Friday, 6 November 2009

Persimmons and Sesame Leaves

I was working on the blog alone in the living room, when all of a sudden I heard a “thud” from our roof. I immediately stopped writing and sat in silence, listening intently for any clues as to what the sound could’ve been. After a few seconds, I started to relax a bit, and right on cue I heard another “thud” followed by shuffling feet. The footsteps traversed the rooftop, resonating through our empty house.

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck as my body initiated “Operation Fight or Flight.”

A second set of footsteps joined in, and they seemed to be patrolling back and forth, occasionally stopping to make a “thud” sound. I heard the tree behind our house rustling, followed by chatter, more patrolling, and more thuds. I couldn’t stand the feeling of being alone in a house surrounded by unknown assailants, so I quietly opened the front door and tip-toed up the stairs to the roof to investigate.

As I peered over the wall, I saw two men in knee high rubber boots, farmers clothes, and 2 cardboard boxes looking over the back of our house and chattering amongst themselves.

I stepped out onto the roof and yelled out a greeting. The two men jumped, spun around, and stared at me in shock. Ok, so now I had lost the element of surprise, but if they charged me, I was still in a really good position to get away at full speed. The younger of the two stammered a quiet “hi” as he reached down into one of the boxes. I tensed my legs, ready to spring away in a nanosecond if need be. He grabbed whatever was in the box, slowly pulled it out, and with one outstretched arm, showed me a single ripe persimmon.

I almost laughed. These two men had come over to steal all the persimmons from our tree (it was easier to reach them from our rooftop), and now that I had caught them in the act, they didn’t know what to do. Completely frozen in fear, they didn’t move a muscle as I walked over to the tree, picked a persimmon, and put it in their box. They looked at me, smiled, bowed, and returned back to their “work.”

I later found out that they had previously crossed paths with Jessica and had asked for her permission to come over and take our unpicked persimmons. She gladly agreed (we weren’t planning on eating them anyway), but forgot to tell me that they were coming over…

Later that evening (I was still in the living room working on the blog), I was startled once again by more sounds coming from outside. This time, it was from our front yard and it sounded like a small animal rustling through the garden. I stood up, walked over to the window, and saw an old woman (no younger than 140 years old) hunched over in our sesame plants. She clawed her way through the plants, grunting at the wilted leaves, and stopping only to pick the greenest and ripest of the bunch. She stopped, pulled out her cell phone, yelled a few sentences, and resumed her “harvest.” Moments later, a much younger woman (approximately 105 years old) sped up our driveway on an electric scooter and parked beside the garden. I stood in the window and watched in amusement as they filled up an entire basket (a full bushel) with sesame leaves. Once the basket was full, it was loaded onto the scooter and the driver sped away (forcing her very angry side-kick to hobble with all her might to try and catch up).

Who knew it could be so much fun to be robbed twice in the same day.

- Ken

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