who were still waiting.

A little older, every afternoon on the first day of the full moon in Tho Ha ancient village, I would go to this river wharf to wait for my mother to come back. Mom brought homegrown things to the market to sell. The place is densely populated, and the goods are sold quickly at a good price. Standing on the wharf, I also imitated adults calling out “Do…o…o…oh!”, then ran down to the edge of the water to jump for joy when I saw the boat approaching with my mother sitting on it. There is also a trip with few passengers, the ferryman will let me get on the boat to the other port to wait for my mother. I was happy with a smile and immediately jumped into the boat to sit on the toilet. When I went to high school, I crossed the boat every day because the high school was located across the river, in the district town. The boat has also changed, much bigger and powered by a machine, the ferryman just needs to sit at the helm, not rowing like before. When I sit on the boat, I like to see the water split in two, running parallel to each other to the far back.

Time flies so fast, I’ve been in my thirties since I was a child who used to play on the riverbank in Tho Ha ancient village. Thirty years, life has changed a lot. The old boat was also replaced by a bigger boat. The old silver-haired ferryman also retreated to the wharf, handing over the steering wheel to his son. Uncle opened a shop under the banyan tree to sell a few cups of water, some candy, and a cake for customers waiting for the boat. Not counting the profit, selling water is just an excuse for you to remember the river, the boat, and the earnest call of “do boat”.

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