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Goodbye time

Today I was fighting with myself because I really didn't want to go home and cook - especially when it takes a blink of an eye to grab something for the journey home. But having mentally berated myself on a prior occasion, for not cooking more and now having a fridge full of fresh food, I resigned myself to a night of eating in. 

On the way home, I spied a roasted chestnut/sweet potato cart and of course, could NOT resist. The smell and the heat and the coal always get to me and I always fall for the primal picking/peeling/chewing of these autumnal treats. The satisfaction of cracking into roasted chestnuts never wanes. 

So off I trot, on my way home with a bag full and it hits me how quickly the years go by. I mean really - before you know it, you're looking back on a memory that is years old, with no real recollection of how much time passed. My mum used to idle away the hours at work, peeling away at a big pot of boiled chestnuts. It would take ages, painstakingly peeling off the skins with a sharp knife and we would try to save more than we ate so that we could prolong them. Sometimes, she would peel the whole pot then freeze them so that months later in cold winter, we would have a stew or stir fry with chestnuts that tasted just as fresh, a whole season later. When I became older and I realised how easy it is to roast and peel them, I often wondered why she would choose to boil them. My feeling is that she didn't want to bother my dad to turn on the big industrial oven for her.

Today I realised how much time has occurred since that last happened. In the gap in between, my mother was diagnosed with arthritis in her joints and it affected her hands really badly. Hands that were once dexterous and strong now caused her pain and aches and now she's on a perpetual cocktail of tablets to keep everything in check. And I was thinking how it's been a very long time since we sat peeling chestnuts together. Funny not only how quickly time passes and how we should be thankful for all the moments that make up time, but also how the menial tasks become ones that you really treasure.

Lingy Chan