The Story of My Father (2) 我的父親(2)

The Story of My Father (2) 我的父親(2)

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My father had some private schooling when he was young.  When he was older, he had to attend school, which was very far from home. Every day, he needed to finish all his homework at school, as his time after school belonged to family duties, including weaving a certain amount of fabric, which was to be sold at a farmers’ market every ten to fifteen days.

父親小時候念過一點私塾,後來到離家很遠的地方上學,每天自己背著乾糧當午飯,作業必須在學校做完,回家後所有的時間都得用來幫家裡幹活。每一個「場」,他還要編出一「個」布去賣。

四川人把去集市叫作「趕場」,農村似乎是十天半月就趕一次場。但我至今也不太清楚「一個布」到底是多少,小時候沒問過父親。

When he became a teenager, my father insisted on going to the capital city of the county to study. My grandmother didn’t want him to go, as he was much needed at home.  She figured: if we find him a wife and get him married, he would then stay, become a strong farmer for the family, and then raise his own children to carry on the family line.

父親十幾歲時,執意要去縣城讀書。奶奶不想讓他去,因為家裡需要他,所以就給他說了一門親,想讓他早點結婚,好留在家裡傳宗接代,充當壯勞力。

Therefore, they managed to find a girl for him. When he went on an arranged blind date, my father saw that the girl had a “pig-belly” shaped face, and instantly disliked her. With much determination, he refused this marriage arrangement; and overtook many difficulties before he was finally able to go to the capital city, where he eventually met my mother.

父親說,相親時,看到對方是個長著「豬肚子臉」的女孩子,他一點都不喜歡,因此斷然拒絕,再後來還是克服萬難去縣城求學,並在那裡遇到我母親。

When my father told me this story, there was always an unnoticeable trace of contempt on his face. I always thought to myself: How lucky! If father had married that “pig-belly” faced woman, wouldn’t he have been “trapped” in the countryside? If that were the case, there would have never been such a person as me in this world.  Therefore, I have never thought highly of anybody who had a “pig-belly” shaped face, no matter how others praised her for being beautiful.

父親每次說到「豬肚子臉」時,都帶著一絲絲的鄙夷;而我總是想:好險!還好爸爸沒跟那個「豬肚子臉」成家,不然豈不永遠「淪陷」在農村?而且這個世界上也就永遠不會有我了。所以自此不管哪個女孩子、女明星再漂亮,但只要她的臉型是「豬肚子臉」,一定遭到我的「唾棄」。

However, I had never figured out: as a mere teenager, why my father could be so determined about gaining more education when the entire family was against this.

不過我始終沒有搞懂:在家裡壓根就不支持父親上學的情況下,他作為一個十幾歲的小小少年,怎樣就能「自動」的這麼勵志呢?

My mother later told me that my father was the eldest student in his class. As a fourth grader at the elementary school, he was already 18 years old.  He studied very hard and showed various talents in different areas.  He was good at singing, playing musical instruments, basketball, swimming, calligraphy and writing.  The essays he wrote were spread amongst the students in the entire county as good examples; and my mother had also read them in school. So, my father was quite a figure even then!

聽母親說,父親到了縣城後,是班裡年齡最大的學生,十八歲才上「高小」(小學四年級)。但他非常勤奮,也很有才,吹拉彈唱,打球游泳樣樣來得,寫得一手好字,文章也很漂亮。他的作文,曾在全縣被當作範文,母親也學習過,父親因此在縣城裡小有名氣呢!

(To be continued 待續)

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In the 1990s’, I revisited my relatives who still lived in the village. The old family house remained unchanged. 1990年代,我再次回到老家,土墻屋依然是舊時模樣。

In the 1990s’, I revisited my relatives who still lived in the village. The old family house remained unchanged. 1990年代,我再次回到老家,土墻屋依然是舊時模樣。

The Story of My Father (3) 我的父親(3)

The Story of My Father (3) 我的父親(3)

The Story of My Father (1) 我的父親 (1)

The Story of My Father (1) 我的父親 (1)