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First Part of My Family Tale (standard:Creative non-fiction, 4598 words)
Author: Mookoo LiangAdded: Feb 14 2006Views/Reads: 2456/1709Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
As the title indicates, this is the first part of my family tale, very true and very personal. I hope you'll like it.

First Part of My Family Tale 

by Mookoo Liang 

==== I ==== 

When dad and I arrived at our "old house," a little cottage located half
way up the mountain, both he and I were somewhat excited. I had not 
come back here in a few months, so I was longing to see it again. But 
dad visited this place almost every day; working on the land 
surrounding the cottage was just the same old familiar routine for him. 
Could he be excited too? 

Perhaps he was not really excited. Yet obviously he was very pleased
about my idea (and act!) of visiting the old cottage again that 
afternoon. When I said I missed our "old home" very much and asked if 
he would like to go together with me, dad said "Let's go!" immediately. 

Dad couldn't care less for the old cottage, the land surrounding it, and
all the plants he grew over there. His fondness for those things was 
expressed in his eyes, and I noticed it while we both were walking 
across one of the terraced fields. 

The terraced fields were originally created for growing rice. Now rice
became rather cheap, and dad was over seventy --- too old to grow rice. 
These level fields were also used for growing bananas, grapefruits, and 
betel nuts, just like some sloping fields on the hillside. 

We walked and talked in a leisurely way. Dad suddenly stopped, pointed
to a banana tree with some brown leaves, and sighed, "It's very odd 
that recently banana trees are dying one after another. That must be a 
new type of disease that the chemicals fail to deal with." 

He explained to me why he had to substitute something else for the
diseased bananas. If he planted a new banana in the very same spot 
where a banana had been killed by disease, that new tree would be 
infected and die soon. "Mostly I would put a betel nut in the place," 
dad added. "I'm getting old and weak. Growing betel nuts involves less 

For quite a few moments neither dad nor I spoke. I thought of the fact
that, in order to have a better job, all his children had already moved 
out of this mountainous area. Even dad and mom lived in a new house 
several kilometers away from this single and solitary cottage, so that 
they could obtain, as his children suggested, some next-door neighbors. 

Standing in the shade of trees, I watched dad cutting off brown banana
leaves. He was adept at using a banana knife, which he usually hid 
somewhere in the field after work. And right in the middle of the 
field, dad had previously set up a garden sprinkler --- by tying a 
revolving tap at the top of a bamboo pole. He walked toward the pole 
and moved it a little further to water more betel nut seedlings. His 
blue shirt was partly wet now, as I could see, with more sweat than 

I looked around for anything else that I would have missed so much. The
rugged mountains with different kinds of trees gave me a vivid picture, 
so familiar and so special, so amazing and so meaningful. Such a 
landscape could be seen from various "standpoints." To get more "good 
views," I moved around and looked in different directions. As I turned 
to the west, I noticed that the sun was sinking. Is the daytime always 
shorter in the mountains? I looked at dad again. He had stopped working 
and was walking toward me. 

"Dad," I called out. "Why not take a rest?" 

"No problem." 

"You must have spent a lot of time working here. In these and those
fields, fruit trees are tall and weeds are few. How could you make it, 
dad? You have even set up such a perfect piping system!" 

"Oh! No water, no crops. Like vegetables, some fruit trees need special

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