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August 10, 2022

It Happens Every Sunday

A trip to market etched in history
This story has been told many times in many languages in many
countries, and many inferences have been drawn from it.
The farmer awoke at his normal time and was mildly amused when
he went into the kitchen to find his oldest son already there.
A trip to market etched in history

This story has been told many times in many languages in many countries, and many inferences have been drawn from it.

The farmer awoke at his normal time and was mildly amused when he went into the kitchen to find his oldest son already there.

“Good morning, my boy,” he said. “What has got you out of bed so early?”

“Have you forgotten that today is the day we go to market, Father?”

“Oh, yes,” the farmer said. “Market day. Are you ready for it?”

The son started to reply but sensed his father’s amusement. “Yes, Father; more than ready.”

The mother, daughters and younger son came in then, and the usual stir of activity followed with the women cooking and serving the meal. The younger son looked at his father, and ventured wistfully, “When I get to be big, can I go into town, too?”

The father chuckled.

“That should be in no time at all. Perhaps your brother would be willing to let you take his place today.”

The women tittered as the younger son looked up at his brother with hope in his eyes, and at the older brother’s unsmiling face.

As the farmer hitched the ox to the cart packed with vegetables from their fields, the mother hurried back into the house, and emerged a moment later.

“I nearly forgot your lunch,” she said as she handed her husband a small parcel. “And here is the list of things we need.”

The older son sat stoically as his parents went over the list, but finally his father gently slapped the reins and the journey began.

The father smiled to himself as his son leaned forward. He remembered with poignancy his own long-anticipated trips to market not so many years before. Time will cool his ardor, he thought. When he has his own family he will better appreciate what is important in life.

The young man talked of the last trip to town six months earlier, and of its many diverting and glorious attractions. The father nodded.

“Yes, it will be good to see it again.”

When they stopped for lunch, the son finished his in a few bites and paced while his father had a more leisurely meal. As he finished, he asked, “Are you ready to continue, my son?” The son was already in his seat and did not reply.

They rode along the tree-shaded path to town until the father saw an old friend along the road and halted the cart. His son answered in monosyllables when a comment was directed to him, but finally the older men waved at each other and the trip resumed.

They were climbing the last crest before the descent into town, when the ox suddenly bucked. A great light filled the sky and the leaves of all the trees shook.

After they gained the summit, father and son stared silently for a long time across the charred and smoking desolation that had been Hiroshima.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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