When driving on the clean and well-maintained highways in the western world, I often miss the dirty and bumpy country roads in my village, which is where I came from. After eating some of the best orgnaic foods that I could afford in America, I still miss everthing I used to eat as a kid, even though not everything was organic. While treating patients in Silicon Valley who spend a fortune for better health, I miss seeing those in my village who have just began to realize that a bottle of Kirkland Fish Oil is far better than a pack of Marlboro... Furthermore, I enjoy visiting my father whom I've always admired and learned from.
Even at age 80, my father always demonstrates that he is still in good shape by jumping up and grabbing onto his self-made monkey bar and doing exercises that many people wouldn't think he had the strength to do. My children would also try after him and were often amazed by their grandpa. He still drinks and smokes just to celebrate another good day of hardwork and to keep himself in high spirits. Compared to others of his age, my father seems like a superman whose appetite has never decreased and he has been doing the same amount of work on the farm for over twenty years. I also recently found out that he has been farming two extra acres abandoned by a neighbor, meanwhile, all his other peers have already given up farming.
I often proudly count the many hats he wears...a builder who built sturdy houses for our family and many others in the village; an artist of Chinese calligraphy who writes banners for Chinese New Year; a Feng Shui practitioner who set my path to the western world when he built our first house 40 years ago; a song writer and singer who performs at birthday and wedding parties; a butcher who used to serve meat to a third of the population in town; a chef who served hundreds of people at celebrations; last but not the least, a true famer who does everything by hand without using modern machines.
Every time I spend a few days with my father I feel stronger, both physically and spiritually. It was such a great moment in life- being in his presence, drinking a couple of beers, eating home grown fuits and vegetables, picking weeds on the corn field under the sunshine, and talking about how he set the record in his twenties of eating 6 foot-long steamed buns (weighing in at about 7 pounds!) after throwing five guys to the ground in wrestling...
He is amazing! I look forward to being amazed by my dad again this summer and bringing back more stories to share with my patients and friends :)
Written by Frank He
Edited by Anna He