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Gossip about straw

  Old Rui came to see me again at Fengchun Clinic, this time a bit perverse. He asked me questions about the function of straw without a clue. In the past, he always asked me about my paralyzed wife’s condition in a pestering manner, asking me about everything.
  I had to put aside my usual routine of recounting medical knowledge, cocked my head to think carefully, and I said, “Straw can be used to make straw rope, weave straw bales, weave straw curtains, feed livestock, pad pig nests, compost farmyard manure, and make straw ash water.” I said in one breath a lot of my life’s knowledge of rice straw.
  Old Rui laughed and said I had been dealing with rice straw for half my life but knew very little about it. I was not convinced, but my head, which had been fed with rice, could not think of any other good uses for rice straw.
  Old Rui asked, “Before a rabbit is in labor, does it need to put straw into the nest?”
  I said it doesn’t count, it’s the same thing as a pig’s nest.
  Old Rui said: “Before there was no Simmons bed, we did not lay a thick bed of straw on the wooden bed?”
  I said it does not count, or the same reason as a pig’s nest.
  Old Rui thought very seriously, said: “people just died, covered with a white cloth on the face of the dead, the three straw with red head rope tied, the other end forked, respectively, supported on the top and sides of the dead head. Most importantly, after the death of a person, the floor of the room where the coffin is placed should also be covered with straw.” This is an old funeral custom in Li Zhuang Town, I actually forgot. But my question came, an authentic old farmer, ask this marginal question what is the use.
  Old Rui said, “The arable land are transferred to the company to plant ornamental trees, idle want to write a book, the name is called “North of the Yu Feng Qi Zhi.”
  I gave a thumbs up and said, “Old Rui not to play hoe to play the pencil!”
  Old Rui shy, said: “No crops, corn, soybeans, rice, sorghum, no trace. Almost all the people in town have moved to the city, what customs have disappeared, I am afraid that the next generation will forget these things.”
  I can’t help but worry and ask: “Old Rui you are not good at words, and the people in town are blushing, write a book to interview a number of people, say a number of words, can?”
  Lao Rui said with a heated smile, “People can change.”
  A seal of the village, the circle of friends has become the exit of the view, from the epidemic inflection point to eat, drink, sleep and everything to talk about everything. Suddenly one day, a “Lao Rui wife died” news broke the circle of friends.
  The old Rui himself is low-key, his wife is also not good at socializing, after the cerebral infarction paralysis, is not out of the door, who do not know her condition. I am very puzzled, according to common sense, but where the town of Li Zhuang people seriously ill will first look for me, but the old Rui even consult me, too abnormal.
  Some people said, now the people of the country are self-isolation, who will go to you? People are dying, and you will not come back to life.
  I think that’s true. But people have to be buried when they die, so why is there no one to help with the burial?
  Some people refuted that during an epidemic, people are not allowed to gather.
  I think this is also true. I still wonder, everyone is at home, how do you know that old Rui’s wife died?
  Someone said conclusively that he got up early to relieve himself and saw Lao Rui wearing a big mask and came home with a bundle of straw from someone’s woodpile.
  I don’t think so and said, maybe it’s a pig’s nest.
  Some people laughed at me and said, “Who still has pigs in their homes today? The old man said he had rabbits at home, but the rabbits were the ones who were putting straw in their nests. The only possibility for his family to use straw is for his wife, and it is dead.
  I can’t find any more reasons.
  ……
  Finally the day of unsealing. The street came a burst of running tunes of the opera “Kou Zhun back boots” singing, old Rui rode a broken pedal tricycle, mouth humming slowly from the street corner turned out. On the tricycle sat his paralyzed wife, surrounded by quilts, only the head exposed, although one side of the mouth drooped to the chin, but also full of red face.
  I stopped the car and asked old Rui a Li Zhuang town people are thinking of the problem: “that day, you to home to hold straw exactly what? Is it possible that looking at the straw will inspire you to write your book?”
  As if he had expected someone to ask this question, Lao Rui stopped singing and said, “During the epidemic, I couldn’t go to the supermarket to buy diaper towels, so I had to use the old way, wrapped straw in cotton to make several thick mattress pads, and gave my wife a replacement pad under her body.”
  Speaking of Lao Rui’s wife, I suddenly understood the intention of Lao Rui singing this play.
  I joked with Lao Rui and said, “Decades, I still see you singing in the street for the first time, like a monkey show.”
  Old Rui, however, was not annoyed and pointed to his wife and said to me, “I just want to show the people in town that my wife is still alive.”
  I suddenly remembered the day Old Rui and I discussed the straw, when I was leaving, said the words, like the most famous words.

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