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The Lessons of Sharing: How an Old Man’s Stories Brought a Town Together

  Andrew is a poor old man living in the small town of Wellington, California. Andrew is really old. Half of his teeth are missing and his hair is almost falling out. People in the small town of Wellington call him Old Andrew.
  Andrew has no relatives and lives alone in the northernmost part of the town. Every day he would mow his lawn and garden, then take a long nap, and in the evening have a few drinks at a bar in town called the Saqiban.
  However, Andrew has not come these days. If Georgia hadn’t mentioned it, no one would have noticed. Georgia was a lawyer. He was drunk. He patted the waiter Blake on the arm and said, “Hey, do you know why you haven’t seen old Andrew?” “God knows.
  The old guy still owes me the money for the drink.” Blake said disdainfully.
  Georgia laughed loudly and said: “He is really a miser. I just came back from him. He had intestinal cancer, and the doctor said he only had three months to live. He decided to go home and wait for death.” Blake said curiously
  : “Is he looking for you to leave a will? Apart from that dilapidated house, what else does he have to leave?”
  Georgia patted his briefcase and said mysteriously: “He has a lot of money in the bank. You can’t believe it. I really don’t know where this old guy got so much money!”
  Blake’s eyes lit up when he heard the money. He said, “He has no relatives, who will he leave it to?” ”
  Him ? …” Georgia drawled and said, “He left a question here for me. He said that only people who knew him could answer it. So he asked me to wait until he died before reading it out, and the first one who answered it would be the one to answer it. Get all his property. Oh, if I were not a lawyer, I would definitely be the richest man in the town!”
  Black quickly asked: “What is that question?”
  ”Actually, that question is very, very simple, it is just one word Son…” Suddenly, Georgia seemed to have remembered something, and she covered her mouth and said, “I have to go. I talk nonsense when I drink too much. Don’t take what I just said seriously.” With that, Georgia grabbed the briefcase
  , He left the bar in a hurry. Blake looked at Georgia’s back disappearing into the crowd and smiled secretly.
  The next day, it was a nice sunny day. Blake brought a bottle of red wine and knocked on the door of old Andrew’s house. Andrew looked good, and his shiny forehead reflected the winter sunshine. He was a little surprised and said, “You…are here to ask for drink money? I’m afraid I can’t pay you back in the past two days.” ”
  No, no, no,” Blake shook his head repeatedly, “You haven’t been here in the past few days. I came over to take a look. Are you okay?”
  Andrew glanced at the wine in Blake’s hand and said, “Thank you, I just have a little cold.”
  So they sat on the porch of the house and drank. Blake said: “Andrew, tell me about you. I have been in town for so long and I rarely hear about you.”
  It was obvious that Blake was here to inquire about information. What’s the point of buying Andrew a bottle of wine? Maybe there’s a chance to become “the richest man in town.”
  Andrew took a sip of red wine and talked more. He said, “You must have never seen my son Martin, right?” Black shook his head.
  Andrew said: “When he left me, you hadn’t come to town yet. At that time, he was a little younger than you. No, it should be much younger. You know, it’s difficult for men to communicate. Since his mother died, After the car accident, he and I only had silence and fists. I didn’t know how to educate him, and he seemed to do things on purpose to make me angry…” Andrew paused for a while, his thoughts seemed to fly back many years
  . forward. It seems to be such a sunny winter day. Andrew received a call from the police chief, and Martin was arrested and taken to the police station for causing trouble while drunk. Andrew lost count of how many times he went to bail Martin out. On the way back, they sat in the dilapidated truck and said nothing. It wasn’t until he got home that he raised his fist and hit Martin. He didn’t understand why. A 23-year-old boy had never done anything serious except causing trouble.
  He roared: “When I was your age, I was already a good hand in the mine. But what about you? You are just a waste!”
  But this time, Martin did not run away like before, but remained silent. Let Andrew’s fist hit him.
  Blake interjected: “Is he crazy?” Andrew shook his head: “He told me after I was tired from playing that he signed up to join the army. He was leaving the next day.” Time seemed to freeze at this moment
  . After a long time, Blake asked: “What happened next?”
  Andrew’s expression looked particularly sad. He said: “The night before Martin left, he spent the whole night chopping firewood in the backyard. There was enough firewood for me to burn through the winter. I thought that when the firewood ran out, he would come back. Unfortunately, But he stayed in Afghanistan forever. When I received the death notice, Martin’s firewood was almost used up. Then, I saw that one…” As he spoke, Andrew pointed to the fireplace
  . Just above the fireplace, a dry log hung with a line of small words engraved on it.
  Blake walked over and saw a simple and familiar word – sorry.
  Andrew drank all the wine in the glass, smacked his lips vigorously and said: “If between the two of us, whoever says that word first, we will have a different ending. Maybe he will stay in this town, like you. Be a waiter, or open an auto repair shop. That guy’s skills are really good. Who knows, maybe I will have a grandson…”
  Andrew was drunk, murmuring while dreaming Fell asleep.
  Blake covered him with a thick blanket and left quietly. He thought he probably knew what the key words to Andrew’s legacy were. But he was not happy at all. After some calculations, it has been four years since he left his hometown out of anger with his family. Blake looked at the sad and declining old Andrew, and seemed to see his elderly father. He felt that he had to say the key word to his father – “I’m sorry”. No matter who was right or wrong before, he didn’t want to leave a lifetime of regrets like Andrew did.
  On the way back, Blake met Georgia.
  After Georgia wakes up, she always looks serious. He said, “Blake, don’t tell anyone what I told you yesterday, okay? I was drunk and talking nonsense.”
  But everyone on earth knows that telling a secret to a bartender is equivalent to telling the whole world.
  Mrs. Johnson was Black’s landlady and had a reputation in town for being stingy. She has a restaurant, a flower shop and a house to rent. But when the town donated money to build a church, she only contributed $50. It is said that it was extra from her restaurant when she paid the bill at night. Mrs. Johnson came to see Andrew with a hunk of bacon. Andrew loved bacon so much, even though he knew it must have been leftovers from yesterday’s restaurant. He said, “Oh, Mrs. Johnson, I really didn’t expect you to come see me.”
  Mrs. Johnson shrugged and said, “I actually didn’t expect it either. But Blake told me that you were sick, and I was a little worried.”

  Apparently, Mrs. Johnson also came to inquire about “heritage keywords.” She sat lightly on the sofa and said, “Let me tell you, how come you are always alone for so many years?” ”
  Who said that?” Andrew sat down opposite her and said, “Actually, I have always had Simpson as a friend. ”
  Simpson? He seems to have been away from town for many years.”
  ”Yes.” Andrew said slowly, “He seems to have been away for many years.”
  Simpson and Andrew met in the mine. They are all copper miners. Simpson, who is 10 years younger than Andrew, follows him around every day and looks more like his son. Once, a collapse occurred in the mine, and Andrew and Simpson were sealed underneath the mine.
  Mrs. Johnson screamed: “Oh God! I remember the mining accident. It was terrible! Many people died!”
  Andrew sighed longly and said, “A lot of people died. At that time, Simpson and I were Sealed in Well No. 2, it was just the two of us. I still had a piece of bread in my pocket. The first question I thought of at that time was whether to take out the bread. Because you know, if you eat more, you will be able to hold on. It took longer. But Simpson took out his bread and said, Fortunately, I have a piece. He is always so kind, which makes me feel ashamed. So I also took out mine. Later, Simpson made a suggestion. I can only eat half of the bread at a time.”
  ”Why?” Mrs. Johnson asked puzzled.
  ”Because…that way we can leave half of hope when we are most helpless.”
  Andrew and Simpson were buried underground for fourteen days. The remaining bread could only be regarded as crumbs, but they still divided half of it into their mouths and sipped it carefully.
  Andrew said: “You know, that time I learned the importance of sharing. If I hadn’t taken out that piece of bread, Simpson might have died, and I might have lasted longer. But in fact, without Simpson, I It’s impossible to survive fourteen days in the dark. Even if we eat an extra piece of bread, we can’t. Because we share the food, we also share the fear. As long as we can hear each other’s weak breathing in the dark, we will feel that we There is still hope.”
  After saying that, Andrew took out a large box from the closet, which was filled with postcards and photos. He pointed to Mrs. Johnson and said, “Look, although Simpson later left town, he always sent happiness back to share with me. So, I was never alone.” Mrs. Johnson picked up a photo of Simpson with
  a The fat man with a bright smile can vaguely see his former appearance.
  Andrew said: “Mrs. Johnson, do you have friends with whom you can share everything?” ”
  No.” Mrs. Johnson shook her head and said, “But I think there will be some in the future. Thank you, Andrew.”
  Johnson left Andrew’s house Madam, I suddenly realized that I knew what the keyword was. And that is exactly the “sharing” she has been missing.
  Once a secret is known to a woman, it is no longer a secret. Charles was the first to hear the secret from Mrs. Johnson. Because he always went to Mrs. Johnson’s restaurant for breakfast.
  Charles’ ancestors have European aristocratic ancestry, so no matter what the occasion or weather, he has to wear a top hat and a suit. Recently, he was divorcing his wife. Mrs. Charles screamed at him every day like an angry mare. He couldn’t stand it anymore.
  On this day, Charles came to visit Andrew with a bouquet of flowers. Andrew really doesn’t like this thing. But he still found an old water glass and placed flowers on the table. Andrew said: “If you don’t mind, I want to lie down on the bed and talk to you.”
  Andrew looked not very good, and there were thin beads of sweat on his forehead. Charles said nervously: “Are you okay? Do you want me to call an ambulance for you?”
  Andrew shook his head and said: “No. They can’t save me. But I’m so happy that you can come. Let’s talk. .”
  So, Charles moved a stool and sat down beside the bed. The topic with Charles naturally cannot be separated from women. His woman is probably the most nagging person in town. Charles said: “My status is different. Divorce is a scandal. But I really can’t stand her anymore. I would rather be with a stingy woman like Mrs. Johnson than stay with her for one more second.” “Oh
  . , women are all the same.” Andrew sighed and said, “But do you know? You may regret it if you get divorced. Let me tell you about Jenny and me.” Jenny
  . Is Andrew’s wife. They have been in love since high school. When she was young, Jenny was slim and beautiful. But after she got married, time, the magician, turned her into a fat man. Andrew said: “I don’t dislike her being fat, but I can’t stand her nagging – no smoking in bed, no drinking of strong alcohol, you must wear a seat belt when driving, and you must take vitamins every day…” “That’s it
  . .” Charles said with deep sympathy.
  Andrew asked him, “Do you think this is bad?”
  That time, it seemed to be winter. Jenny discovers that the safety belt on the passenger seat of the truck is broken and she urges Andrew to fix it. But in that era, it was very shameful to wear a seat belt while driving, so Andrew always dealt with it that way. Until one weekend, it rained. On the way he drove Jenny to church, there was a car accident. He wore his seatbelt because of Jenny’s nagging and was fine. But Jenny because he didn’t fix the seat belt…
  Andrew said: “You know? A week after Jenny left, I discovered that listening to a woman’s nagging is a wonderful thing. Because they treat you with trivial things. All their care is put into nagging. They love you. Although they never let you go, they have tolerated all your bad habits throughout their lives. And what about me? I have never really tolerated her. I just thought she was a nagging woman. I even thought about replacing her!”
  Andrew couldn’t go on. He picked up the photo of Jenny on the bedside, kissed it hard, then held it in his arms and cried. Charles was a little embarrassed and had to leave quietly. However, Andrew’s cry always lingered in his ears from time to time. He murmured: “His key word shouldn’t be ‘tolerance’, right?”
  He thought, he understood.
  Later, many people in the town came to Andrew to listen to his stories. They came in small groups and brought gifts to see him. Sometimes, Andrew falls asleep. They would quietly help him mow his garden or clean his room. It was no longer just for the huge inheritance that never showed up. Because everyone seemed to have found the key words they were missing in the story of old Andrew, and changed. For example, her wife’s angry yelling was no longer heard in Charles’ house; for example, Mrs. Johnson turned Friday into a free meal day; for example, Blake spent half a month going back to visit his father… …
  However, Death did not pity Andrew because he could tell stories. Just one night three months later, Andrew passed away peacefully. The whole town held a small funeral for him. It was early spring, and the grass in the cemetery was sprouting fine green buds. After the ceremony, Georgia read Andrew’s will:
  ”Dear neighbors, thank you for coming to see me in my last days. This is really an incredible thing. Maybe God has mercy on me as an old guy and doesn’t want to let me go. Too lonely. However, I have nothing to leave you. I only have this old house. I think, just donate it to our town of Wellington. Please turn it into a monument to record the history of Wellington town. museum. Because all the people in our town are so warm and kind. Goodbye, friends!”
  The moment Georgia finished speaking, everyone applauded. No one asked about Andrew’s legendary inheritance anymore, because they had inherited Andrew’s most precious thing.
  Coming out of the cemetery, Blake got into Georgia’s car. He said: “What you said in the bar that day…”
  Georgia laughed silently, and he said: “Didn’t I tell you a long time ago that I would talk nonsense when I was drunk?”
  Blake understood immediately. He punched Georgia and said, “What was old Andrew’s original will?”
  Georgia opened his folder and took out a form. He said: “He wants me to help him sell the house and pay back the money he owes.”
  As he said, he pointed to Blake’s column and said: “$199, if you need it, I can help him pay it back.” You.”
  Blake snatched it away, tore it into pieces and threw it out the window, saying, “I guess no one wants to see it!”
  The wind blew gently into the town of Wellington from the south, like old Andrew’s story, warmly Wandering on every street.