Chinese New Year is coming on February 19th. It’s the year of the goat. I’m thinking of my roots, where I come from. I have travelled away far and a long time from my homeland. It resides still in my heart.
I’m remembering our house in the village. It was built with money my grandfather sent from Gold Mountain. It was two storied with a cupula on top. I loved climbing up the stairs and emerging from it to play on the roof. It was where I saw my ghosts. My mother told me they were our ancestors and no need to be afraid.
I have memories of chasing chickens around the courtyard. Our house was big, being a Gold Mountain house. We lived in one half and my grandfather’s brother’s family lived in the other half. We were a household of women and children. The men were over- seas working and sending money home. The only adult man is the household was my grandfather’s brother. That’s how it was. We sustained and supported each other.
Down the lane was another Gold Mountain house. My grandfather’s other two brothers’ families lived there. Just like us, they were a household of women and children. We were all overseered by my grandfather’s one brother. But in reality, it was the women who took care of him.
Close to Chinese New Year, memories of New Year’s Eve come to me. I am snug in my bed of wooden planks and a wooden block for a pillow. I don’t recall the hardness or the discomfort of such a bed. But being in winter, it was probably lined with a quilt. In my mind’s eye, I see the flames as the women tended the fire through the night to cook the pastries for the celebration. I feel such contentment and security. That memory is such a blessing to have. It nourishes me through all of life.
So here’s an early toast to the year of the goat. Gong Hee Fat Choy!