The Lunches My Father Made for Me

Savoring the memories, unforgettable taste of the foods prepared with her father’s love, translated…

In the era where there was NO nutritious meals provided by schools, my lunches were usually made by the cook, dad. He’d often spent Sundays, making the stewed foods, and told me, “the foods that were stewed aren’t afraid of getting steamed again, so long as the sauce is great, the more you’d steamed it, the better it smelled.”

My father was quite generous as he packed the meals for me, a huge piece of meat, the stewed egg with the sauces already marinated in, with the fluffy, soft kelp, the soft tofu, filling up the packed lunch box, opening it up, the aroma spread out! The way I pay my father back was eating until there’s NOTHING left in the lunches he’d packed for me.

查看來源圖片the homemade meals, with an added serving of love…not my photo…

The lunches with the stewed items helped me pass through my middle school and high school years, over two thousand lunches. Even as I’d started working, I’d had that craving of stewed items when I ate out, I’d especially enjoyed watching the owner of the shop, fishing out the items from the large pot, that reminded me of my dad, who’d hummed the Chinese opera tunes as he busied himself about the kitchen when I was younger, although he wasn’t so delicate with handling the foods, but, there’s, a lot of warmth, a lot of love that’s packed in what he’d prepared for us.

Many years later, my father died, and on the day he left us, don’t know who it was that handed me this lunch with stewed items told me, “Finish it all, your father will be happy.” At that very moment, I saw my father, working in the kitchens, it’s just, that I can’t see him clearly, through my tears then.查看來源圖片making his son’s school lunch…photo from online…

After my kids started school, the school provided the lunches, and, “looking up at the blackboard, lowering my head toward my packed lunches” became a private memory. From time to time, I’d stewed up a pot of foods, with the rice, to make that packed up stewed lunch come back through time to me again.

And so, you’d, loved how much heart went into your father’s packing your lunches, and, the food tasted so amazing, because of the amount of love that goes into preparing the lunches, that, is what made you savor those memories so very much, it’s not the foods that made you nostalgic, it’s the feelings of love, feeling of how you were, cared for by your father that’s made the foods unforgettable.

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Optics, a Poem

Having someone ELSE there, AT the center of YOUR universe, this, is not going to end well at A-L-L! Translated…

We’d Polished Those Lens

Calculated the Curves of Language

Waited, for a Specific & Destined Time

That Light that Traveled Here from Afar

At that Specific Right Angle

like this, and, you WILL get B-U-R-N-E-D!  Photo from online…

Passed Through Those Layered, Transparent Hearts

Burning Me, in that Void, Suspended

That Combustible Focal Point

So, this, is what it feels like, with someone at the center of universe, because you were, lured in love, and yet, after the love is gone, what will you be LEFT with? Oh yeah, I forgot, UTTER DARKNESS, and you’d become, a sure part, of that darkness, because you’d lived your life around that other individual, and, it’s NEVER good, with someone ELSE at the focal points of your own lives…

The Guerilla Warfare of the Traditional Chinese Buns

To satisfy his own father’s taste buds’ needs, translated…

Dad is NO gourmet expert, but he is, a picky eater. His home was back in Yangzhong, Jiangsu, on the Yangtze River, right in the middle of the Yangtze River; people said, that those who live in the northern side of the river loved foods made with flour, those living in the south loved rice, my father, being right in the middle, enjoyed both.

Of the flour made foods, my father especially loved the plain buns, preferring the plain, unsweetened, handmade Chinese traditional buns. My mother was born in Taiwan, cooking the rice, the noodles were, no problem for her, but she can’t make the buns, and so, my father can only, “seek elsewhere”, whenever someone said that there are delicious handmade buns, no matter how far away, he’d made the trips, he’d trekked all over Younghe, Muzha, and Hsintien. And yet, there are, only, the limited few that managed to make their ways into his mouth, and as he’d bumped into the buns that were tasty, he’d definitely buy them in bulk, and would start eating on the drive home.老爸不是美食家,卻十分挑食。他的老家在江蘇揚中,顧名思義就是揚子江,也就是長江的...illustration from the papers online…

There’s the common thread of all the shops that he’d bought the buns from, the owners were all elderly folks, and would take days off because of their health, and, ended up, going out of business, because there are no younger generations who are willing to, carry on the skill sets. And so, these years, my father became like a guerrilla war fighter, looking for the shops that made the buns that fitted to his taste buds.

One Sunday morn as he went out on his exercises, I’d found a van parked, by the side of a nearby elementary school, with a long line by it, those standing in line were ALL elderly folks, and, it’d carried my father’s favorite, plain buns. After I’d talked to the neighbors, I’d learned, that the owner would show up on Sunday mornings, but because the supply couldn’t match the demands, those who got there late normally went home emptyhanded. The very next week, I got up real early, went there, and, holy, there were, over a dozen people standing before me in the line already! Thankfully, they’d only bought a few, when it came my turn, there are, still some left. In the end, I went home with ten plain Chinese traditional buns, then, I’d, driven them to my dad.

He’d steamed one up that very evening, and said it was cheap and tasty, and ever since, standing in line once every other week became my way of showing him my love. With the weather getting warmer, I’d driven instead of walked to the cart, and one day, I’d received a ticket for parking on the red lines, and, the buns for that day was, super expensive, after I’d calculated in the fines.

Here’s that freshly steamed buns, photo from online…查看來源圖片here’s half a dozen…

One day as I drove past Jingshan S. Road, saw a sign with “Handmade Buns”. I’d searched the shop’s name online as I got home, and learned that the shop owner of this place also produced handmade buns, although it’s, a bit pricy, but the good thing is that it has longer hours, I can go there anytime. The very next day, I’d brought some to dad, and he’d nodded in approval, and I’m more than glad, that in this guerrilla warfare with the Chinese traditional buns, I temporarily, won!

So, this, is the act of love this individual showed to his own father, he knew that his father loved this food, and, found a shop that provided it, and, he’d, gotten his father’s approval for this brand new place that made these traditional Chinese buns.

My Grandmother’s Tears

The strengths of a mother, in the love for her own son who’d escaped from China for a better life, translated…

She’d Hidden Her Tears So Very Well, Talking to Her Son in His Forties, Whom She Hadn’t Seen Since His Mid-Teens, I’m More than Certain, that It’s Not She Didn’t Cry, But that Her Tears Run Dry………

She’d NEVER Cried a Single Tear in Front of Anyone

That, was a voice they’d waited a lifetime to hear: “Eldest brother, it’s me, Shenling, this time when the eldest sister-in-law came to visit, she’d brought home a ton of gifts and money, we all missed you very much, and hope that next time………”, “Eldest uncle, it’s me, Red………(sob), the followed by the baritone voice, “Ming, when you have days off, do remember to bring the kids home to visit us all.”

Nearly twenty, young and old, men and women, including the nephews that my father never even met, and the only one who’d maintained the stature was my paternal grandmother. She is eighty-five years old, a life-long smoker, didn’t need her glasses as she threaded the needles. She managed to hide her tears so well, talking to her son who’d left home when he was just fifteen, and not seen for forty years on end, I’m more than certain, that it’s not she hadn’t cried, but her tears already, ran dry already.

My father was born in the beautiful, mountainous Guanxi, born in 1927, he was just in time, for the two turbulences of his time, at age fifteen, during the winters, he’d gone to Liouzhou with a classmate, to answer the calls of Chairman Chiang’s “A hundred thousand youth soldiers”. Just as he’d enlisted, as they were on their returns home, his two friends missed home a lot, planned to call home, and think about enlisting, my father recalled what my grandmother told him, “Ming, there’s nothing we can give to you at home, the only thing I’m proud of was that you’d taken the sturdy mind, and the determinations to weather through the hardships of your life. Remember, no matter where you go, you must, make your families proud.” But, enlisting is a road with no returns, he’s already on his way, he shall not make haste. And yet, for a young teen of only fifteen who’s never left home, the day of homecoming is the day of victory, this seemed, a bit, cruel. My father’s tears were dried up by the years, and, waited for forty whole years for his homecoming.她從未在人前掉過一滴眼淚那是等待多年的聲音:「大哥,我是顯林,這次大嫂回來帶...illustration from the papers…

My father was once my grandmother’s good helper, every day after school, he’d gone to chop up the firewood, and rushed before the supper time, hauled the firewood down the mountains to sell, and even if a bundle only went for ten cents. As my grandfather failed in his business venture, he’d vanished too. My grandmother sewed the shoes, raised chickens, tended her vegetable gardens…………but in that era, where it’d become hard for everybody to fend for her/himself, the smaller businesses didn’t last, and, they’d needed to go around the neighborhoods, to beg for a handout to keep the families fed. But, my paternal grandmother never shed a single tear.

Sewing Her Nostalgia, as Well as Her Tears, into the Handmade Shoes for Her Son

My older cousin, because he’s the eldest grandson, he’d gotten to spend most of the time with grandmother, knowing that she’d owned a treasure chest, that she’d taken out and cried to nightly, especially to a photo inside, every time she’d stared at it, she’d always ended up crying. She’d cried so very hard, over the son she’d declared was dead in front of everybody in the villages. Some asked her to erect a tombstone to prove it, “having the parents burying their offspring is already an act against filial piety, why must I announce it to the world?”, then, she’d taken off the stick that bunned her hair up, claimed that she shall kill herself in ramming her head into a tree, thankfully, someone stopped her from it. The villagers pulled back my grandmother who was in tears, and my father was relieved of the curse of being “buried in an empty grave” too.

I’m sure that what saddened my grandmother more, was how easily she’d put on an act, but how hard it was for her to find her son back. That man whom she’d carried inside of her for ten months, the one who’s closest to her heart, her eldest, is he, still alive? She’d hoped, that he would have arrived at the other side of the straits, and living his life now.

The days that followed, at dawn, my grandmother would head up the hills, started tilling up the land, planted the taro, the chestnuts, the yams………carried her homegrown produces down the mountains to sell, the roads were paved with sharpened pebbles, and they’d cut through the soles of her shoes, it’d made her bleed. And, that land wasn’t fit for planting, didn’t give her nearly fifty percent of returns, and, even as the harvest came, the thieves would harvest away all the produce overnight. She’d sighed toward the skies, but never felt defeated. For the sake of her family, she was willing to, walk on the roughest roads. Every evening as night came, she’d worked hard, sewing up the shoes, and every year, she’s always made an extra pair and put it into her treasure chest, that handmade shoes, she’d used her memories, draw and redrawn, altered, then dissembled, she’d managed to sew her own nostalgia for her son into the pairs of silky soft shoes.查看來源圖片homecoming, not my photograph…

Forty years flew by, my grandmother who’d waited for almost half a century managed to get herself up, although she’d lost the support from her husband, and she managed to stand erect and tall in the cannons, and faced the trials of getting hit by the bullets at anytime; even that one of her child is missing, she stayed strong, for all the other offspring who’d needed her.

 

The waiting for an entire lifetime came to an end the price was: my grandfather died in an unmarked grave, my third uncle died of consumption. And yet, if the past decades were call the darkness of night, then, my grandmother’s steady and stable voice, will be that rising sun, out of the horizons over the seas, I suppose.

So, this, is how much a mother missed her son, and, she’d allowed him to go away, because there was NO future for him back home, and she knew, that by sending him away was the only way he could live on, and that, was why this woman sent her own son off, despite how much she’d wanted to keep him by her side. The love of a mother is still, the strongest thing in the world here.

Tear Drops on That Note…

Teardrops on that note, smearing it all out, everything became a total blur…

Teardrops on that note, that note’s been, damaged with water, just look at the washed-off ink stains from the writing. You’d cried your tears, repeatedly, onto those hard-on-your-heart words of his, hadn’t you? So, why don’t you, throw out that ruined note, huh? Because you enjoy a good, old-fashioned torture, is that it???

Teardrops on that note, stop looking at it, it’d become, that awful reminder, of how love could’ve been, but it wasn’t, was it? And, by keeping that note close to your heart, you’re, allowing it, to tear you up inside.

like this???  From online…

Teardrops on that note, dried, and cried, again, again, again, again, again (you get the picture, don’t you???), and it’s still not quite near end yet. Teardrops on that note, and still, you can’t bring yourself, to toss that broken heart out, ‘cuz you wanted to remember, how he’d, hurt you, how you were, betrayed by love, so, you won’t, get betrayed by love again!

Teardrops on that note, that hard goodbye that came too soon, but, if it didn’t come when it had, would you be where you currently are? No you won’t! So, you still won, you grew up, out of that broken state already, hadn’t you, and now, those tear smeared markings serve as a reminder………

查看來源圖片or this???  Found online…

 

 

 

 

Thoughts Just, Drifted Back to You…

Thoughts just, drifted back to you, time and time again, I KNOW I want to, lose you, completely, and been working on that, but hadn’t proven, successful yet…

Thoughts just, drifted, back to you for some unknown reasons, perhaps, it’s my heart, or maybe, even my body, that’s not yet, ready, to let you go, who knows?

Thoughts just, drifted, back to you, again, and again, and day and night, the memories of you would come attacking me, and, I’d taken out that sword, to FIGHT you, and, I never win!

like this???  not my photograph…

Thoughts just, drifted back to you again, in this house, full of all the memories of our better days, not so good ones together, but, at least, back then, we still, “had” each other.  Just didn’t know when, we’d, started, drifting apart is the thing…

Thoughts just, drifted, back to you again, and, I’d had it, I’m going to need something very strong (the strongest whiskey, bourbon, or whatever won’t do anymore, tried them all already!), to kick you out of my mind, or to knock me out, so my thoughts don’t, drift back to you anymore, at least, for a little while……………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peeking

Having a residence that’s welcoming to the animals and critters of the wild, these are, some of the wonderful encounters that the people had, translated…

I’d suddenly discovered, that a mother Chinese bulbul was sitting on her nest full of eggs outside my daughter’s window, I’d called out anxiously in a lowered voice, “Dad, this will be trouble!  The house is faced toward the west, and, the baby birds will get totally cooked!”

My husband came over and looked, said in a concerned voice, “Yeah, how can the mother select a place to nest so carelessly?  She should’ve considered the daytime, the nighttime, as well as the rainy days too……”

There’s this nest of “new residents”, our two girls have something to busy about now, my eldest, with her binoculars around her neck, close to her eyes, stood outside her bedroom, changed the lens focus, constantly concerned about the goings on of the nests and the baby birds: there are, two completely red, completely bald baby birds; three little yellow beaks; the furry baby birds were all squished together, they’re so cute……..”

My second daughter worried about the mom and the dad, having to constantly get the food to feed their young, and the babies never seemed to be full, she’d called out, “mom, chop up some fruit, to feed it to them, why don’t you?” in a moment, she’d started worrying about the nest being rained on, then, she’d worried about the babies falling off, and just kept ranting incessantly.

finding soemthing like this surely would be a surprise…not my photograph…

I’d not have the time, to birdwatch with them, hung up the laundry in the back, then suddenly, I was, startled, by a dark shadow, with the calls, it was, a bulbul, with red fruits, and, out of its throat, it’d still made that sound, to shoo me away; and another bulbul came, in protest towards me quickly too, and so, I can only, make my escape into the bedrooms.

Or perhaps, it’s, the breeding season for the bulbuls, early in the morning, I’d heard the raucous outside my window, I’d lifted my head and looked outward, the two bulbuls were, trying to chase the flock of sparrows away, and that was when I realized, that the trees planted on the rooftops had the bulbuls flying to and fro, getting the foods.  As I’d just pulled the screen door open, the bulbul started sounding of its warning to me, flapped its wings, ready for combat.  After I’d observed, I’d found two nests in the five trees, and, I was wondering, if they were leftovers from last year, or new ones from this.

One afternoon, the daddy and mommy birds were chirping so loud on our lanai, flying in and out of our place, like they’re, grilling us, so loud.  I’d used the binoculars to look, the nest was empty now, and, the baby birds were nowhere to be seen.  Seeing how the parents were flying all over flustered, and, the calls were more distant now, and, as my foot just got out the back, they’d rushed towards me again.  Weird, where were they hiding, watching my every move?  Is this, a payback, for my peeking at them earlier?  And, as the skies grew darker, the noises from the birds, finally, died down.

baby birds hatching 的圖片結果okay, I’m out of my shell, now where’s my food???  Photo from online…

The very next day, as the day just turned light, the mother bird started calling out to her babies, chirped endlessly, I’d heard the sounds like crickets, called back, weakly, apparently, the babies had, fallen to the rain roof close by, but, I knew, that I’m still, being closely watched by the parents, that I shouldn’t just, set foot outside.

I’d walked to the garden on the roof, and thought I’d, see what’s happening with the other bulbul family.  My!  Two larger magpies stood on the ends of the stems, and, started, pecking down at the nest, ignored the worried parents.  I’d rushed toward the gardens, “Shoooooooooo!  Away!”, I’d called out angrily, with my arms waving, to try to chase the intruders out.

The magpies usually would only stay at the water tower opposite from our building, why did they start, looking at the bulbul nests in the garden too?

My husband picked up a hose, and said, “Welcome them all, to the garden to nest, my garden is the best “green residence”, these birds surely are amazing, in selecting the spot here.”

So, this building must be very green (environmentally friendly), for all the birds to want to nest there, and, this, is just one of the many wonders of life, that one encounters, if we’re paying close attention to what’s going on in nature, we will find these small surprises from day to day.