A-Kong 思念阿公簡如詳長老(楊詩恩)

 

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楊詩恩 (Stephanie Yang) 撰 「思念阿公」 英文 2018年月日寫。撰者是 簡如翔長老Ju-siang Chien, 1930-2018)的大孫女。父親楊啟泰長老。母親簡英嬪是簡如詳長老 的長女。  

My name is Stephanie. I am Akongs eldest grandchild. I am 26 years old.
My parents do not eat raw fish . Therefore, for the longest time, I* did not eat raw fish. Probably because they always looked slimy and gross, and fish are supposed to be cooked and drowned in teriyaki sauce. However, Akong. LOVES. raw fish. When I was growing up, whenever we ate out with Akong and Ama, we would go to a Japanese restaurant, and he would get the boat. Sashimi combo deluxe. One day, must have been late high school or early college, I sat next to him and one of these boats. And anyone who's ever sat next to him during a meal knows what happened next. You sit next to him during a meal, you end up with extra food on your plate. He plopped a piece of sashimi onto my plate, and asked: "Li ga bo? Li gam ga jia?" // "Do you dare? Do you have the guts?". I remember staring at this slimy, squishy, uncooked piece of meat, and wanting to impress my Akong. Today I'm now pleased to report that I can happily sit down at a sushi buffet, order 50 pieces of salmon sashimi, eat it all, and order more. So thank you, Akong, for giving me the courage to try delicious sashimi.
Akong loved gardening. His front yard was always filled with carnations, peonies, violets, and tulips. Especially tulips. So many tulips. We also had gourds, vines, tomatoes, and other less attractive plants growing on those green stems in the backyard. AND, his passion for gardening could not be contained in one yard. When my family lived in Bayside in the 90's, we would sometimes come home to see a stray bag of fertilizer in our yard and freshly weeded, dug up soil, and go, yep, Akong came by while we were gone. And in the spring, our front yards would be minefields of pollen. I have vivid memories of visiting Akong, pulling up the the front door, and seeing his beautiful garden . My mom would always sit in the car, brace herself, then run through the yard to get inside where it was safe. Our yard has been a little barren for awhile now, but I still think of my Akong when I see tulips, or see one of those giant sashimi boats.
In his last few years, he had been having trouble walking, which was difficult for a free spirit like him. Then, I remember the time we took him to Target on Black Friday, and they had those moped scooter shopping carts. I remember how happy it made him, zooming up and down the aisle, no cane, no walker, no babysitter, reaching speeds he hadn't in ages. I think of him when I play badminton, whenever I see a red lobster, and when I play hymns on the piano. He was always so proud of us, of all his grandkids. "Dwa ho Akong tia", he would say. Learned to do butterfly stroke in summer camp? "Shiu ho Akong kwa." Show me. And he would applaud, and tell us how proud he was, and how he loved us the most.
In his final years, when he was bedridden, he'd ask how old we were. "Hi Akong”, "How old?" "I'm twenty four." "Akong ai li”. "Hi Akong”, "How old?" "I'm twenty five.” "Akong ai li”. "Hi Akong”, "How old?" "I'm twenty Six.” "Akong ai li”. Next year, I will not get to tell him that I am 27. And there is so much more in my life that I wanted to show him. So I will settle for remembering him, how he would have wanted to be remembered.For remembering his love for good food, and good friends. For remembering his love for God, music, and the church. For remembering his unconditional love and stubborn generosity. For remembering how much he loved his family, and watching his grandkids play, me, Vivi, Caca, Bensuke, Shua, Rebebe, Caybu, and Ethanyo. And one day, we will see him again. And when we do, I believe that he is at peace now, whole, healthy, and happy. And if he were here now, he would grab your hand, pull you in close, pat you on the butt, and take a napkin out of his pocket to wipe your tears away, and say, Akong loves you. How old? Good bye, Akong. I am 26 years old. Wa ai li. Stephanie 2018-12  

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