A Moment in My Life – Thursday, October 1, 2020
If not for Cousin Heman’s funeral yesterday, my older sister, Menie, younger sister, Susie, and Menie’s daughter, Kathy, would not have trekked to the bay area from San Diego amid Shelter in Place. I haven’t seen my family since I visited San Diego in January. As much as I enjoy being with them, I was a little nervous about having them visit. I felt more worried about having them stay at a hotel. Staying with me meant one less layer of contamination. They arrived Tuesday evening and left before noon today. That was the perfect amount of time considering the purpose for this trip, and the fact that there wasn’t much else they could do here with Covid-19 looming over us.
We had a wonderful visit together. Initially, I would have dinner ready for them upon their arrival; however, Lena and Kenton needed assistance with last-minute funeral preparations. We changed plans, and instead of my cooking dinner, I would pick up pizza and a salad, and as soon as my family got off the plane, we would head over to Lena and Kenton’s house for dinner together and help out. On Monday night, Menie called Lena and learned that they completed all the tasks and canceled our pizza together plan. At the last minute, I was back to cooking dinner. Off to the market I went for groceries Tuesday afternoon. Thank God, I could pull that off with a few of my favorite dishes to share. If you said I’d be cooking a family-style Chinese dinner one day, I’d laugh in your face, but here I was doing just that. I’m grateful. I was the holdout and had to work hard to keep up with my family of chefs.
Usually, my family enjoyed going to their favorite haunts while they were in town but keeping Covid-19 in mind, there wasn’t much to do on this visit except to attend the funeral, eat, chat, and keep social distancing at bay. This means everything we did here would be just that.
I had a welcome dinner ready for my family to enjoy as soon as they arrived from the airport. I chose a few of my favorite dishes that I was pretty sure were fail-safe. There was shrimp with toasted pine nuts, snow peas, celery, and red bell pepper; pork with mung bean sprouts; Shang Hai baby bok choy; and tofu with Impossible ground beef accompanied with brown Jasmine rice. We concluded with a homemade cheesecake. It was a satisfying meal, especially considering that my family worked before racing to the airport, and my niece hadn’t had lunch yet.
For Wednesday and Thursday’s breakfasts, I selected my family’s favorites buns from a Chinese bakery for them to enjoy since these favorites are hard to come by in San Diego. It was a good choice. Easy and quick to eat since Menie and Kathy had conference calls before we headed to the funeral.
After the funeral, we returned to my house and heated the box lunches containing Heman’s favorite foods from Grand Palace Restaurant. The box had sweet and sour pork, shrimp with veggies, white rice, and Peking Duck with buns. For dessert was an almond cookie and a fortune cookie and bottle water.
As were some traditional funeral customs, we had lucky money envelopes that required our spending on sweet treats like candy. However, my family of foodies chose Paris Baguette ice creams instead of candy. I never knew Paris Baguette sold ice cream! They grabbed up the last red bean pops. I opted for their coffee ice cream pop, and it was enjoyable. I will go back for another one.
Before the cemetery closed at 5:00, we bought flowers and visited with our parents, as was the ritual when my family came into town. It was rare for all three daughters to visit our parents’ graves together, making this a special moment for us to treasure.
Considering our late lunch, we opted for a late supper, where I introduced a couple of my favorite burgers to my family. Since I introduced the plant-based Impossible ground beef to them the night before, I went a step further and introduced them to the Impossible burgers and my favorite salmon burgers. We shared half of each accompanied with air-fried waffle-cut sweet potato fries. I made a believer, out of my family, in the Impossible burgers now.
After dinner, we played Scrabble and reminisced back to our youth, sharing favorite memories, which will be another day’s story.
It was a wonderful little reunion, and we enjoyed our time together. I wish it were under a better circumstance, though.