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The Words Written to Father (写给父亲的话)

BY GERALD GAO - translated from Chinese to English



INTRODUCTION FROM THE AUTHOR

After thousands of years and many generations of accumulating wisdom and creation, countless traditions have been left. These traditions have been ingrained in my heart. It is something that is passed down, it is a belief, and it is a celebration. It’s the power that has fused the family together. April 21 is my father’s birthday. Because my mother accompanied my brother and me to the U.S. for our education, my father was alone in China managing his company. Our family had to live apart. My grandpa passed away last year. So, this year was a year of growth for our family. On my father’s birthday, I wrote this letter to him recalling the past and wishing him a happy life. I hope these traditions that I mention in this piece will continue to be passed on.


文章介绍

经过几千年的积累和沉淀,无数代人的智慧与创造,留下了数不胜数的传统。而这些传统文化也渐渐变成了我们心中必不可少的东西。它是一种传递,一种信念,一种喜悦,更是一种能够凝聚家庭的力量。4月21日是我爸爸的生日,因为妈妈带着我和我弟弟今年来到了美国上学,爸爸又要管理在中国的公司,所以我们家不得不暂时的分开。而我的爷爷在去年也不幸去世了,因此今年对我们全家人来说是成长的一年。我在爸爸生日之际写下了给爸爸的这封信,在回忆过去的往事同时,祝愿爸爸能在未来的生活里依然充满活力,也希望这些传统能继续下去。


Dear Dad,


Happy birthday and stay healthy!


Today is your birthday, a special birthday. I have grown one year bigger; you have become one year older. No matter where we are, whether it be far away in the US or nearby in China, I can always hear your voice and your warmest wishes. In fact, today is a really special birthday, a special year as well. There is no family beside us here in the U.S. keeping us company, no cakes in a homey atmosphere. However, this family atmosphere has not changed whenever we talk to each other by phone. I would consider this year as a “change” for us.


I recall that Chinese New Year’s Eve, Feb. 19th, 2015. Although the day came later in the year than usual, it did not dampen the enthusiasm my brother and I had at all. A week earlier, my brother and I sat in Uncle Liu’s Audi A4 car, holding the red bags of fireworks tightly, as we had for eight years. The warm feeling flowed around me as I stared at the fireworks. I remember the words Uncle Liu said to us every year, “Stop staring! Tomorrow your dad will buy you bigger fireworks, and in a few years you will no longer be so fascinated by the fireworks.” I did not reply and wondered, “How could that happen?What can be compared to my beloved fireworks?” We arrived at the 29th floor, Grandpa’s apartment. I knew Grandpa would be sitting right beside the door, waiting to open it for us, as he did every day we came home. As always, as soon as I pressed the doorbell, Grandpa opened the door. Grandpa took the fireworks and said, “You buy this every year! As soon as we light them, they’ll be gone! Isn’t this the same as burning money?” Grandma would always be in the kitchen, busy preparing our delicious meal. When I walked in, Grandma would always walk out from the kitchen with small, light steps and say, “Dong Dong, you finally came back! Is there any good news today?” The delicious meal came out right after. At that moment, I felt like I was the happiest person in the world!



Dad! Do you still remember the pairs of Spring Festival Couplets (poetic couplets of calligraphy written with either black or gold ink onto red paper that express a fresh start in life and a new spring)? Remember the sticks of incense? The delicious fruit, the sounds of every kowtow (a Chinese custom involving kneeling and bowing with head to the ground in deep respect), the many blessing words we received, and the red envelopes (a Chinese New Year tradition in which parents, grandparents, and others gift kids a red envelope filled with money) that excited me? Of course, there was KFC, the special lunch we always had near New Year's Eve that has been one of our family traditions for nearly eight years. Every year, Dad, you would take us to Yamai (the old house we were living in) and our factory to paste the character of Fu (luck) onto the door. Every year, we ignited firecrackers in the factory. Mom would offer incense to Buddha. We always brewed a pot of jasmine tea with a fresh fragrance, and you would smoke a cigar. The exact same tradition was performed every year. After a 40-minute drive home, the lively atmosphere consisted of all 13 people, all loud and happy. Grandma was making dumplings with my aunts in the inner bedroom. Grandpa was talking about all kinds of things with my uncles on the living room sofa next to the tea desk. Cousin Lin was just hanging out and playing chess games with my brother and me. Nothing could be better than this, accompanied by the sound of firecrackers outside. When Grandma called out “Time for dumplings!”, the dumplings, right out of the first pot would be filled with gold and silver coins. We were waiting to see who would be the lucky ones biting into the coin-filled dumplings first. Among the laughter and happy conversations was the voice of Grandpa. “My Dong Dong! This is not called a festival, this is called the New Year atmosphere!”


When I heard my young voice from a video recording, I suddenly understood: I will never be able to go back. Time is gone, completely and forever. These scenes may never be seen again. "Maybe I did grow up!"


I just want to cherish the present, cherish every moment. Cherish the loved ones around me. This special birthday is also a year that has brought about many changes. I wrote this short letter to you to raise the memory of our family and wish you a future full of vitality and energy, and a happy mood to support our big family tree.


You are the tree of our family, Dad, do you remember? We love you ❤️




敬爱的爸爸:

祝您生日快乐身体健康

今天是你的生日,一个特别的生日。我长大了一岁,老爸就又老了一岁。无论何时何地,无论是在遥远的美国,还是在时间颠倒的地方,都总能听到爸爸的声音和祝福。实话讲,这是一个非常特殊的一个生日,也是特别的一年。没有亲人的贴身陪伴,没有捧上桌的家味蛋糕。但是,家里的气氛丝毫不减。今年是“改变”,回想起:

那年除夕夜,2月19日。虽说这节日相比于往年来的晚了些,但它丝毫没有减弱我的热情。头一个星期,我和弟弟坐着刘大爷那坐了八年的奥迪A4回到了家,手里拿着一袋一袋的红塑料袋(鞭)心里涌着一股暖暖的气息。我记得刘大爷每年都会对我们哥俩说:“明天你爸会给你们买大个的礼花,再过几年就没这劲儿喽!”我心想怎么可能,什么也比不了我对鞭炮的喜爱。到了29楼,爷爷永远坐在餐桌旁的椅子上等待着我。所以我刚按铃就开门了。爷爷顺手接过了爆竹并说:“每年都买些这玩意儿,一点火儿就没了,这不烧钱么?”奶奶永远都在厨房准备着一道道美食,小碎步的走了出来,“冬冬回来了(liao),今天有没有什么好消息?”那一刻,我感觉我是全世界最幸福的人。

还记得那一幅幅春联吗?还记得那一支支香吗?那诱人的水果,一声声响头,一句句祝福,以及那高兴的不得了的红包。当然,少不了仅次于除夕宴的传统节目中午饭—肯德基。每年年三十,爸爸都要带着我们去亚麦和工厂贴福字,每年都要在工厂放一声声响炮,给我妈妈的韦驮菩萨上柱香,,泡一壶清香的顶级茉莉花茶,爸爸抽一支雪茄。每年都要履行一模一样的传统。开了40分钟的车回家,一进门那感觉就是到了十三口人欢笑的圣地。热热闹闹。奶奶,姑姑和婶婶在里屋和面做饺子,爷爷,叔叔和姑父在客厅茶几的沙发上聊着各种各样的事。琳琳哥哥跟我们玩着游戏,下着棋。没有什么可以比这个更美好了。。。。。。伴着外面鞭炮声,一锅锅香味扑鼻的饺子出锅了。奶奶喊着,“吃饺子了!”刚出锅的饺子总放着金金银银的硬币,看谁先吃到。欢声笑语中也总能听爷爷在不停的念叨着,“俺大冬,那个这个”这不叫节日,这叫年味。

听见录相里我稚嫩的声音,我才恍然明白。我永远回不去了,时间一去不复返了。这些场景真的可能永远都不会再现了。“可能我真的长大了!”

我只想珍惜现在,珍惜现在的每一刻。珍惜身边的亲人。我想这特殊的一个生日,也是改变了很多的一年。我想用这种回忆的方式写下这篇小短文,来反思和祝愿老爸在这一岁仍然充满活力和能量,心情舒畅,并撑起这一片大树。

爸爸,您是我们这个家的大树,您记得吗?我们爱您️ ❤️

长子,

家润

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