|By James Mar|
|My grandfather was a very generous man.
Every time I visited, he gave what he can.
When it came to goodwill, my gung-gung’s mind was set.
His saying was “The more you give, the more you get.”
These feelings came from a desire to please.
The goodies that he gave were mostly Chinese.
I’d often be treated with candy and toys.
He always brought my parents plenty of joys.
From the start, gung-gung would cook up a storm,
He’d do anything to make us feel warm.
“If you’re still hungry, there’s always some more.
Once it’s all gone, I’ll drive out to the store.”
To him, our family was an important thing.
We brought so much happiness, it made him sing.
Grandpa loved to show us old treasures from his past.
There were movies, music, photos; we had a blast.
However, there was a point when I would ignore.
Sometimes, I just didn’t want his stuff anymore.
Maybe it was my culture that got in the way,
The average American life had made me sway.
Yearning for pizza over noodles was a constant tension.
Video games and cartoons competed for my attention.
Although these things made me glad,
It must’ve made gung-gung sad.
My grandfather was facing an unwanted realization.
He was living a time and culture lost to my generation.
I wanted to reach out to him as much as I could.
But he was so Chinese, I wasn’t sure that I should.
American culture has such a unique flavor.
I wondered whether it would gain my grandpa’s favor.
Knowing that his tastes were all so refined,
Would he enjoy the new and the old combined?
So I went to my parents and told them a plan.
“We should invite gung-gung to our house, if we can.”
“Let’s blend two cultures, the east and the west.
Only this time, grandpa will be our guest.”
When the next get together took place, our roles reversed.
We were the host and our hospitality came first.
All three of us sat down to a home cooked meal.
The steak and rice tasted great, we all would feel.
Then we brought out some photos from our own collection.
Everyone looked them over with love and affection.
We saw when I was a baby; all chubby and bound.
And back to the time when my grandma was still around.
Gung-gung held each picture, longing for the past.
“Those were some great times, but they flew by so fast.”
“You can never return to those good old days.
All I have now are pictures to clear up the haze.”
Seeing his expression, I knew how he felt.
It’s hard to accept the loss he was dealt.
“Grandpa, I know you always enjoy the past.
But together we’ll make new memories to last.”
At that point, gung-gung just smiled and shined.
“Life will turn out well, I’m sure we’ll find.”
I never lost sight of those moments we spent.
In the end, I would find out just what he meant.
Yearning for days gone by, precious memories leaving,
Culture and heritage, giving and receiving.
For the love we shared, there’s not one regret.
“Thank you gung-gung, I will never forget.”
|All images © James Mar
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