A Little Bit About My Dad


I want to write something about my dad, but this whole day there are so many things went through my mind and I had a hard time to decide what to write. I thought I would share with you an excerpt from my novel, Jin-Ling’s Two Left Feet. After all, Jin-Ling’s dad was created based on my dad.

. . .

I take the green onions from the refrigerator and begin to wash and chop them while Dad gets the dough ready. Other than chopping the green onions, making green onion pancakes is a one-man show. I watch Dad skillfully sink his fingers into the dough. His hair is as white as the flour on the table. He sees me watching him. “Next time, you’ll make the pancakes,” he says.

“Sure.” I nod. He’s said that many times in the past, but the only thing he’ll let me do is chop the onions. Flattening the dough is hard work. As soon as Dad lifts the rolling pin up, the dough more or less returns to its previous thickness. “Dad, don’t worry about it,” I say. “Make a thick one.”

“It won’t taste good,” he says, looking somewhat concerned. “You need to learn to be more patient.”

Yeah, right. Guess where I got my genes? Still, this is the deepest conversation Dad and I have ever had and I don’t want it to end. I clear my throat, making sure I get his attention. “Are you happy, Dad?”

What a stupid question! No one asks her dad if he is happy! I guess having a deep conversation with Dad won’t be as easy as I thought.

He lifts his head, staring at the wall, and then buries his hands in another piece of dough. For a while he doesn’t say a word. The silence makes me nervous. Just as I’m ready to redirect the conversation, he says, “Your mom and I work very hard to provide you and Shaw-Ming a good home. If you aren’t happy, I don’t know what else I can do.”

“I’m not talking about me, Dad.” I hold my hands out toward him, palms up. “I’m asking about you.”

He looks puzzled. “Me? Happy? I’ve never thought about it.” He pauses, then says, “I guess I’m happy. I go to work every day to put food on the table. I guess I’m happy, because I’ve done my job.”

Now I’m puzzled. Come to think of it, Mom and Dad never do anything just for fun. They don’t travel, they don’t go to nice restaurants, and they never party.

My parents had sacrificed a lot for their kids. I love them very much. How I wish I could have them back…

Thank you for visiting my blog.


About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in Dad, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to A Little Bit About My Dad

  1. sunsetdragon says:

    Very sweet post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue says:

    Wonderful insight to the values of another generation. Bittersweet, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the story of Jin-Ling’s Two Left Feet, Helen. I like how you tell the story through making the pancake… very moving

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely tribute to your father…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cee Neuner says:

    This is absolutely beautiful Helen. I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jet Eliot says:

    This is truly a lovely story about your father, Helen; you expressed him perfectly. I appreciate what it took to write this…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy says:

    Good morning, Helen. I nominated you for the 3 days, 3 quotes challenge. Would you like to join? Have a great day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mother Hen says:

    This is wonderful! He would be proud to know that he has raised such a gifted story teller…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. seeker says:

    Good question: Are you happy? I bet you they are but just don’t want to show it. Thank you for sharing, Helen.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. treerabold says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your dad.
    Thank you for sharing your love for your parents with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Michael Lai says:

    Your lovely tribute has made recollecting fond memories about my dad who passed away for almost 30 years ago. Thank you, Helen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Michael… not only for reading/commenting on my blog, but bringing my dear parents to me… I am re-charged with love again: the love I have for my parents and their love to me.
      I think you probably agree with me that the generation before us had sacrificed a lot. I admire them a lot.
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael Lai says:

        There is a big contrast in the two generations in terms of living standards, what we have been through etc. I am highly indebted to my parents for what they have done for me. Each day, I couldn’t thank them enough for their selfless sacrifice.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          You said it well, Michael. I cried when I read “樹欲靜而風不止, 子欲養而親不待.” when I was in high school. My uncle was surprised. he said I was too young to understand the poem. Well, that’s say that I understand much more now.
          Take care of yourself. I figure that’s one of the best things we can do for our parents.
          Thanks again.


          • Michael Lai says:

            If you read my blog, you may know that my mom is terminally ill – I hope I can spend more time with her during her final years!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Helen C says:

            Yes, I have read it. From time to time, I wondered how your mom is doing, but as a blog-friend, it’s hard to know what I can say. I am sure you will spend as much as you could with your mom. I know you from reading your blog. 😉


  12. Michael Lai says:

    Just today, we talked, both mom and I thought it is hard to say goodbye to each other. I can only pray that God will give her the grace of a happy death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      If I remember right, you are a religious person. I started studying Buddhism a year and half ago. I have learned that it is important to help the dying person stay in a peaceful mind. Even if we leave religion out of the situation, I tend to agree with westerners’ thinking: celebrate the life instead of feeling sad about the separation.
      Both of my parents passed away suddenly. Every time I heard a friend’s mom or dad was terribly ill, I always thought about what I would do if I were him or her. Maybe bring an old photo and talk about the happy past? If your mom likes art, maybe bring a piece of art to discuss? Maybe bring some of your photos and talk about that?
      It’s not easy. I pray for you and your family for the strength. My email address is: hhw.chen@gmail.com whenever you need someone to talk.


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