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Story ID:10689
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Ho Chi Minh Unknown Vietnam
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By Fred Wickert

Many years ago in Vietnam the lives of two very different families crossed one another. Actually it was only one person of each family whose lives crossed.

In a big city, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, there was a man who had a beautiful young daughter. The man was very wealthy. He had a successful business and he owned vast acreage of real estate. The man wanted his daughter to have a good education so he sent her to the university.

Another family lived on a farm many miles from Ho Chi Minh City. It was a large family with several children. The farmer was poor but he wanted his oldest son to leave home and get a good education. The oldest son refused. He chose to stay on the farm. He believed he could work hard and send his siblings to school so they might have a better life. In Asian countries there is not much free schooling as there is in the USA. In most of those countries for a child to attend school beyond the third grade, the family must pay.

The oldest son gave up any chance of going to school for himself. He wanted to help his siblings. He stayed on the farm. He worked very hard. He developed some new ideas he had about making the farm better and produce more, and he was successful with it.

There came a time after a couple of years at the university that the business manís daughter was nearing the end of the year at the university. Her class was given an unusual assignment. Each student was assigned a different place to go. They were to go somewhere to a business. They were to stay there for one week and then return to the university and turn in a detailed, written report on what they observed and what they learned during the week they spent there.

On the last day of the week, each student was given a piece of paper with the name and address of where they were supposed to go. It was their responsibility to be there on Monday morning. They were to stay for the week and return to the university on the weekend. The business manís daughter was assigned to the farm many miles from the city. It was the same farm where the oldest son, chose to stay and work so his siblings could go to school.

The oldest son and the girl took a liking to each other from the beginning. He showed her many things about the farm. He taught her how they fed and cared for the different animals and poultry they had on the farm. He taught her how they grew and took care of the vegetables they raised for market and the grain they raised to feed the livestock and themselves. The girl was impressed. It seemed there was no end to the things there were to learn.

The girl was surprised at the young manís gentleness and patience. She marveled at how patiently he answered all of her questions. She was also impressed with how caring and gentle he was with all the animals and even the vegetable plants. He was twenty years older than she was, but she never noticed as she felt herself being drawn to this kind and decent man with so much knowledge about so many things. The two soon became very close friends. The week went by faster than any she had ever seen before.

As time went on the farmer and the girl kept in touch. They wrote letters to each other and often on weekends, she went the many miles to visit him at the farm. After she finished school at the university she worked in her fatherís business and learned that operation.

One day the father announced to his daughter that he had chosen a young man with a college degree and from a prominent and wealthy family in the city, for her to marry. He wanted her to begin making plans for a proper wedding. The girl refused. She said she will never marry that man. She said when she got married it was going to be to the poor farmer. Her father was outraged. He told her that farmer was beneath her station. They were to poor and he could never take proper care of her. He would be the laughing stock in his business circle. He could never allow such a thing.

The girl remained defiant. Her father locked her in an upstairs room in their house. He told her he was not going to let her out until she agreed to obey him. She was defiant. The father suffered much anguish over his daughterís behavior. She was his only child and he loved her deeply. He hated locking her up like that, but what else could he do? He was sure she would come around in a day or two. She did not come around. More than a week had passed and his daughter remained defiant.

Finally, the man had enough. He loved his daughter to much to put her through this. He could see she was never going to yield and he could not bear to lose his daughter. He let her out of the room. He told her he would allow her to marry the farmer. The farmer when he learned of it was somewhat surprised because they had never discussed marriage. He never believed it could be possible with her station in life so much different than his. He was a very happy man.

The marriage did take place. They lived together at the farm but she spent a lot of time away, helping her father. A daughter was born to them. Once again, it was an only child. As the girl grew, she and her grandfather spent much time together. He began teaching her the business. Gradually as her grandfather began aging, her mother had to take over more and more of the business. Soon it was as in her early years. She worked at the business during the week and then drove to the farm and spent the weekend with her husband. Now she found herself doing it again.

The grand daughter is now out of college. She works full time at the business, She has been told she will eventually inherit the business. She believes her mother and fatherís story is a beautiful and romantic one. Several young men have approached her for dates and they have bought expensive jewelry to give her. She has refused them. She believes they are interested in her body and her eventual inheritance and not interested in her.

She has discussed her future with her parents. They have advised she seek an older man. They advise that he will be more mature and settled down and therefor more likely to appreciate her and be faithful to her. She is in agreement with that. She had two friends who have married Westerners, She believed them to be more attentive to their wives than Asian men she knows. She asked her parents about that and they told her they will not object if she decides to marry a foreigner. They have told her the most important thing is that he loves her completely.

I think that was good advice. I married a Japanese girl because I loved her completely. We enjoyed fifty six years of marriage before she passed away. I call that success, donít you?

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