Then and Now
It is interesting how you think you understand something only to discover years later that you didn’t. When I was in high school nearly six decades ago, I had to memorize lines of poetry or prose each semester. One short paragraph that I chose was by George Eliot, which was from her novella entitled Silas Marner. I memorized it in 1961, which was exactly a century since Silas Marner was published.
Eliot wrote how Eppie changed Silas Marner’s life in his twilight years.
A lifetime has passed for me since I read Silas Marner and memorized that paragraph. I discovered that what I thought that I understood back then I finally grasped in my twilight years. I have traveled to Myanmar twice in the past four years. My first Eppie was Ti Ti four years ago as we played Scrabble.
On my second trip I was able to get to know Snow and Fatty who I had met at their daycare. However, they were only four and two. I took this photo of them in their preschool classroom.
Add four years to their lives, and they became my Eppies also. For example, Snow and I were walking someplace. While I don’t remember where we were walking, I will never forget my 21st century Eppie. Without saying anything, she merely took ahold of my hand as we walked. It was her means of expressing her love and caring for PaPa Al. On the last evening that I was with my family, Ko Ko was driving us to a restaurant owned by a family friend. Moh Moh and Ti Ti were sitting in the front seat, and I was sitting between Fatty and Snow in the backseat. I reached for Snow’s hand. It was like the other time; we held hands without saying anything. It was for me a 21st century version of Silas Marner expressing his love for another Eppie. I’ll never forget holding hands with Snow.
And then there is Fatty. She was six on my last trip to Myanmar. While her English isn’t yet as good as her older sisters, she is still able to express herself. Whenever we were together, she would call me in a load voice, “Bo Bo Gyi.” Ti Ti and Snow called me PaPa Al, but, to make up for her lack of speaking English, Fatty named me Bo Bo Gyi who was an alchemist and a nice old guy in Buddhist folklore in Myanmar. Essentially, Bo Bo Gyi was what we would call a saint.
When we were together, Fatty would yell, “Bo Bo Gyi,” which resulted in my tickling her, and we would laugh. However, that would last only a few seconds. Then she would wind up on my lap as she would look up at me as if to say, “I know that you love me, and I love you.”
Eliot wrote that “a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child's.” Believe me, Eliot was correct.
Visit the Burma Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the "We Are Family" page to read more about this topic.
Visit the My Hauntings page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.
Visit the "The Hand May Be a Little Child's" page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Darkest Before Dawn page to read more about this topic.
Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Connecting the Dots page to read more about this topic.