The Power of Rice

While I was getting ready to wash the rice, I accidentally dropped the bowl of rice on the floor.  I was shocked.  I’ve never done this before even as a boy helping my mom cook rice.  There was rice everywhere – by the fridge, the stove – all within a 5 ft radius.  It took awhile to scoop up everything.  And in the process I picked up a bunch of dirt with the rice.  I had to wash the rice many times before I was satisfied all the dirt was gone.

While I was washing the rice and picking out all the pieces of dirt,  I remembered bits and pieces of stories about rice as I was growing up.  We were told to finish our rice because we were lucky to have lots of rice to eat.  I heard about starving kids that didn’t have any rice.  I was told my future wife would be beautiful if I ate all my rice.  There were also stories about how hard planting rice was.  The farmers worked so hard and we shouldn’t waste rice.  It was back breaking work.  At school, we even learned a song about planting rice.

Planting rice is never fun
Bent from morn till the set of sun,
Cannot stand and cannot sit,
Cannot rest for a little bit.

Planting rice is no fun
Bent from morn till set of sun,
Cannot stand, cannot sit,
Cannot rest a little bit.

Oh, come friends and let us homeward take our way,
Now we rest until the dawn is gray,
Sleep, welcome sleep, we need to keep us strong
Morn brings another workday long.

Oh, my back is like to break,
Oh, my bones with the damp still ache,
And my legs are numb and set
For their long soaking on the wet.

It is hard to be so poor
And such sorrow and pain endure,
You must move your arms about,
Or you’ll find you must go without.



photo credit:  Brad Collins

I didn’t know this until a few months ago but apparently the sun’s reflection from the water makes it even more difficult for the farmers.  It was so strange that one little incident triggered so many memories.