Taking Mom to See the Seas

So little, what mothers really wanted, such simple wishes, and yet, it’d, taken this long, for the woman, to finally live it! Translated…

My mother is a traditional woman from an agricultural background, in her mind, there’s only her husband and her children, she’d, worked hard for the sake of her family, she’d often told, that her biggest wish was that all of her children and grandchildren are healthy, and there’s, nothing she’d, wanted.

a photo from the trip they took together…from UDN.com…圖/劉秀芳(高雄三民)

For long, I kept thinking, that my mother had no other hobbies or interests, other than going back home, she’d, never been anywhere else, plus she couldn’t ride a scooter, didn’t know how to take the public transportation systems, her social circle, is only riding her bicycle to the marketplaces to shop around. And we’d believed that it’s her ordinary day-to-day living, never thought about bringing her someplace special.

One day I was sitting by her watching T.V. at home, the T.V. showed the beautiful shorelines, she’d stared at the screen for a very long time, then, asked me, “there’s water by the oceans, right?”, I’d asked her if she wanted to go? She’d nodded her head, timidly, said she’d always wanted to go see the oceans, but we’re, too busy, she’d not felt right, troubling us, and said, that her spirits would be lifted as she sees the oceans.

Ahhhhhhhhhh! This was that story from our schooling years of how mom loved the head of the fish, turns out, our beliefs were, completely, wrong. I’d already, contacted my eldest sister, this Mother’s Day, we’re, taking her to see the oceans, to fulfill her long-time wish, and, whenever we have the time, we’d, all take her to see the oceans now.

And because the past generations of women aren’t like us, so outspoken, they usually, kept what they wish for locked up deep inside their minds, and, every once in a while, they would, toss out these “hints”, hoping that those around them can catch it, and this time, this woman caught it, and, made her mother happy!


The Mangroves at Zhuwei, a Poem

Something that’s, painted, with the words, translated…

The Wetlands

Lying, on the Northern Shores of the Danshui River

Becoming, an Extra-Large Paintbrush

Brushing Across the Horizon

A Few Water Fowls Splashed in

查看來源圖片what the place looks like, photo found online…

The Far End of the Smoky, Mangroves Where the Ocean Meets the River

The Originally Quiet Mangrove Patch

Became Roused Up Suddenly

Focusing the Eyes

I’d Found

The Red Setting Sun on the Canvas

Was, Slowly Sinking Downward

in the Muddy Swamps

查看來源圖片the species of plant that’s found there…photo found online…

the Sketch Artists Were, Picking Up Their Materials

And, Packed in the Sound of the Tides

the Impressions of the Waves, Hitting the Shores

with the Painted, Colorful, Not-Yet-Dried Sunset

into the Bags

with the artists, painting by the river…photo from online…查看來源圖片

This is the importance, of we humans, being just the observers of the nature scenes, to NOT get overly involved into the habitats, to just, stay on the sidelines, and capture what we see with our minds, our paintbrushes, our words…

Sunset on Tuesday, a Poem


Four-Thirty in the Afternoon

The Sun is Dead

The Dark Blue Sky

with a Few Reddened Clouds

Became a Charcoal, Burned to Redness

sunset 的圖片結果the skies, painted red like this…photo from online

This poet had, painted the picturesque of the dying light illuminating from the western skies at sunset with her words, so very vivid…

The Nostalgia Runs Long, Like a Flowing River

His father’s old clothes, as a reminder of the love of his parents, now that his parents are, gone, translated…

It was, a few months after my father-in-law passed away, while we were back home, my mother-in-law sorted through my father-in-law’s clothes, had her sons pick a few, as memorabilia. The rest of his siblings turned it down, said it wasn’t necessary, told my mother-in-law immediately, took back all the clothes for recycling, or donated the items to the needy. My mother-in-law wasn’t willing to, with her sorrowful eyes, looked toward my husband for console, my husband took the clothes from her, like holding something treasured, told her that they’re all very new, and that he shall, keep them to wear. My mother-in-law didn’t say another word, walked back into her bedroom, but, she seemed, to feel comforted by my husband’s actions.

查看來源圖片something this ordinary, with so much sentimental values attached, photo from online…

Actually, my husband was one size larger than my father-in-law, and, those clothes became, too short at the sleeves, the pant legs for him, he’d asked me, to pack all of it up, to bring them home with us, I’d guessed, it was, to help make my mother-in-law feel better!

In a blink of an eye, my mother-in-law had passed on for many years. And, my husband missed his parents more and more by the day, and, as he’d talked of my mother-in-law, he’d felt emotional, recalled all the fun things that happened between him and his mother when he was just a young child, a second ago, he was just, laughing out loud, then, the following, he was, turning his head, quietly, wiping his tears away; as he’d accompanied me to my parents, he’d always looked lost, told me, “I’m so envious of you, still have a mom.” Seeing how I was, helping my mom with something, he’d sighed, on how now he’d wanted to, fulfill his filial piety duties to his parents, he was, no longer able to.

At the start of the year, I’d taken my son to clean out the closets, my son asked where those old clothes came from, I’d mentioned it to him, he’d fallen, silent, I don’t know how much he’d understood about the loss that his dad experienced over losing his parents. On the especially colder days, I’d see my husband, take out my father-in-law’s jacket, and put it over his shirt, and I’d known, he was, missing his dad, putting his old clothes on, it was like, he was, in his father’s arms again; I’m sure, that my mother-in-law was more than thoughtful back then, knew my husband’s mind like a child’s, how he would, long for their love for him.

And so, this, is the kindness that’s, passed from one generation to the next, the husband took his father’s clothes from his mother, to ease her mind, and now, whenever he’d missed his parents, he’d, put on the clothes that was passed down to him from his own father, to reminisce how much love they loved him and he loved them too, and that, is the only thing he could, hold on to, because his parents are, both gone…

Public Telephone

Reading too much into it here! Translated…

There was a public phone by the outside of the bookstore, hung on the walls, like a punctuation mark, and nobody ever comes to use it. In this era where everybody has a cell phone in hand, who will be so nostalgic, and used the public phones to call someone up? Or maybe, it’s for the foreign nurses’ aides pushing the elderly out for a stroll? Or, the younger generation of men and women who call each other up in the middle of the nights?

Nope, none, perhaps? The migrant workers, the members of the younger generation, they ALL have cell phones now.

There were two recycle clothing boxes by the old phone, where everybody would drop their used items in. Because as I moved in, the afternoons were leisurely for me, and I’d often, stared at that public phone, which nobody ever uses, and felt sympathy toward it. There would be passersby outside, and would look at me with curiosity, and I’d wondered, if they feel the pities for me, like I feel the pities for the public phone? Was the secondhand book store too retro, and it’s, right next to the library.

Perhaps, I’d, over interpreted it, the bookstores aren’t as sorrowful as the public phone, and I’d liked to keep on believing optimistically, that this, was the life I’d wanted, and I’d still needed to, set things up in it.

Looking at the public phone, born, in the era of Internet and cell phone, it’s hard for you to imagine, how much emotion had, passed through them. Even Superman changed into his cape inside a phone booth, before he’d, flown up to the skies to save lives.

On the more ordinary occasions, during my years as a student, I’d pretended to go out to buy things, to take out the trash, to use the public telephones to call up my lover, because I’d not wanted my family to spy on me for it. And, the even more nostalgic scene, at the army bases, every time there’s break, the group of men, lined up by the phone, to talk to the ones their hearts belonged to. The phone started disconnecting after three short minutes, no more money left, and, even if there are so many things left unsaid, what’s left, was to say “goodbye”. And, heaven only knows, how difficult the goodbyes really are.

In the era of the public telephones, the nostalgia wasn’t only just elongated, it can also, be measured too.

And now, everything’s happening too fast, too instantly, nobody would write a song for a public telephone, like Joan Baez, because she’d received a call from Bob Dylan, and fallen into that older time, recalling the cufflinks she’d bought for him once, that prodigal son who’d, drifted into her arms once, the loves in the past became forever like the diamonds.

something that looked like this…photo from online…heading into EXTINCTION here…

Or like in the movies, where Andy Lau’s character in the movie, although he’d never imagined the female lead calling him up, but every time he’d passed by a phone booth, he’d stopped for a bit.

And now, probably nobody holds that imagination, expectancy, loss or ecstasy toward the public telephones anymore. Except for me, because there it stood, night AND day, outside of my shop.

One day, I’d finally stood by the public phones, and recalled how a friend I’d missed very much, but had lost in touch because of a misunderstanding, and I’d felt, just like this public phone that’s waiting for the call, but never gets it.

Suddenly, the woman from the homeowner association that lived on the second floor wanted to head up, she’d stared at me who’d become, dumbfounded by the public phone. And so I’d asked her, does anybody use this phone? She said, sure, a lot of people, in fact, Chungwha Telecommunications just came by to replace the machines. Look, it was originally green, and now, it’s blue, isn’t it?

But I’d thought for a long while, and still can’t come up with who uses the public telephones now.

And finally, it’d, dawned on me, in this huge housing complex, perhaps, those who are out forgot their keys and cell phone, and they’d called up their families or the locksmiths. The public telephones are for the sakes of emergencies only, there’s NOT that many emotions attached to them as I thought.

And so, you’re, probably right, there’s NOT that many sentiments attached to the public telephones, and you’d, read too much into it, but that is how we get our inspirations in our day to day living, sometimes, the smallest, barely noticeable things, are what rouses up that strong feeling inside…

With the Children Accompanying on the Trips, Better than the Gourmet Restaurant & the Gifts on Mother’s Day

What our elders really wanted, and yet, do we, give it to them??? From the Newspapers, translated…

From when my parents were still around, on Mother’s Day, we’d often gone to the restaurants to celebrate the occasions, eating and chatting away, very loud, especially when we’d gone to the all-you-can-eat buffets, we’d carried on in conversations, and eaten the foods, it’s so very fun. But, since we’d gotten the unlimited cheap online access, we’d become mutes as we ate, stared at the screens, ignoring each other’s existence, and as we’d gotten older, we don’t eat as much anymore, usually, a plate’s worth of protein, two plates worth of vegetables, that would do it, and so, we’d stopped, wasting the money, to stuff ourselves, and estrange ourselves from one another.

My family loved tiramisu, and so, we’d used the cakes, singing to celebrate the occasion, the cheesecakes, the mango puddings, chocolate mousses, with a wide variety of flavors, sliced to thin slices, and shared with each other. And yet, as my kids started caring more about their looks and gone on diets, the elders had the issues of hypertension, high glucose, high cholesterol, then after the “Happy Birthday” was sung, after we said our well-wishes everybody spread out, the cake became lonely, left, on the tables.

like this???  Photo from online…

And so, as I’d become the best actress, no restaurants, no cakes, I’d chosen to have a family outing, time and place, mine to decide, the kids accompanying by, as company and tour guides, more importantly, the BEST Mother’s Day present, “with children accompanying!”

That time, we’d gone to the Wu Gardens in Tainan, with the reputation of one of the four must-see gardens in Taiwan, and it lived up to the name, underneath that blue sky, the European style building looked even more majestic, the ancient site hadn’t lost its appeals at all, there’s that classic sense of aestheticism all around, the green grasses, the colorful flowers, made us all feel very joyous, there were a lot of people who did their wedding photos here too.

My kids had trekked alongside me, viewing these beautiful nature scenes, I was pleased, with that sense of comfort, and serenity. Nothing, including the gourmet dining experiences, the gifts, can give me satisfaction comparing to what I’d felt, that peace, that fulfillment on that day.

family outing here, photo from online…查看來源圖片

This year, I’d already planned to walk the old streets, or head to the beaches to see the sunset, this is how Mother’s Day should be spent, “with the kids ‘accompanying by’, enjoying the bliss.”

And so, with the coming of age, you’d realized, that the most important on these special occasions is to spend the time with your loved ones, to have your kids around you, and you’d refocused on what is truly important on these holidays and special occasions too.

Time Flew by

The roots were still connected to the past, for now…translated…

My father followed the troops to Taiwan back in 1949, and didn’t return to visit China until 1994, that young man, full of flair, had already been tried by time, gotten turned into a white-haired, elderly man. And it’d been forty-five times, the star-crossed lovers had met up already, and, that “third youngest son” still, never came home.

The childhoods in the army retirement villages were very unique, with the elderly dads, and, the younger moms, it was normal that the men are fifteen to twenty years senior to their wives, and, each of the houses, lacking the grandparents, was considered, a norm. The families who were blessed were very similar, but, the families who had been tried, had an assortment of tales of sorrows—abandoning one’s own wife and young, bidding farewell to the parents, getting separated from the siblings, all of these, were the unspoken secrets of this elder generation who’d lived under this roof.

illustration from the papers online…圖/PPAN

My father who never shed his tears easily, had received a letter one day, and as he’d read on, his eyes turned red, and the tears came, drop by drop, he’d mumbled in a low voice, “mother! My mother!” that was when I’d known, that I had a paternal grandmother too, but my paternal grandfather was murdered during the Chinese Cultural Revolution long ago.

The photo, my paternal grandmother had a black drape over her head, with that look of desperation in her eyes, my father took the photo to the studios to blow it up, and hung it next to the image of Chiang Kai-Shek in our living room, and had a photo of all of us, sent it back home to Hunan, to tell his families in China, his children had started their own families. During those years past, the small stamps carried the endless nostalgic feelings of homesick, from the center of this island, flew to southwest China, and in every house, there was someone who’d hoped to get a letter written back, with each word written with blood and tear, and, the connection of blood couldn’t be separated by the oceans.

That year, my father took my younger sister and I to China, we’d stayed overnight in Hong Kong after the flight, then, stayed in Guangzhou for one evening, then, we took the overnight train to the countryside of Hunan. The scenes that passed us by, was quite different from what we saw here, the excitement from the very first overnight trip on a train soon wore off, my younger sister was sound asleep, but I’d become, annoyed and agitated, asked my father how long will it be until we arrived? My father smiled an unwilling smile, “Young lady, it’d only been one day, and you couldn’t sit still, your dad had waited forty long years………”, my father slept for over 16,000 days, before he was finally allowed to head home, and, he didn’t dare fall asleep now, fearing that it was, all a dream.

As my ninety-year-old grandmother, with the small bound up feet, stumbled toward dad, she was shorter than my chest level. That was when my dad called out, “My mother”, then, got down on his knees, bowed his head at her, and he couldn’t help but cried endlessly. Back then as he’d left home, his mother and newly wedded wife were looking forward to his homecoming, and as they’d waited and waited, they’d both, turned into old women, and the man who’d left home, no longer had the same accent, and his hair turned all white.

The women in the families wore the gold rings and earrings my father brought as gifts, then men received a watch each, and, there were the close relatives and friends who’d traveled the distances, to see dad and “the Taiwanese young child” every single day, my eldest cousin who’s from the same generation as I, already a grandfather, and, at the tender age of twenty-three, I’d received the “title” of a “great aunt”.

My second eldest cousin had made the chicken noodles with the clay pots for my younger sister and I to eat daily, and, the vegetable was the coriander, that was used for flavors here in Taiwan, the smoked meats, the smoked sausages, the smoked fish and smoked bean curd were so tasty we’d wanted to bring them back to Taiwan, the rice wine egg with three eggs in a bowl that my father missed his whole life, his eldest cousin’s wife brought to him every single morn, as for diabetes and high cholesterol, put them aside!

The road home gets closer and closer, my father became older and older, my grandmother is gone, soon, my eldest uncle too, will begone, and one day, my father is to pass on, and afterwards, I won’t find my way back home again………

With each and every member of the previous generations dying off, you won’t have any connections to your past, because that is how it goes, and, that makes you sad, because, after your father’s generation, you’d become, totally, disconnected with your roots, but, at least, you had, followed him back to China to get to know the family members he’d, left behind………