Friday, December 12, 2014

Country road, take me home.

My son Sam was playing this song this morning , and I told him about why I like John Denver, especially this song. Country road, take me home.

In 1999,  the 5th formers of 1971 Methodist Secondary School in Sibu, Sarawak, organised a reunion 28th years after they left school. It was the first time we had invited our teachers from USA, UK, and Australia to celebrate with us. It was also the first time many of us met. I was privileged to host our American Teacher Miss Jackie Fries to stay with me in Singapore. It was an excellent chance to know her better as an adult than when I was a 15 year old.

During the function, my classmate, Martin Ho, from when I was 6, sang John Denver's song. Take me home. Miss Fries felt very emotional, we all felt very emotional when she told us that she grew up in West Virginia. It was like Martin has special vibes.

Sam was born 7 years after Andrew died. He is my pride and joy. God made me whole again.

Sam started reading very early, and here he is at two years old reading to my American teacher. She was so impressed that she made a recording of him reading to take back to America.

In 1974, I had a gap year after my 6th form before I went to Canada. I went to a small town , then called, Binatang, now changed to Bintangnor. I had great fun living and teaching in Kai Chung School. Though I could never even walk in Miss Fries' shoes. She had traveled all the way from USA and lived in Sarawak for many many years, my experience was a miniscule of Miss Fries. I was there for 20 months.

With the magic of Facebook, some of these students found me, despite a gap of almost 40 years, and  and a change of name. Their messages evoked a lot of memories. Sadly, 4 of my colleagues had died. Here are some of the photos they sent me. This is from Francis, a typical Chinese village home in the Rejang River basin.The house is reminiscent of my grandparents' houses.

This is for the Save the world meme:

Houses then had stilts, and no running water or electricity. The stilts were because the Rejang River tended to flood. Though my grand pasents houses were not in a flood prone area. It was also to keep the house cool. The jar evoked many memories of children raised in the town, but of their grandparents' in the country. The jar contained water, and at that time, we didn't wear shoes. In this case, a small tin container was attached to the rim, and you scooped water to wash your feet before you went into the house. You didn't need to dry your feet, as by the time you walked up the steps, your feet is dried. My grand dad Chan's jar was different, no, it wasn't the big salted eggs jar. It was much smaller. The opening was bigger, so we got inside and rub our feet or in the case of th eyoungsters, we did a jiggle and dance. We had great time, even washing our feet. I know, because my siblings who now live all over the world relish such minor things which our children can only imagine.

Francis, Jenny and Mag are organising their own reunion. I wish them every success. This song is for all the students who now live all over the world, and even to those who had left the little town. Take me home.


Almost heaven, West Virginia,
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.
Life is old there, older than the trees,
younger than the mountains
growin' like a breeze.

Ref.) country roads, Take me home to the place I belong.
West Virginia, Mountain momma, Country roads take me home

All my mem'ries, gather round her,
miner's lady, stranger to blue water.
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky,
misty taste of moonshine
teardrop in my eye.

Rit: country... Take me home,

I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me,
the radio reminds me of my home far away
and driving down the road I get a feeling
that I should have been home yesterday, yesterday.


No comments: