Sunday, March 01, 2009

In and Out of Character

Tarn tells us last week that he has plans to go fishing with Mr. Henry on Sunday. Mr. Henry is the neighbor who sometimes pays our bills and who last week helped to fix our breaker. He is the son of the grandpa who makes his granddaughter (Henry's daughter) laugh. Henry is Vietnamese, even though it doesn't sound like he would be. He works for an American company, and therefore has an American name.


So Tarn is gone most of the day. I come back around 7 because Thanh and I have made plans to "shop" on http://www.nordstrom.com/ for a dress for her - we have made no plans to cook. But what we find in the kitchen is so cool - it's more of the sour soup that we made a few weeks ago, with big chunks of vegetables and a very large fish in it.

Wow, I think. I am so impressed with Tarn, and so is Thanh! He caught a fish and he made dinner! This is quite uncharacteristic of Tarn's usual behavior, but I am caught up in the possibility of the moment.


Soon he comes downstairs and we get the fish story: he went fishing with the whole family. He cast one line and it got caught in a tree. Mr. Henry caught a fish on the line and wanted Tarn to reel it in, but Tarn lost it. Tarn caught no fish. When they got home, he thanked them and came into the castle. About an hour later, Mr. Henry came to the door and told him to come over: his family had made us a big pot of soup, and had put one of their catches in it. That's what was sitting on the stove when I came home.


So the moral of this story is: if one set of neighbors doesn't cook for the castle on Sunday evening, another set of neighbors will.


Thanh goes into cooking mode herself: she whips up a fish sauce with red peppers to dip the fish into and fills our bowls with the rice noodles, soup and fish. It's another feast. I love this picture: Thanh cooking with Tarn (pronounced the same).


Oh, and we found a beautiful dress for Thanh, too, but maybe I will have to show it to you another day.

One more neighborhood story:


The Pineapple Lady has completely ignored me for the past two weeks; I told Sue about her and she tried to video tape me walking by her so that she could capture her seizures, but she remained stationary with her head bowed - not recognizing my presence at all. It actually kind of bothered me; I thought perhaps she was sick.


But today...today, here's what she does: as I walk by, she waves at me and smiles. I am taken aback at the smile, so I look directly at her. She points down the alley, and she is genuinely happy when she sees my look of joy. She's pointing to the corner where my Banana Rice Cake with Tapioca Sauce Lady resides; I haven't seen her since Tet. I didn't know if she would ever return to her corner. But there she is, grilling my favorite bananas wrapped in rice. The PL knows that I buy from the BRCLTSL every single day. She waves me on, like "I know you can't wait to have one!" She is very excited for me.


Now does that warm your heart like it does mine? I think I am on the road to buying another six cents worth of pineapple from her!

8 comments:

Dad said...

Yes - it does warm my heart. It also makes me wish I could experience and thus understand the world from the perspective of PL (but only for a few minutes).

Dad said...

... and while I'm there, I'd like to buy a treat from BRCL TSL!

marjie said...

Yes, Dad, I think of you often when eating the tapioca sauce. And I think you would be quite uncomfortable squatting like the PL. Even for a few minutes.

Mungo said...

YAY!! The PL has been redeemed!

horiw said...

Wow, Mungo, redemption was the word which came to my mind as well.

Forever seeking that thread of goodness...

Amy T. said...

Oops, pre-coffee error.
That was me...

Brian Bowker said...

I think it's a trap.

Mungo said...

Oooooohhh... Good call, Brian... Better watch out, smarj, or you may find yourself in deep shmvit (my word verification word today!).