Time In The Handbag- By My Grandmother

September 13, 2016

Lying on my desk at home is a black handbag, which is my beloved side-kick that kept by my side when I just started working.
In the summer of year 1991, I was sent to work in a tax bureau of village that surrounded by rivers and mountain. The tax bureau is in charge of the taxation from five nearby towns, covering hundreds of square kilometers; with only zigzag small rural path for transportation, dust and sand would rose like cloud as vehicles moves on it, very Loess Plateau like.
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Back then, there were only two bikes in the tax bureau, and due to the rugged path condition, it’s often the case that you need to lift the bike and walk instead of riding it. When heading out to levying, I spent more time walking than riding bike; I carrying the handbag with cash in the inner layer and receipt in the outer layer when getting across the villages. It could take me a whole day on miles of hiking, and it was easy to get lost.

In a burning July, when rice crops get ripen, I was crossing the narrow paths between the cropland that filled with ripen rice crop; I kept moving for very long time yet couldn’t find a way out. a women was working in the cropland, she found me get lost in the farmland, then come over and helped me out of the golden rice cropland.
Every time I carry this little black leather bag, I felt comfort but also uneasy. I felt comfort coz I have grown from a student that rely on parents to a cadre who has steady incomes; I felt uneasy because I was in a remote and mountainous area, and the concern of robbery kept me worry as the cash and receipts were in my handbag; so I held it in my hands carefully, worrying get robbed.
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In an afternoon,When I was heading back to the tax bureau with collected tax in my handbag. I waded across a river and ready to get on shore while I found a coral snake in front of me, swimming in the water. I took my shoes in my left hand, and handbag in the right hand, no any weapon did I have to defend myself. I grab a rock from the river in hand, and staring at that snake with each other for a moment before it moved away, leaving me frightened there. Since then, whenever I head into the hills, I would carry a bamboo stick with me for defense.

Long gone are the days of my taxation work days in that tax bureau, it was tough but also enriched. By the day I left there and head to work in the tax bureau of the county with a pool in the front, I didn’t take anything except the black handbag that kept my company for years. at the present days, as the VAT threshold rose, the increasing numbers of household business citizens have free from taxation thanks to the government policy, I will never forget the long gone days when I travel across the tough terrain for taxation.
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