A TV presenter assisted you in arranging a special birthday event for one of your parents without him or her knowing about it. The whole event was filmed and broadcast on a very popular TV show. Write a letter to your sister in Canada describing what sort of surprise event you chose and why, how it was organized and how your parent felt about it being on TV.
It would have been more memorable if you had taken part in Mum’s birthday this year. I joined the TV program to make a special birthday gift for our mother – a fine seafood dinner cooked all by myself in front of the cameras. Don’t you remember? When we were kids, Dad and Mum brought us to Sai Kung to have a seafood meal once a month. Spicy crabs and fried clams are mother’s favorites. Unfortunately, Dad passed away ten years ago. We have never had such dishes again owing to tight budget. So, the seafood meal is no less meaningful than other birthday gifts.
In that morning, the program host, Sara, and her filming crew followed me to the market, recording how I picked the freshest ingredients. Surprisingly, the owner of the fish stall shared something you and I never knew about our mother. He said, ‘Every time your mother passed by my stall, she would hold steps to take a look at our seafood. But she often frowned at the prices and then left.’ Hearing his words, I had a moment of silence but swiftly I reciprocated with a smile.
We were then in a rush to back home where our two younger sisters had already stood by to assist me. During the cooking, I felt the butterflies in my stomach. You have known how poor my cooking is, and time was so pressing that a trial cooking was not even possible. Fortunately, I rustled up a meal that tasted very close to the cuisine we savored ten years ago. Upon a rap at the door, I just finished the last dish. Bingo!
When our mother opened the door wide, she felt odd to see the crew and cameras. Following a brief dead air, the music was on and I with sisters went out of the kitchen gathering at the front of the camera. I said, ‘Mother, you are a hardworking woman, devoting the prime of your life to us. To take care of us, you did not eat and sleep well; you were thoughtful of your spending so that the small saving can be spared for a better shelter for us.’ Susan, I guess you have the same words as these deep inside your heart, right?
I steered our Mum inside who had gone completely still and silent. Sara invited her to taste my meal. With a hint of sweetness, Mum sat down gently and tried the seafood. I asked for her advice on the dishes. She kept nodding without stopping saying ‘good, very good’. She surely savored bitterness as tears ran out of her eyes.
The next morning, Mum went out earlier and wrote a note to us, ‘Yesterday I was moved, but got embarrassed about the absence of makeup.’ Ha….
Your presence could have made the picture more complete. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to the next family union with you in future.
All the best,