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"Alone" Chapter 7

Updated on April 14, 2012
© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection | Source


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 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

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

"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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    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Gypsy... thanks for the visit and the comment. That was some 30 plus years ago the friendship carried on for several years. Chong passed away. The children all grew into successful people. Chin sadly passed away in the early nineties and as far as I know Ping moved back to China to be with her family.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. Love reading your stories and think they would make great shows. Something worthwhile seeing like The Waltons and other in that way. Makes me want to read more every time. Whatever happened to this family do you still visit or know about them?

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Rosemay50... she was rather hard nosed indeed. We grew very close after a few years and I admired because she was such a lady.

      Thanks for following along...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Blossom... Chong and his family were wonderful people who shared all they had with most people who extended to them love and an intrest in them. I was able to watch the children grow for many years into successful citizens because of the love and respect they were afforded at home.

      Hugs again

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Another wonderful telling of a tender chapter in your life. It was so nice to see the turnaround in Chong as she learnt to trust you and know you.

      Thank you for sharing

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I love your stories and you research them so well. This was another lovely one to chalk up. Thank you.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Christy... thanks for the visit and yes Chin and his family were wonderful people and the friendship carried for many years... Glad you enjoyed him... smiles

      Hugs from Alberta

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The Fireside brings another wonderful story. I enjoyed meeting Chin (I feel like I have) and his family.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi lifegate... it is a tough guy thing we are called to do on occasion... I must share with you and the many that it was not easy but it was accomplished.... all in the honour and tradition of my host and his family.

      Hugs from Canada

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      All I can say is I'm glad it was you sitting cross-legged on the floor. i would have never been able to get back up!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Jackie... you and Ardie are fast... I just got this posted and look you have arrived... The custom of taking your shoes off was important to Chin and his family... Such gracious hosts and over the years I have come to learn should you make a friend with and of the people from the Chinese culture you have a friend for life and that is the true blessing...

      Hugs as always Jackie and thank you for following

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Ardie... gosh just blushing here at your comment. I think of Chong as being so much like the many hurting people in the world. She had a very hard life I later learned and we became fast friends. Most of us only need a little love and we carry on in life knowing we are ok... The extra Cookie on the table is all yours... Take the time to enjoy it and rest awhile at the Fireside.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Up and across, a blessed Easter to you. I enjoyed the story of your friend and his family and knew they would love you, bare feet and all.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Rolly, your stories make me laugh, leave me wanting and needing more, and even make me teary-eyed after reading about Chong and her transformation. How could someone not just love you?? Thank you for sharing these chapters of your life.