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美文:天鹅的爱情  发帖心情 Post By:2009/7/19 22:14:04 [只看该作者]

◆〔美〕亨利·托兰斯/原著
  ◇寒烟翠/编译
  
  The end of my sophomore year was approaching. Mom called me at the dorm one muggy evening during the last week of May. My summer break would be spent with Grandma and Grandpa, helping out around their farm. The arrangement made good sense to all the family. I wasn’t fully convinced of that myself but figured it was just one summer. Next year would be my little brother’s turn.
  I packed my car after my last exam and said my good-byes until the fall. My friends would keep until then. Most of them were going home for the summer anyway.
  The farm was about a three-hour drive from school. My grandparents were both in their seventies, and I knew they really needed the help around the farm. Getting in the hay would be something Grandpa couldn’t do by himself. He also needed help with repairs to the barns and a host of other chores.
  I arrived late that afternoon. Grandma had fixed more food than the three of us could possibly eat. She doted over me entirely too much. I figured all the attention would taper off once she got used to having me around, but it didn’t. Grandpa wanted to bring me up to date on literally everything. By the time I settled in for bed that night, I’d decided things would be okay. After all, it was just for one summer.
  The next morning, Grandpa fixed breakfast for the two of us. He told me Grandma had tired herself out yesterday and was going to rest in bed a little longer. I made a mental note to myself to not ask her to do things for me while I was there. I was there to help, not be a burden.
  Grandpa surprised me that morning. Once we were out of the house, he seemed more in his own element. The farm was his domain. Despite his age, there was confidence in the way he moved about the place. He didn’t seem like the same person who had fallen asleep last night on the couch before the six o’clock news was finished. As we walked the pastures getting a close-up look at the livestock, Grandpa seemed to know each cow. And there were nearly two hundred of them!
  We didn’t do much real work that first day, but I gained a sense of appreciation for what Grandpa had done all those years before I was even born. He wasn’t an educated man, but he had raised and provided for four children on this farm. I was impressed by that.
  Weeks passed. By June we had already baled one cutting of hay and gotten it safely into the barn. I gradually settled into a routine of daily work with Grandpa. He had a mental schedule of things that needed doing, and we worked on part of it each day. In the evenings, I usually read or talked with Grandma. She never grew tired of hearing about college or anything I was involved in. She told me stories about her childhood, family and the early years after she and Grandpa had married.
  The last Saturday in June, Grandpa suggested we go fishing, since we caught up on everything. The pond was in a low pasture near the woods. Years before, Grandpa had stocked it with fish. We drove the pickup to the pond that day, looking over the livestock as we went.
We hadn’t expected what we saw when we got to the pond that morning: One of the swans was dead, grandpa had given the pair of swans to grandma on their fiftieth anniversary.
  “Why don’t we see about buying another one,” I suggested, hoping the situation could somehow be righted. Grandpa thought for a few moments before answering, he finally said, “No ... It’s not that easy, Bruce. You see, swans mate for life.” he raised his finger to point, “there’s nothing we can do for the one that’s left. He has to work it out for himself.”
  We caught enough fish that morning for lunch. On the way back to the house, grandpa asked me not to tell grandma about the swan. She didn’t get down to the pond much anymore, and there was no sense in her knowing about it right away.
  A few days later, we drove by the pond while doing our morning check on the cows. We found the other swan lying near the same spot we had found the first one. It, too, was dead.
  The month of July started with me and grandpa putting up a new stretch of fence. Then July 12 came. That was the day grandma passed away. I’d overslept that morning grandpa had not knocked on my door, either. It was nearly eight o’clock by the time I could hurriedly dress myself and get down to the kitchen. I saw DR.Morgan sitting at the kitchen table. He was a neighbor my grandparents’ age, long since retired. He’d come to the house several times before on social calls. I immediately knew something was wrong. This morning, his tattered old black bag was by his feet, and my grandfather was obviously shaken.
  Grandma had died suddenly that morning of a stroke. By the afternoon, my parents were there. The old house was soon crowded with relatives and Grandpa’s friends.
  The funeral was held the next day, grandpa had insisted on having it as soon as possible. On the second day after the funeral, grandpa announced at the breakfast table, “this is a working farm. We have a lot of things to do. The rest of you should get back to your own lives.” Most of the family had already left, but this was grandpa’s way of telling the rest it was time for them to go home. My parents were the last to leave after lunch.
  Grandpa was not a man who could outwardly express his grief around others, and we all worried about him. There had been talk of his giving up the farm. My parents thought he was too old to live out there alone. He wouldn’t hear of it, though. I was proud of the way the old man had stood his ground.
  The rest of the summer flowed by. We stayed busy working. I thought there was something different about Grandpa but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I started to wonder if he would be better of living with someone after all, but I knew he could not leave the farm.
  September was nearing, and part of me did not want to leave. I thought of skipping the fall semester and staying around a few more months. When I mentioned it, grandpa quickly told me that my place was back at college.

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  发帖心情 Post By:2009/7/19 22:14:21 [只看该作者]

The day finally came for me to pack my car and leave. I shook his hand and changed a hug. As I drove down the driveway, I saw him in the rearview mirror. He waved to me and then walked to the pasture gate to start the morning livestock check. That’s how I like to remember him.
  Mom called me at school on a blustery October day to tell me grandpa had died. A neighbor had stopped by that morning for coffee and found him in the kitchen. He died of a stroke, same as grandma.
  At that moment, I understood what he’d clumsily tried to explain to me about the swan on that morning we fished together by the pond.
  
  记得那是我大学二年级快结束的那年5月的最后一个星期。在一个潮湿而闷热的晚上,妈妈到学校的宿舍来看我,她让我暑假到农场去和爷爷奶奶一起住,帮他们打理农场内外的活儿。她认为这个安排对全家是再合适不过了。我不确信是否真是这样,但是,考虑到就一个夏天而已,明年就轮到弟弟去了,所以,我也就答应了。
  考完最后一门功课之后,把行李装上车,就与朋友们说秋天再见。他们都要到那时才返校。他们多半怎么也要回家去过夏天。
  从学校到农场,开车大约需要3个小时。我的爷爷和奶奶都已经是70多岁高龄了,我知道他们确实需要有人帮忙打理农场。收获干草就不是爷爷一个人可以干得了的。维修仓库和农场里的一些杂活也要人帮忙。
  当我赶到农场的时候,天色已经很晚了。奶奶早就准备好了我们三个人怎么也吃不完的食物。奶奶真是太疼爱我了。我想一旦她习惯了我整日围在她的身边转,她对我的这种疼爱就会逐渐减退的,但是,事实却并非如此。而爷爷则滔滔不绝地想把所有的事情都一件一件地讲给我听。直到那天晚上我上床睡觉时,我才断定一切都会好的,毕竟,我只在这儿过—个暑假而已。
  第二天清晨,爷爷早早地就准备好了我们两个人的早餐。他告诉我说,昨天奶奶累坏了,需要多睡一会儿。我告诫自己在农场时不应该再让奶奶为我操劳,我到这儿来是帮忙的,不应该成为他们的负担。
  那天早上,爷爷着实让我大吃一惊。我们刚一跨出房门,他就好像到了自己的天地里,而农场就是他的领地。虽然他已经上了年纪,但是走起路来仍旧精神抖擞,充满信心。他看上去一点儿也不像是昨天晚上那个在6点钟新闻还没播完之前就已经倒在沙发上呼呼大睡的人。当我们穿过牧场走向那些牲畜,从近处仔细观察它们的时候,我发现爷爷好像认识每—头牛。而它们几乎多达200头啊!
  第一天我们并没有干什么真正意义上的活,但是,对于那些年中,甚至在我出生之前爷爷所做的一切,我的心里充满了敬佩之情。虽然他没有受过多少教育,但是,他却用这个农场养活并且培育了4个孩子。这给我留下了难以磨灭的印象。
  很快,几个星期过去了。到6月时,我们已经把一茬干草打成捆,并且把它们安全地运进了仓库。我也逐渐习惯了每天和爷爷一起打理那些例行公事—样的农活。在他的脑子里,装着—张工作时间表,什么时候该干什么事全都清清楚楚,我们每天做一部分。到了晚上,我通常读书给奶奶听或者是陪她聊天。而她不厌其烦地听我向她讲述大学里的生活及其他一些与我有关的事情。她也给我讲述了一些她童年的故事,讲了她的家人以及她和爷爷结婚之后早些年的一些事。
  在6月里的最后一个星期六,由于农场里的农活都快干完了,因此爷爷建议我们去钓鱼。池塘就在树林附近的一片低洼的牧场里,几年以前,爷爷就在这里放养了鱼苗。那天,我们开着小货车前往池塘,一路上正好可以照看牲畜。
  但是,就在那天早晨,当我们到达池塘的时候,却怎么也没想到会看到这样一幅情景:有一只天鹅死去了!它是在爷爷奶奶结婚50周年纪念时爷爷送给奶奶的那对天鹅中的一只。
  “为什么我们不考虑再去买一只呢?”我建议道,希望能够借此使情况有所好转。爷爷沉思了一会儿,最后回答说:“不……事情并不像你想象的那么简单,布鲁斯。你知道,天鹅是从一而终的,”他手指指着另一只天鹅说,“我们不能为剩下的这只天鹅做任何事,它必须自己去想办法克服一切。”
  那天早上,我们钓到了好多鱼,足够午饭吃的。在回家的路上,爷爷叫我不要对奶奶提起天鹅的事。因为平时奶奶不怎么关注池塘的事,所以她不会马上知道天鹅死去的消息。
  几天之后的一个清晨,在我们驾驶着汽车沿着池塘巡视牛群的时候,发现另一只天鹅正静静地躺在我们发现第一只天鹅的地方。原来,它也死去了。
  7月初,我和爷爷—起把农场的栅栏加长了一段。但是,到7月12日,我的奶奶永远地离开了我们。那天早晨,我睡得很死,爷爷也没有来敲我的房门。直到将近8点的时候,我才急急忙忙地穿好衣服,下楼来到厨房。我看见摩根医生坐在厨房里的餐桌旁。他是和我爷爷奶奶同龄的邻居,已经退休很长时间了,以前,他也曾经礼节性地来访过几次。我立即意识到一定是出了什么事了。此刻,他的那个又旧又破的黑色的医药箱就放在他的脚下,而我的爷爷明显地受到震动。
  奶奶是在那天早晨突然患中风去世的。等到下午的时候,我的父母也赶到了。老屋里很快挤满了亲戚和爷爷的朋友。
  爷爷坚持要尽快办完奶奶的丧事,于是,第二天就举行了葬礼。葬礼后的第二天,在吃早餐的时候,爷爷郑重地宣布道:“我们的农场比较忙,我们还有很多事情要做,所以,你们应该回到自己的生活中去了。”其时,家族中的大多数人已经走了,但是,爷爷仍旧这样告诉其余的人应该回去了。午饭后,我的父母最后离开了农场。
  爷爷并不是那种善于在别人的面前表达自己的悲痛的人,所以我们都非常担心他。亲戚朋友们也曾经议论过要他放弃这片农场,我的父母也认为他的年龄太大了,不应该自己一个人再住在农场里。但是,爷爷始终不愿意听从人们的劝告,我不禁为他能够坚守自己的立场而感到骄傲。
  暑假剩下的日子过得非常快。我和爷爷始终忙着干农活。我觉得爷爷和以前有些不同,但我没太过问这事。我也开始认为爷爷还是离开农场和大家住在一起可能会更好一些,但是,我非常清楚,他是不会离开农场的。
  9月份快到了,但是,我却并不是很想离开农场。我想在这儿再住上几个月,等秋季这个学期过了以后再去上学。然而,当我向爷爷说出我的想法后,他立刻严肃地对我说我必须返回学校。
  返校的日子终于到了,我只好收拾行囊,准备启程。我和爷爷紧紧地握手拥抱。当我驾驶着汽车驶上公路的时候,从汽车的后视镜里,我看见他对我挥手,然后转过身走向牧场的大门,像每天早晨一样,去清点牲畜。我喜欢爷爷留给我的这最后的回忆。
  10月里的一天,天气非常阴沉,妈妈来到学校告诉我说爷爷去世了。那天早晨,一个邻居路过爷爷家门口,想进屋喝杯咖啡,却发现爷爷倒在厨房里。和奶奶一样,爷爷也是死于中风。
  就在那一刻,我猛然明白了在我和爷爷第一次到池塘边去钓鱼的时候,爷爷曾经吞吞吐吐地试图向我解释的那个有关天鹅的故事的含义。

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  发帖心情 Post By:2009/7/24 11:37:50 [只看该作者]

平淡的幸福婚姻

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