Listening to Pa talking about old times was like sitting down to ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. But unlike Mitch Albom I didn’t ask too many questions. I mostly listened.
Pa is now 91 by the Chinese calendar. These days he is more into counting blessings that we’d all grown up well and leading good lives, each of us owning our own homes and most of our kids having graduated or married.
He said if ever there was one thing he felt unhappy about was the fact that he made us work too hard. He regretted that some of us even hurt ourselves in the course of the work we had to do. For example, our 4th brother lost half his right thumb while chopping vegetables for pig food.
He wished he’d let us have more time for play as much as other kids. But having said that he’s glad we didn’t lose our sense of fun & laughter, judging by the boisterous clowning around whenever we got together during festivals or special family gatherings.
Sure, we had it tough as kids, but it made us tough to face adulthood. I said if we ever had to make a choice, we’d rather have it bitter at the beginning but sweet at the end.
Over the years I realized what Pa had been trying to tell us was that when they lay us in our final resting place we’d still be brothers & sisters looking out for each other.