Midsummer, early morning. I don’t know what time it is, maybe four o’clock, the sky just turned white, and my aunt has been urging over and over again by the bed: “Get up, get up, it’s getting bright, let’s go mowing.” Twelve or thirteen years old, I was It’s the age of not getting enough sleep, especially in the early morning, sleepiness is stronger than honey, sweet dreams are sweeter than honey, and suddenly interrupted, the feeling of unwillingness and helplessness is strong but indescribable. I got up from the bed with great difficulty, took the sickle handed over by my aunt ignorantly, and walked out of the house ignorantly. On the road outside the village, I was still immersed in a deep drowsiness, yawning for a long time as I staggered behind me. My aunt turned around and urged, “Why do you sleep so much? I woke up a long time ago. I didn’t get enough sleep.” I went in one ear and the other went out. I can’t refute or justify, but I just don’t understand why she’s not sleepy? At that time, my aunt said a lot of words. The words were like a breeze, but they were forgotten. Why do I remember this sentence firmly, because she said it too many times, and she repeated it almost every day. It was the double rush season, a very special and very tiring time. Children who grew up in rural areas can feel that double robbing is a big thing for as long as they can remember. When that time period came, everything was put aside, and there were only two words in the minds of the villagers: “double grab”! The irrigation conditions in my uncle’s village are good, the fields are flat, and all the rice fields are grown in two seasons: early rice and late rice. During the same period, early rice had to be harvested, and late rice had to be planted, so it was called double grab. There is a double rush, and when the time comes, people will be in full swing and work quickly without any urging. There are many rice fields in my uncle’s village, and double robbing is especially busy.
Before the sun came out, I cut the grass and did not dry it, which also bought time, but there were many mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are in for a feast, swarming wild and eager to feast on our bare skin. My aunt pulled the barnyard grass to drive them away, but I was too sleepy to pay attention to them.
The uncle’s paddy field is very large, one of which is 2.2 mu. It is square and flat, and together with the paddy fields on the front, back and left, weave a huge golden carpet. The carpet is of course composed of heavy ears of rice. The eldest uncle put out the cigarette butts under his feet and looked at the thick “carpet” with a satisfied smile. So does my aunt. The grown-ups all look that way—the harvest is in sight, joyful and content. Only me, frowning.
Such a large field, plus I only have three and a half labors (of course I can only count as half of the labor). Great uncle, great aunt, brother-in-law of great uncle. If you count work points, I don’t think even half of the labor force can be counted. My aunt is a person who counts every second. She has already planned that in one day, the rice will be cut and threshed, the straw will be picked up, the water will be filled, the next day will be tilled in the early morning, and the late rice seedlings will be planted in the morning. Faced with the current situation of a large amount of labor and a small labor force, we can only extend the working time in the morning and evening as much as possible. The uncle’s brother-in-law is a demobilized soldier, handsome, in his early thirties, and logically, a good laborer, but he is really not interested in farm work. The brother-in-law has few paddy fields in his own home, so he is not nervous about double robbing. My aunt is my sister-in-law, so I have to listen to what my sister-in-law says. Logically, although the brother-in-law is here to help, he is also a guest, and he should talk about the etiquette of the guests. When I came to the field and saw such a big field, my brother-in-law first put forward a condition: “Yo ho, this field is so big today, you have to eat jianzui (chicken) at noon, otherwise you will have the strength to do things.” My aunt is a very good person, so she just pretended not to hear it. In this regard, the eldest uncle has always acted with the eyes of the aunt, and when he saw that the aunt was noncommittal, he pretended to be deaf and dumb. But what a lovely person is the brother-in-law, he doesn’t care about the aunt’s face, he keeps saying that he wants to eat jianzui at noon today, and he wants to eat jianzi at noon today, otherwise, the field will not be finished. There was no other way, so my aunt reluctantly smiled and agreed: “kill a chicken to eat at noon.” I buried my head in the ear of rice, laughed secretly, and secretly shared the success of my brother-in-law. I know very well the pride of my brother-in-law and the helplessness of my aunt.
With the promise of killing chickens at noon, the motivation of the brother-in-law seemed to come up all at once. He bent down, waved his scythe, and swishly cut off a handful, and swishly another. Everyone was speechless, and there was only the sound of the sickle brushing and the swish of rice in the field. The sky gradually brightened. I looked back and saw that we had cut down a large field of rice. The rice should be cut before breakfast as much as possible. After breakfast, step on the threshing machine to thresh the millet. At noon, take advantage of the sun to dry the millet. Those who are physically weak, such as children, continue to cut grass. In the afternoon, we have to pick straw and plant the seedlings in another paddy field that has been plowed and raked. Every day, over and over again. Meals and breaks are all compressed and compressed. Because before the beginning of autumn, all the seedlings have to be planted. After the beginning of autumn, the planted seedlings are not good. Adults say this, but I still haven’t figured out the reason, why the seedlings planted after the beginning of autumn are not good? It must be related to solar terms, but I don’t know much about it.
Because it was a double robbery, the breakfast was not too particular. After eating it in a hurry, I went down to the field before I could catch my breath. Noon and evening are considered big meals, so eat and drink twice.
Near noon, my uncle went home early to prepare lunch. My eldest uncle is a good cook, loves to fish in the river, and loves to cook. When we got home, the first thing my aunt asked hurriedly: “Which chicken was killed?” The uncle smiled and replied, “It’s the white-flowered chicken woman (the hen).” “How to kill that chicken? How to kill that one, I told you to kill the cock (rooster)…” The eldest uncle still replied, “The cock can’t be caught.” The aunt threw down the burden on her shoulders with a bang, and didn’t care. With the guests at the side, he shouted loudly: “I said and said again, kill a chicken man, kill a chicken man, you are better…” Seeing that my aunt’s eyes were red and her voice was choked, my uncle didn’t stop. Tell the truth in a hurry: “Coaxing you, it’s the chicken man who killed it. That white chicken has one egg a day. You like it the most. How dare I kill it?” The aunt confirmed again: “Really?” “Really !” With a positive answer, the aunt turned around and entered the room. What did the chicken taste like at noon that day? I forgot.
The uncle’s rice field is not only large, but some of the rice fields are very far from the village. You have to go through a pine forest and cross a railway to get there. The road for nearly five kilometers is all on foot. The road was long, and there were no rubber-wheeled vehicles, agricultural vehicles, etc. at that time. It was very painful to carry agricultural tools and pick rice. I couldn’t pick up rice, but my aunt took it for granted that I could lift a threshing machine. As soon as the heavy guy landed on my shoulders, I felt my legs go weak and I almost fell to my knees. I gritted my teeth, held my breath, and slammed my shoulders to stabilize my body. I lifted my back and straightened my neck, my head in the threshing barrel, the narrow rim of the barrel pressed against my shoulders, the sharp edges poking into the flesh. I couldn’t move my head or neck, and my eyes were only fixed on my feet and a little bit of the road ahead. With a heavy burden on my shoulders and unable to look up, I moved forward step by step by feeling. The mountain road is bumpy and undulating. The threshing machine on my shoulders was getting heavier and I felt like my neck was about to be severed. I’m too young, my young shoulders and my weak body can’t bear such a heavy load. My gasps got louder and louder, and I was almost dragged by the person in front of me. Just when I was dizzy and wanted to die, I finally heard the sound of heaven: “I will carry it.” That trip with heavy loads left a deep memory in my memory, which I will never forget, and it also made me feel sorry for the heavy lifting. The fear of lifting heavy objects. I even had doubts about life: “Why do I always do these things?” I was so old at that time to think about such important life events.
During the double robbery period, manpower is precious, and every family can’t wait to add a few more people who can work. I have two uncles. If I work at my eldest uncle’s house today, I have to go to my younger uncle’s house tomorrow to work in turn. Otherwise, my aunt will be unhappy. It’s not just me, every time during the double robbing period, my aunt’s nephew, niece and nephew will come to help. They are all little adults, between the ages of thirteen or fourteen to seventeen or eighteen. I am the youngest and call them brother or sister. My uncle led our group of boy scouts to work in the fields, while my aunt took care of the children at home, raked the rice, and prepared three meals a day. When peers work together, the atmosphere is much more relaxed and less tired. My little aunt was very dedicated to the meals, and even gave us extra meals in addition to three meals a day, but her meals were really out of time. After breakfast, she asked us to take the zongzi to the fields, saying that if we were hungry, we could make one. When the weather is hot, your mouth is dry, and you are sweating profusely, how can you swallow zongzi. What’s more, the zongzi was roasted by the sun and steamed, and the taste soon changed. The mischievous nephew peeled off the zongzi and took a sip, frowning: “How can I eat this, my aunt is also true, if I have time to make zongzi, I might as well go to the field to harvest the crops.” He waved and threw the dumplings deep into the rice field next door. We all agreed with our nephew’s words and practices, and secretly enjoyed it. Who knows dishes on the menu, A Journey. At that time, we only knew how to recite poetry with our mouths open, but we didn’t understand its meaning, even though we were working hard for the meal on the plate. These half-year-old children, at the age of playfulness, how many are willing to work, not under the orders of their parents. At that time, it was common for relatives and neighbors to help each other. Anyone who is not in a hurry to live, just take the initiative to say it, and there is no need to ask for it. When helping, the host’s family will serve you delicious food and drink, purely helping.
When I have a little free time at home, my little aunt will take me back to her parents’ house to help. The poor’s child is the early head of the family, although still a child, after all, it can help a little. My aunt’s elder nephew and younger nephew are about the same age as me. The eldest nephew is playful, the younger nephew is too naughty, only I am the most honest. A little aunt graduated from high school, which was rare in the countryside at that time. Like a teacher, she managed the three of us obediently. The three of us went to plant the fields (planting seedlings), and the little aunt used the seedlings to divide the three moisture. Auntie knows our psychology too well. We are calm on the surface, but we are secretly competing, and everyone wants to be the first. I pulled up my stance and got to work quickly. He grabbed a handful of seedlings with his left hand, and pulled apart the straw that bundled the seedlings with his right hand. With the thumb and index finger of his left hand, he twisted out two or three seedlings. He quickly took it with his right hand, as nimble as a chicken pecking at rice. All right. When one of the seedlings was planted, he took a good look out of the corner of his eye, and with a stroke of his right hand, he grabbed the other seedling, and shook it vigorously twice to prevent the seedlings from dripping. I don’t lift my head, nor do I straighten my waist, and I work honestly. Occasionally, out of the corner of his eye, he glanced at the eldest nephew beside him. He didn’t follow me, he moved slowly, and often straightened up to be lazy. The younger nephew is not as fast as me, but he is more diligent and not lazy than the older nephew. I was secretly happy, thinking that I was sure to win. After a while, I raised my head and looked left and right. Hey, the three of us are on the same level. That is, our work progresses the same. Strange, the eldest nephew is obviously so slow, how can it be the same. I wasn’t convinced, but I couldn’t find a reason to refute it, so I could only secretly make up my mind again: be faster, I must surpass him. I slammed hard and picked up the pace again. The eldest nephew was unmoved, watching me desperately with a cold eye, and occasionally winked at me with the younger nephew. After a while, I straighten up and look again, I am desperate! The three of us are still the same. I don’t believe in evil. I carefully observed their moisture content and found the mystery: the eldest nephew’s vertical and horizontal spacing for planting seedlings is unusually wide. I planted three, but he only needs to plant two. The same goes for the nephew, but the spacing is not so outrageously wide that it can be seen. No wonder! When the planting was almost finished, the difference came out. The seedlings planted by the eldest nephew were sparse. Compared with ours, they looked stunted. The eldest nephew’s father just happened to come over to check. Seeing this, he roared and picked up a bundle of seedlings and smashed it at him. The consequence is that in the evening, we went home, drinking mung bean soup, and waiting for dinner. The eldest nephew was covered in mud and water, and his face was embarrassed. Under the supervision of his father, he returned to work honestly.
Because of the double grab, my summer vacation has become long and annoying. Every summer vacation has a double grab. This makes me very sad. The boundless rice fields and the fiery sun are daunting; the endless cicadas are screeching. It wasn’t until high school that I got rid of the phobia of double grabbing. After all, I grew up, understood how to share, and understood that doing farm work during the holidays was my job. Even in the third year of high school, there are still unfinished farm work and studies after returning home from vacation, which are just things in school. I don’t know how other people spend their summer vacations. Is it the same as me, with the scorching sun on their heads, facing the loess, sweating profusely… After the summer vacation, I went back to school and chatted with a female classmate in a county town in the classroom. she says:
“I have a hard day, and I have to do a lot of work.”
“What are you doing?”
“Release the soil for the flowers, water the flowers, help the parents with food…”
I was stunned, if these are considered to be alive, then I have not stopped all day long. It was a very beautiful girl, tall, fair-skinned, with a good family background, pampered, poor grades, but pure and kind. We are the front and back table, she likes to interact with me very much, likes to chat with me, and often brings snacks to class. Sometimes, when the teacher is eloquent on the podium, she taps me on the back from behind, and when I look back, she gestures to me with her eyes, and hands over snacks from under the desk. In the last semester of high school, I ate a lot of her snacks, what kind of papaya is cool, and what about dried plums. But before the holiday, she didn’t come to school. Don’t know where she went. I haven’t seen her since. I still remember her name and what she looked like back then. I don’t know if she still remembers me. Maybe remember. A few years ago, when I ran into her tablemate, before I noticed, her tablemate shouted my name and rushed up. Hey, I didn’t think I was quite popular. There are still so many people who remember that black and thin high school girl who often did farm work back then.
After work, for the first few years I would still go home to work on double-rush weekends. The villagers were very envious and said to their mother, “Your daughter is in the office now, and she still goes home to do farm work.” The mother was very happy, but she said lightly: “The daughter of a farmer, of course she has to do farm work.” One year, I mowed the rice for a day and got a red rash all over my body that was itchy and painful, and it took a whole week to heal. When my mother found out, she was very distressed: “Don’t go home to work in the future.” The blood of peasants was flowing through my body, but my body began to reject and resist. After the baby was born, I never went home to do farm work.
After the great heat, the scorching sun is burning like fire. The rice in the field is yellow and green, and the ears of the rice have been bent into a smooth arc. When the color turns golden, the sickle is about to be harvested. Standing on the side of the road and looking at it, the large field of crops in front of me reminds me of the past, double robbing, double robbing, sweat dripping over the soreness of my eyes, the stinging pain of Hemang piercing the skin, the hot sun scorching my back and burning pain… all of this , has been away from me for too long, but why can I still feel it so clearly? Some people say: Double grab is a memory that melts into blood and bones. Yes. No matter how many years have passed, when summer comes, I think of “double grab”, and when I see the word “Huang Chengcheng”, I think of the golden rice waves rolling under the blue sky, and the boy standing in the rice field with a sad face. At that time, I really only have sadness, only helplessness. Now, when I approach the vast fields again, the past is like a wave of rice, rolling in, but the wave of rice is still there, the sad and helpless teenager in the wave of rice has long gone, and the waves of rice have taken away the years, I can finally appreciate the joy of the heavy harvest, the idyllic beauty of the vibrant and colorful fields.