The meaning of hard work, the legacy of love, is what this father had left behind, for his own children, as his children watched him, working hard away, to provide for the family that he loves so much, translated…
As My Father Was Still Living, He’d Worked in the Small-Time Businesses, as I Grew Older, I’d Started, Tagging Along……….
My Father’s Brashly Telling the Families that He Was Switching Careers
Awhile back, due to the side effects of the vaccines, I’d started falling drowsily asleep, and I’d dreamed about my father who’d been gone for all of, forty plus years, and, as I woke, I started missing him a lot.
My father and I are of the same zodiac sign, he’s thirty-six years older than I am, passed at the age of fifty, which meant, he was only by my side, for fourteen short years. When my father was alive, for the sake of household economics, he’d done the odds and ends businesses, and as I grew older, I’d started becoming his, “tag-along”. And now, all the memories of him I have, are of those days I’d gone to work with him.
At around five, or six, my father started selling the pickled, the salted vegetables. He’d gotten himself a cart, placed the assortments of salted vegetables in the cabinets of that tricycle of his, and as the skies turned light, he’d gone out, pushing his cart along, and sold off of the cart on the streets. I wasn’t in preschool then, and I’d gone to work with him from time to time, the streets of early morning is quiet, and there was, only, the two of us, father and daughter.
Once, he’d returned home early, and, his cart had been, emptied, the families wondered how he’d sold everything off so soon? He’d jokingly said, that “there was a rich guy, who bought it all from me.” In truth, it was a day of the typhoons, and the wind flipped the cart over, and, everything shattered, and my father wasn’t able to salvage anything, this showed, how trying the lives of the small-time vendors are.
Not long after I got into elementary years, he’d announced that he was switching to selling the fish paste fried foods. My father said, he had a friend in the business, that he believed, that the key to selling it well, is to have the good soup, with the items in the soups. But, my father told of his trials too, that this friend refused to tell the secrets of what he’d put into the soups to him, as well as the recipe for the dipping sauce.
And, because the soup and the sauce were the keys to the success of fail of the food item, my father would go from time to time, to his friend’s stand to dine, and, bugged this friend of his, to tell him his secret. My father took me there a few times too, and as I was, working on the foods, savoring the soups, he’d gotten busy, trying to get his trade secrets from him, and, secretly jotted down the ingredients for the dipping sauce too.
illustration from UDN.com
After my father got home, he’d experimented continually, and after multiple busts, he’d finally, developed a flavor that he loved, and finally, his business was, up and, running then.
My Father Who’d Set Up the Stands at the Local Market Places, Started Developing His Faithful Clientele
Back then, my parents woke at three, four in the morn, to cook the daikon soup base, using the pork bones, then, with the dried fish pack to add in more flavors, then, made all the dipping sauces on their own, and selected all the ingredients for the soup with care, and finally, made into the best served, tempura.
My father who’d set up shop at the local markets started gaining a set clientele, then, he’d started selling the cold tapioca snacks, which he’d made by himself, and slowly, he’d gotten into making the other foods for his business venture.
During the time, every weekend, I’d gone to help as his cashier, cleaned the dishes, in the evening, as we set out for home, I would always, fall asleep from the fatigues of working on his tricycle, my father kept pedaling hard away, and kept turning my head to see if I was asleep, worrying that I may, fall off, and called out to me all the way home: “young one, don’t fall asleep, we’re, almost home”.
My father’s food business was almost all-year-round, especially during the New Year’s, as some of the stands would take time off, my father’s business would be better than ever before, and he’d needed all hands on deck, all of us to help.
During those days, his hand that clamped up the fish sauce pieces never stopped moving, all of us girls, would serve out the foods, to prepare for the takeout for our customers, taking the money for the customers’ ordered foods, doing the dishes, and we were all, busy at work, and we normally were able to, close down shop by early afternoon. To us, a family who relied on the small businesses, being able to sell all the foods we made, earning the money for a good New Year’s, it was more pleasing, than anything else.
And maybe it was because of how he’d worked himself too hard, shortly after I got into middle school my father fell ill, and, he’d stayed ill for two years, then, passed away. Although the family still continued operating the food stands, but, without my father as the pillar of it all, we’d eventually, close down the businesses.
So many years passed and finally I’d, dreamed about my father, he was already with hair all white, but was still, selling the fish sauce snacks. Before I’d asked him if he was tired out, I’d, waken up. I wanted to tell him, “I missed my time as his ‘tag-along’, and I hope that in a future life, you won’t and don’t, have to work as hard anymore.”
And so, this, is how this man, provided for his families, by using his hands, by working hard, by showing them, that so long as they’re willing to put in the time, the hard work, be honest in dealing with others, then, they will be able to succeed in whatever they do, even if it wasn’t in business, because, business should be based off of honesty, and yet, nowadays, business only cared about making the money.
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