Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pork Bones Dried Veggie Soup

Drinking the pork bones dried veggie soup that father made for me, I feel deeply moved. I remember one day when I woke up, father was busy fiddling with my broken hot water heater. Busy doing what?  Apparently a few days ago, he had called up a repair and service company and scheduled for a repairman to come over between 1 to 3 pm.

I woke up at 10 am.  Frankly, whenever a stranger comes over to my house, I always feel a bit uncomfortable and will stay in my bedroom. When the stranger leaves, only then will I come out of the room. It is not because I am an artiste, but rather it is a habit acquired since young.  But this time it was obviously not going to work.  And so I told my father I am going to work out, will be back soon.

At the gym, whatever needed to be done, I did. Can’t over exercise now, right? Check the clock, there’s still time so I took a nap in the resting area. When I woke up it was only 12:30 pm. What to do? I had no other place to go to. So, wander around town or go home? I’d much rather go home.

When I got home, it was only about 1 pm. I thought to myself when the repairman arrived, I would just sleep in my older sister’s bedroom. Anyway I like sleeping.  But for now at least before he came, I could move freely in the living room to either watch tv, get on net or maybe chat with father. Actually I’m like my father, don’t say much; but once words given, will always follow through! And so, without conversing much, we leisurely watched tv together.

Father sat properly on one side of the sofa. And me? Like a big, lazy worm, I sprawled on the other side of the sofa.  And so there we were, watching tv;  at times chuckling, at times quiet; at times wondering why the repairman still not here; and at times chatting about family members. And so, the time flew.

At that time, we were watching a Jackie Cheung movie. Suddenly I had this craving for watercress soup. So I asked father, “Can you make watercress soup for me tomorrow?” He smiled and said, “Right now, there’s not a whole lot of watercress for sale and most don’t look good anyway. If it’s good, I’ll buy some.. else dried veggie soup is good too.” Without hesitation, I said, “Fine, so long it’s veggie soup.”

When the doorbell rang, it was already 5:30 pm. He said because his previous water heater repair work was extensive, that’s why he was so late. I did not blame him; on the contrary, I wanted to thank him. Thank him for inadvertently creating this opportunity whereby both my father and I were accorded these leisure moments of warm companionship.

This essay, even as I wrote I was savoring another pork bones dried veggie soup. 
Thank you, father!

Posted 13 February 2009
When I first read this prose essay, it did not stand out among the more profound writings in the book.  In fact, I had completely overlooked it, so unassuming it was with its prosaic style of writing.   It reads like a page off any diary, simply and unpretentiously written, almost innocuous in its chatty style of writing until one reads it with one's heart.   When I read it for a second time, it impressed me differently, how so?  It struck me belatedly that this is in fact an essay written by an adult son who is not afraid to publicly show his love for his dad and to publicly thank him. We, as children, often take our parents for granted, never mind writing an essay to express our gratitude to them.  This particular essay besides indicating that Steven's father makes good soup is also very telling of Steven's own personality. 1)He is a private person. 2)He is a contented homebody who enjoys sleeping. 3)He is a quiet person at home, not given to much small talks.  4)He is like father like son; both men of their words.  5)He is willing to spend time with his father; and appreciates those quiet moments together. 6)He makes simple moments special and meaningful. 7)He is a sentimental person and given to poetic contemplation.

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