An elderly lady was travelling back to her hometown
in Swatow by bus. As she was getting on, she made it a point to
tell the driver her destination and one point of interest that
she did not want to miss.
"Mr. Driver," with her voice raised loud enough for herself to
hear, she explained to the young man, "please be sure to tell
me when you pass by that little school house next to the Wongs
Village. You know, the one by the big oak tree after the one-lane
bridge? You see, I used to go to school there back before the
war. In those days, ..." The driver, more patient than the others,
nodded with a smile and waved her on.
So, with her umbrella under one arm, clutching a small suitcase
of clothes in that hand - with a plastic-bagful of the most tasty
sesame cookies she could find tied to the suitcase handle, armed
with a well-worn handbag and a small bamboo cage stuffed with
two chickens in the other hand, she shuffled down the aisle of
Picking a window seat close to the rear, she set down her belongings;
the chickens under the seat, the umbrella leaning next to the
window, the suitcase on the rack above - "Thank you! I couldn't
quite put it up there. Oh, could you untie that bag of cookies
for me... Thank you. Would you like to have one? They really are
clean!" Clutching to her handbag, she sat down and breathed a
sigh of relief that she was finally on her way.
After the bus started moving for a few minutes, she realized
to her discomfort that the sun was beating on her. She got her
rattan fan out and switched every few minutes between using it
to move some air and shading her face. The sun was just too bright,
she decided, and she just had to move to another seat. So she
gathered her cookies, her handbag, her two chickens, her umbrella,
and her suitcase, and moved to the other side of the bus.
Having put the umbrella where it belongs, the chickens where
they belong, the suitcase - "Well, I'll just put it on the floor",
and the handbag and cookies on her lap, she could enjoy the wind
from the open window.
Before long, the wind was getting a bit too strong. She pulled
on the window latch with all her might but it just wouldn't budge.
"It is broken," a passenger told her.
"Oh! Fiddlesticks!" She looked around again for a solution. By
now, the bus was quite full. But she found the perfect seat right
in front of hers; no wind, no sun, yet not too stuffy.
"Little girl," leaning forward, in her nicest tone with a smile,
she cooed, "The wind is blowing on me and the window won't close.
Would you help an old lady out and trade seats with me?" The little
girl was glad to do a good deed.
So once more, hugging her handbag, her umbrella, her suitcase,
her bag of cookies - from which she rewarded the girl with a piece,
and her chickens, the elderly lady climbed over the passengers,
put all the things in the right places, closed the window some
more until just a small crack was left, sat down, and took a deep
breath to recover from all the activities. She finally settled
in the new and improved seating arrangement that would last the
rest of her trip.
"Swatow Terminus! Everybody off!" Announced the bus driver.
"But," the lady was devestated, "I wanted to see the little school
"Sorry," the driver shrugged, "I called you but you were too
"But, I wanted to see the little school house!"
"Sorry, m'aam, you are home!"
"Can you just loop back and let me see it?"
"Sorry, you know I can't do that. Well, you are home!"