When it was becoming evening, everybody’s father was establishing the evening with his children, my father was being often far away. Sometimes, we could not know even where he had gone to; we were waiting for a phone call, news from him. When the time period became long, my big brother was going out to look for my father. He was finding him and getting back to home, we could not query where had been, why he had not come, why he had not sent any news; and he was fitting into the daily life of the home as if he has gone yesterday and he has turned back today.
As soon as he came, he was cleaning around the house; he was collecting the all faggots with harrow, he was burning the all things which were not seen pretty. We were getting our acts together, he didn’t want us to take bread in our hand and eat when we came home from the school eventide, and he was telling us that we had to wait for the dinner. Also we could not turn back home late; we had to break off our games, my father meant discipline a bit.
Demre was tight for my father’s soul, but of course it was impossible for us to understand this in childhood. As being a child, we didn’t want him stay at home in the evening, we didn’t want to hear his speech arising from his being a contrarian and rebel human. At the countryside, that kind of behaviors are not welcomed, these were providing possibility to be punished by everyone including the immediate family, to be taken of the things what you had.
A rumor has remained on my mind from my childhood. Has it really been said or has it been created by my imagination, sometimes it comes to my mind. It was a rumor like my father would plough with cats, who knows, how much it had affected my child heart.
There are some occupations which continue from father to son. My father had wanted to get education, he had made effort for this as well, but my grandfather had prevented him, as my father had told. When the situation had been so, my father had taken over the farming and the trade occupations from his father like his father had done. My father was sending vegetables and fruits from Demre to Istanbul.
The tomato which he had bought at daytime is weighed on the bascule, and the payment was being done to the producers according to it. Peppers, eggplants were being arranged carefully by the workers on the plush papers located in the wooden boxes till the evening, there was a big care, and it was called as “tomato process” at those days. At late afternoon the trucks were approaching to the houses, this time, the boxes which had been processed with care, which of top is wrapped by the bobbing thread, were being arranged into the trucks. As I remember, consignment notes were being submitted, how many boxes had been sent was calculated and at night the trucks were departing towards Istanbul. Somehow, I remember mostly that he was working with Istanbul.
In those years, there was Lady Nermin who was controlling the insurance of the performed works. Sometimes Lady Nermin was staying at our home. I remember how carefully my mother was treating to her.
Then my father was going to Istanbul to take the money of the apples he had sent. My Uncle Mehmet Caliskan was living in Istanbul in those years, as my father said, my uncle could take the money from the place which my father was working with, and there was no problem.
In the later years, in Avsar, my father made apples planted in my mother’s fields, he had grown two big apple gardens. This time, in 80’s, he made apple farming in Avsa. The apple was not bought per kilogram generally, the trader was visiting an apple garden, and he was evaluating the product and was buying wholesale the apples of the garden. My father had generally lost money because of buying wholesale the apple gardens when the winter came; mostly our labor had been wasted. Now, there are neither those apple gardens nor our highland relations. My father loved the highland; he was addicted to Akcay and Gombe more than Avsar. My father loved Akcay because in those years Akcay was a more tolerant place. It was a place in which my father was comfortable with its cinema, cafes, and human relations. Maybe he wanted to be close to his aunt, Emine Aunt. He loved her, maybe more than my grand mother.
I remember, when my father went to the gardens, he turned back with a little piece of mud in his hand. This mud was never absent in his hand. As he told, he was making camels from mud; probably he had ability to sculpture. Is it possible not to be inclined to sculpture when a person is living in Lycia. His father had beaten him because of making camel sculptures from mud; he hadn’t wanted him to do. My father was feeling regret not to be able to labor with mud. In fact, sculpturing would fit to his beautiful fingers.
Another memory of my father which was burning him out was one of his childhood memories which he had lived with his aunt. My grand father Haci Ahmet was living in Yavu Village, in a two-layered frame house. The upside was the house and the downside was the grocery store. In those the sole grocery store was belonging to my grand father. Of course, the poorness was knee-deep, there is not money at the humans. My father had been giving Turkish delight between biscuits to the poor people without taking money; my aunt who was watching my father from a hole upside had been witness to my father had been giving without money and she had complained my father to my grand mother. My grand father had beaten him very hard, he had hurt him. When my father had seen poorness at any place, he was never thinking himself and was giving everything he had in his hands to that poor human.
He was inclined to lose the heritage he had taken because of the thought that he had not deserved – he was thinking that my grand father had obtained his earnings without deserving-. He was saying that he won’t live even a hand span land to his children, and he did so.
My father is always reminding me a Dostoyevski novel character with his passions and frailties. The cigarette and gamble were his biggest passions; therefore, when somebody says bad words about a gambler, I become unable to stand. I think that there is forbidden creativity at the base that kind of passions and frailties. If my father was able to live his life as he wanted instead of living the life which my grand father had predicted for him, who knows, what kind of hidden talents could come to light?
Antalya, 10 May 2015
Translated by Serkan Engin
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