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"Alone" Chapter 7
What a great day outside. Full sun, birds singing and soon we will be hearing the lawns being prepared followed by the smell of fresh cut grass. I have already been trough all of my Fly Fishing gear and cleaned and lubed the reels and I must tell you someone is ready.
Welcome as always to the "Alone" book series. Thank you for the response you have shown and the encouragement. This book is the second book in the seven book series called Quiet Reflections I have posted on Amazon under my name. If you like slip over and take a peek at http://www.amazon.com/Rolly-A.-Chabot/e/B005HFAYGI or follow the link at the bottom.
Gather around. Help yourself to the fair set out. It is good to have you in my home and please above all make yourself comfortable and take some some deserved rest while you are here. Come along on the next portion of the journey taken many years ago and I do hope you enjoy...
"Alone" The cover
"The Chin Man"
I set aside the next few days for my usual shopping trips. Chin, my little Army and Navy sales clerk, originally from a small, Chinese delta town, was always happy to see me. Dad was also a frequent shopper there and I was pleased to see that he and Chin had struck up a friendship. Long ago Chin had told me a heartbreaking story of how he ended up in Canada. I reminded myself again about the importance of stopping and saying hello to people. I had been coming back to the store for the past nine years and I always insisted Chin wait on me.
Chin had experienced the worst of communist rule in China, had lost many of his family to murder and corruption, barely escaping at an early age. He had to leave his remaining family members behind. It was a great sacrifice for a man of his values and moral fiber. Chin had spoken often of his loneliness during those years. Memories of them were all he had as he sailed away that day toward a new and unknown future. His objective was to make a new life for himself and his family, who would join him as funds and government red tape allowed. “The Lord is my Sheppard” was his constant prayer. “I spent all my waking hours working and saving to be able to bring my family here,” he said. “Work was my life. Now I have my life all around me in my family.”
He had been in Canada for twenty-two years, was married and had three children. He had been able to sponsor his mother, one brother and one sister to leave China and come join him, starting their lives all over. Chin was a success story and a man who was faithful to all whom he accepted into his life. I had been lucky enough to get to know him through these annual shopping trips. No matter what he was doing or whom he was waiting on, when I appeared, he dropped everything. It always amazed me the way the man remembered my sizes.
Chin always greeted me with a hug and great fanfare, using very expressive gestures and broken English that was hard to understand when he got excited.
On this visit I had a special treat for him. I had brought him a gift—a handcrafted moose-hide vest with beautiful bead work with the Yukon flower, the fire-weed on either side. on the front and the back was the head of a moose.
Chin was so excited he ran from one associate to another showing off his new gift. Again the familiar smell of smoke lingered in the air. I realized I was missing home, but I was also caught up in Chin’s excitement. That vest became a treasure for him over the years. I was truly blessed because I got to see his reaction.
He insisted that I come to a traditional Chinese dinner with his family that night. Saying “no” was out of the question. I was not sure what to expect but could not refuse my eager little friend.
As he asked he hesitated and I sensed he was afraid I would refuse. “Food, my house, food and my family, you come North Man, you come.” Nothing more needed saying other than “yes,” followed by a slight bow on his part.
“Good I call wife and mom, they prepare special food for you, and all china food not stuff you eat in Chinese places here. This is real food my friend.” He poked my ribs. “Feed you and make China man from you.” And he laughed over and over.
After I got together my usual large clothes order while being well looked after by Chin, my dad proceeded to load the car. Chin was at our heels, making sure I put his address in a safe place. Seven p.m. was the official time.
Dad and I stopped at a combination sporting goods/hardware store. I bought Johnny his rifle and ammunition and Mino a new set of cast iron pots and pans. I asked they be shipped north to a trucking firm in the Yukon and paid a hefty fee to have it done. There I was finished shopping and glad for it.
Chin lived in the heart of Chinatown in Edmonton in a simple bungalow setting. The entire family was lined up to entertain me, all wearing their traditional clothes, since the visit was indeed a festive occasion. I smiled as I looked at Chin dressed in his expensive silk clothes and wearing his new acquisition, his moose-hide vest. The smell of smoke mingled with the exotic fragrances of the Chinese foods. Chin was the first to greet me and instructed me to remove my shoes, as was the custom. Then he turned and proudly introduced his family.
First came his mother, named Chong, which means loyal. She was a very humble lady but I sensed she was a bit uneasy with a stranger in their home. I knew the story of the hardship she had faced, and realized it would take time to establish a relationship with her.
Next came Chin’s delicate little wife Ping. Her name meant peaceful. She was so small that I would have to be careful not to step on her. Ping was exceptionally beautiful. I could see why Chin was so proud of her.
She had come from China in much the same fashion as he had. I stretched out my hand to shake hers, but the petite woman greeted me with a hug. Blushing as she stepped back and gave a little laugh.
“In our culture, it is a great honor to receive a hug,” Chin explained, “especially from another man’s wife. I think I watch North Man now."
Then he indicated the three children. “Ru is 11. He is my first-born son, and his name means scholar,” Chin said, briefly resting his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “And this is my 10-year-old daughter Qui, whose name means autumn, because she was born in late October.” He smiled at her. “And finally, Xiu, aged nine. Her name means beautiful.”
The name was appropriate, I thought. Xiu was a mirror image of Ping.
Chin was so proud as he introduced each. Tears came to his eyes when he said, “This is my family, my friend.” He insisted on showing me his backyard, a masterpiece made out of his personal love. It was like stepping into his native country—a garden that would make any horticulturist catch his breath. Nothing was out of place; it was balanced in every way, complete with waterfalls and a Koi fishpond. Chin explained in China he had been a prize breeder of these fish and was well known for his knowledge about them and their habits.
As we sat and chatted it was obvious where his constant passion came from. He was a family man, who had a simple love for creation and the balance it shaped in his life. It was easy to see that he had all he needed right there in the middle of the paradise I was beginning to like immensely.
Chong quietly appeared and announced that dinner was ready. We ate at a traditional low table. I knew I would come to regret it, since it meant having to sit cross-legged on the floor.
Chong laughed as she watched me attempt to squat. Well at least I knew she had a sense of humor. I had been placed right beside her and I could not help but wonder how long this night was going to be. She was gracious enough but certainly had a crust around her. She spoke only in Chinese and I noticed that most times Chin translated for me, but not always.
The meal was delicious, with each course served on a different plate. I was not at all that sure of what I was eating, but I enjoyed the food and the company. Much of the food was very colourful, mainly centered on vegetables. Some were spicy, some rather bland tasting but all very filling. At one point Chong passed me a bowl containing something that resembled greens in a sauce. She snickered and Chin frowned at her.
I took a bite of it and the fire that hit my mouth nearly brought tears to my eyes. Chong laughed out loud, watching as I took a second bite and later asked for a second helping. It was Kim Chee and it was very hot. She seemed impressed and her attitude toward me began to change. By the time the meal was over she was chatting up a storm of broken English. The barrier had been broken and the night soon came to a close. I really enjoyed it and was delighted my friend and his family had shared their hospitality.
At the door as I was saying my goodbyes, each member of the family hugged me. Chong approached and I offered her my hand. In return she gave me a hug that lasted some time. As she stepped back she placed both hands in mine and, with tears in her eyes, thanked me for being a friend to her son. I was truly touched by this woman and the change I had seen in her in a few short hours.
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Link to Chapter Six
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