I received some sad news today. Tassaneeya called from Thailand to tell me that her Granddad had died. I liked Granddad, he always made me laugh, he made me smile, but more often than not he enjoyed making me squirm by asking awkward questions about my relationship with his Granddaughter. I knew that he was teasing me, and he knew that I knew .... but it never stopped him.
He was an old man, nobody is sure exactly how old, but in a village where official documents are no more than garnish, such minor details never seemed to matter. He was a rice farmer who should have retired many years ago. Every day during the growing season he'd be out in the paddy fields tending to his crops and every night throughout the year, he'd sleep out in the fields where he could keep a close eye on his favourite cow. I’m not sure if the cow was ever in any danger or whether it was just the traditional thing for an aging Thai rice farmer to do. I’m sure that an illicit bottle of fortification was involved somewhere ..... but Grandma didn’t seem to mind. Granddad knew that I came from a farming family but he never quite understood why I didn’t still own a cow. Perhaps something got lost in translation, we were fluent in two totally different languages and the conversations that we shared were always accompanied by liberal quantities of laughter and Kao Lao, the local rice spirit.
I’ll miss Granddad, I’d promised to one day take him for a ride on my bike ....... but I think he’d have been far more impressed if my Tiger had been a Cow.