The end of my sophomore year was approach­ing. Mom called me at the dorm one muggy evening during the last week of May. My summer break would be spent with Grandma and Grandpa, helping out around their farm. The arrangement made good sense to all the family. I wasn’t fully convinced of that myself but figured it was just one summer. Next year would be my little brother’s turn.

二年级快上完了,5月最后一周某个闷热的晚上,妈妈打电话到我宿舍,告诉我,我将和爷爷奶奶一起过暑假,好帮他们料理农场。这个安排对整个家庭来说很合情合理。我自己倒是没能完全理解,但想一想,只是一个夏天而已,明年就轮到弟弟了。

I packed my car after my last exam and said my good-byes until the fall. My friends would keep until then. Most of them were going home for the summer anyway.

考完最后一门课,我装好车,跟朋友们说秋天再见。他们也只能跟我秋天再见了,毕竟,他们大都要回家过暑假。

The farm was about a three-hour driver from school. My grandparents were both in their seven­ties, and I knew they really needed the help around the farm. I arrived late that after­noon. Grandma had fixed more food than the three of us could possibly eat. She doted over me entirely too much. I figured all the attention would taper off once she got used to having me around, but it didn’t. Grandpa wanted to bring me up to date on literally everything. By the time I settled in for bed that night, I’d de­cided things would be okay. After all, it was just for one summer.

开车从学校到农场大概3个小时,爷爷奶奶都70多岁了,我知道他们的确需要有人帮忙料理农场。那天下午晚些时候我才赶到,奶奶早已准备好足以让我们祖孙仨吃不完的食物。她一次拨给我太多饭菜。我想,一旦她习惯有我在身旁的时候,这种“关怀”会减少的,然而并非如此。爷爷则要我熟悉所有的一切。晚上上床后,我断定,情况会好起来的。毕竟,只是一个夏天而已。

The next morning, Grandpa fixed breakfast for the two of us. He told me Grandma had tired herself out yesterday and was going to rest in bed a little longer. I made a mental note to myself to not ask her to do things for me while I was there. I was there to help, not be a burden.

第二天早上,是爷爷为我们俩做的早饭,他告诉我,奶奶昨天累坏了,所以要在床上多休息一会儿。我告诉自己,在农场的日子里,不让她为我操心。我是来帮忙的,不是来添麻烦的。

Grandpa surprised me that morning. Once we were out of the house, he seemed more in his own element. The farm was his domain. Despite his age, there was confidence in the way he moved about the place. He didn’t seem like the same person who had fallen asleep last night on the couch before the six o’clock news was finished.

那天早上,爷爷很让我吃惊。一旦出了家门,他就更显出自己的特色。农场是他的领地,尽管他已年迈,在这块土地上活动时,他却自信十足,一点都不像昨晚6点钟的新闻还未播完就在沙发上睡着了的那个人。

Weeks passed. I gradually settled into a routine of daily work with Grandpa. He had a mental schedule of things that needed doing, and we worked on part of it each day. In the evenings I usually talked with Grandma. She never grew tired of hearing about college or anything I was in­volved in. she told me stories about her child­hood, family and the early years after she and Grandpa had married.

几周之后,我慢慢融入了爷爷每天的工作流程,他脑子里对要做的事有一个安排,我们每天完成计划中的一部分。晚上的时候,我通常和奶奶聊天。对于大学或者发生在我身上的事,她怎么听都不厌倦。她告诉我她的童年、家庭以及与爷爷结婚后的早期生活。

The last Saturday in June, Grandpa suggested we go fishing, since we were caught up on every­thing. We drove the pickup to the pond that day. We hadn’t expected what we saw when we got to the pond that morning: One of the swans was dead. Grandpa had given the pair of swans to grandma on their fiftieth anniver­sary.

6月的最后一个周末,忙完之后,爷爷建议去钓鱼。那天,我们开着皮卡车去了水塘。我们没有料到那天早上我们开车到达水塘后见到的景象:一只天鹅死了。那对儿天鹅是爷爷送给奶奶50周年纪念的礼物。