There once was a fellow who, with his father, farmed a little piece of land. Several times a year they'd load up the ox-cart with vegetables and drive to the nearest city.
Except for their names and the patch of ground, father and son had little in common. The old man believed in taking it easy…and the son was the go-getter type.
One morning, they loaded the cart, hitched up the ox and set out.
The young fellow figured that, if they kept going all day and night, they'd get to the market by next morning. He walked alongside the ox and kept prodding it with a stick.
"Take it easy," said the old man, "You'll last longer."
"If we get to market ahead of the others," said his son, "we have a better chance of getting good prices."
The old man pulled his hat down over his eyes and went to sleep on the seat. Four miles and four hours down the road, they came to a little house.
"Here's your uncle's place," said the father, waking up. "Let's stop in and say hello."
"We've lost an hour already," complained the go-getter.
"Then a few minutes more won't matter," said his father. 'My brother and I live so close, yet we see each other so seldom."
The young man fidgeted while the two old gentlemen gossiped away an hour.
On the move again, the father took his turn leading the ox. By and by, they came to a fork in the road. The old man directed the ox to the right.
"The left is the shorter way," said the boy.
"I know it," said the old man, "but this way is prettier."
"Have you no respect for time?" asked the impatient young man.
"I respect it very much," said the old fellow. "That's why I like to use it for looking at pretty things."
The right-hand path led through the woodland and wild flowers. The young man was so busy watching the sun sink he didn't notice how lovely the sunset was.
Twilight found them in what looked like one big garden.
"Let's sleep here," said the old man.
"This is the last trip I take with you," snapped his son. "You're more interested in flowers than in making money."
"That's the nicest thing you've said in a long time," smiled the old fellow.
A minute later he was asleep.
A little before sunrise, the young man shook his father awake. They hitched up and went on. A mile and an hour away they came upon a farmer trying to pull his cart out of a ditch.
"Let's give him a hand," said the father.
"And lose more time?" exploded the son.
"Relax," said the old man. "You might be in a ditch sometime yourself."
By the time the other cart was back on the road, it was almost eight o'clock. Suddenly a great flash of lightening split the sky. Then there was thunder. Beyond the hills, the heavens grew dark.
"Looks like a big rain in the city," said the old man.
"If we had been on time, we'd be sold out by now," grumbles his son.
"Take it easy," said the old gentleman, "you'll last longer."
It wasn't until late in the afternoon that they got to the top of the hill overlooking the town.
They looked down at it for a long. Neither of them spoke.
Finally the young man who had been in such a hurry said, "I see what you mean, father."
They turned their cart around and drove away from what had once been the city of Hiroshima.
This story is attributed to Billy Rose who included it in one of his "Pitchin Horseshoes" columns.