Monday, August 19, 2013


     On Sunday morning, we went to my parents' cemetery in the city of Colma. Taka, who for about a month now postponed that outing, wanted to go early, so that we could also come back early enough for him  to spend some time with his favorite wife. You've got it: the computer! I wanted to act the conscientious wife and include him in that trip, so I meekly agreed to leave our house at 8:30 Sunday morning. Dr. Park, who dressed in his best suit and Roberta, who didn't, also joined us. Taka drove. Colma is about 40 minutes away from us. We've been there many times, so we quickly found our way. We stopped at the store to get flowers. The Jewish tradition is to leave a stone on a grave, but I didn't have any stones this time. Hanah once found and stored a dozen beautiful rocks in the van's glove compartment just for the purpose of bringing them to the Grandparents' graves, but Dr. Park, in his enthusiastic quest for cleanliness, threw them away. It's OK, my mother loved flowers. I remember the first Christmas that we spent together. I brought a Poinsettia plant to my parents' house. When  my mom opened the door and saw it, she only had eyes for the bright red leaves of that strikingly beautiful plant. She didn't even try to greet me or Taka, she just preferred her hands forward for the flowers!
     The Eternal Home Cemetery looked very calm and clean that morning. The fresh green of the grass and the flowers on some graves contrasted sharply with the gray or black obelisks. My parents have modest grave markers that lie flat on the grass. The marble on my mom's marker and the lettering have faded somewhat, but her face smiles just the way it did on the day that we took that picture. 
     We were visiting Taka's family in Japan. I wrote about it in the story called The Cities, published in this blog. After the festivities that included the whole Toyoda clan ended, his parents took us to a hot springs resort in the mountains. It was lovely there. I truly loved staying in a Japanese style place, instead of in one of those boxy rooms that look exactly alike in every hotel in the world. At dinner time, all of us filed into a large suite, that was also Taka's parents' bedroom. Because it was a bedroom, the smaller kids (the Japanese children are adorable!) were rolling and wrestling in the folded futons. 
     Sonny's five year old cousin, Serena, for the nth time during that trip, found him and took him to where the action was. Like puppies, they jumped onto the soft mattresses and blankets and commenced a terrific wrestling match. Serena won. All of us applauded her efforts. My mother chose that moment to make her grand entrance. She wore a simple kimono. It suited her really well. She was warmly greeted by everyone. Mom always struggled with the inferiority complex, but this was one of the rare times when she felt at ease. Her picture shows it. 
     Dad gazed at us from his photo on the marker with his characteristic humor and humility. I liked his purple silk shirt that he was wearing on that photo.
      I miss him so much!

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