Nothing expresses the personality and human touch like cursive writing. As I was sorting though old papers of my Dad, I was struck by the simplicity and elegance of his handwriting. Although he is no longer here, seeing his handwriting evokes his presence as much as a smiling photograph.
The practice of cursive writing is fading. With electronic transfers, even checks are going by the wayside. Is a person's written signature doomed as well?
Mom went to the dentist Friday to see how her implant was doing -- "just fine" the doctor said.
It was lunch time so we went to lunch down a few blocks to 2nd Avenue and Geary to San Dong House BBQ. I'm not sure why it's called BBQ as I didn't see any sign of barbequed food. Geary is a 6 lane divided street with people rushing to and from the Avenues downtown. I've never noticed this restaurant in this formless section of the street, but I'm glad my cousin introduced us to it. It seems all the restaurants that originate from areas in China close to Korea have their own kim-chi like dish usually made with hot chile oil with perhaps a few whole chile peppers.
This is the newest place we've found that has hand pulled noodles. We passed on the xiao-long bau as we had them the night before and ordered beef tendon soup noodles and sliced beef pancakes. The beef tendon had a wonderful soft texture and Mom loved them so much she couldn't keep her chopsticks out of the soup bowl until all the beef tendon was gone. Then she sort of giggled and said, "I ate it all". In the back of the restaurant is an open prep area and I spied the guy hand-pulling noodles with accordion-like motions. It's a technique hard to believe until you've seen it done. The dough is stretched and doubled over until you have many strands of noodles. The noodles a texture like no other and vary in thickness and width from one end to the other.
Sliced beef pancakes don't sound too special, but everyone orders them. We decided to try them too. Soft wheat tortilla-like crepes are filled with thin slices of beef and cilantro and then rolled up jelly roll fashion and sliced. The slightly chewy texture of the tortilla forms matching layers with the layers and texture of the beef. A wonderful taste and mouth feel --happy thoughts indeed! Mom thought this place was noticeably better than Shanghai House that we ate at the night before. She usually declines the left-over take home packages, but this time she took them without hesitation.
April 24th is Edward Mock's birthday. He was born in 1916 in the small central valley town of Fowler, California. He would have loved the food in this restaurant.
My Dad Edward Hong Mock
Mock Yuke My Grandfather 1863 - 1939
Today is Ching Ming, the day when the Chinese sweep the graves of their ancestors and make offerings of food. The San Francisco Chinese Family Associations still honor this tradition and bring crispy Shew Yuk (roast pork) for distribution to its members at the local Chinese cemetery. We called it Chinese Memorial Day.
In the late forties or early fifties, my father, in memory of his father Mock Yuke, performed this ritual. At the gravesite, he burned incense and made offerings of chicken and poured wine on the ground. My grandfather was then buried at the sad and neglected Chinese cemetery in Fresno, CA.
In the 1950's, the local Fresno Chinese community was a dwindling group. US immigration laws has separated the families of the Chinese American diaspora by time and distance. Forgotten bachelor men whose elusive dream of returning to China rich were buried in a barren cemetery of only dirt and weeds without families to honor them. Some memorial plaques were only shards of wood, the Chinese writing long faded. Later my grandfather was moved to my hometown cemetery in Reedley, CA. My father Edward Mock is now buried next to him in Reedley as well as my Uncle James Mock. Once an abstract occasion honoring unknown ancestors, its much more meaningful now. So long Dad, its been good to know you. From your son, Larry.
April 18, 2011 Update: Last night Mom was in a reminiscing mood. She doesn't talk alot about my Dad, but last night she said it simply, "He was a good man." I couldn't agree more.
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