The elderly man tells his story

By Sumaiyah Mohamed

He proudly shares his father’s kindness
teaching children the Quran, no fees, only discipline needed, moving his hand like a rod would hit anytime
the kids still loved the lessons, and you could tell, he did too,
he grinned his way through the story!

He was his father’s helper in their school of sorts
it is absolutely no wonder he recites the Quran like a dream, like music, like waves and water

His family had lived in a kampung where they took care of sheep and goats and there was even a dog to protect their land
and they had many many fruits
but no monkeys though – you think monkeys would dare come near, there was that rod again!

And then there was the Japanese war, he said it was a tough time
he repeated a curse word in Japanese that he remembered
it was funny because he did not mean any harm and it made
the difficult memory lighter to me, the listener

He told this story in one sitting, about six times
I was not bored I saw light in his eye
and the way his whole body moved with vigour
and oh, how he made me giggle

It is strange – my dear uncle, with dementia, remembers his past wonderfully
but it is people not excluding myself who forget this gift of time
with him what an honour, what a delight

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