Dad was silent on the phone for a long time, but when he did start talking, he didn’t say much about Grandma.
He thought Grandma liked someone, so he was open-minded enough to accept it. It was just that Grandma didn’t want things to become complicated. Her own identity was pretty special, after all. If the old man ever came for dinner during New Year’s, he would probably die of a heart attack once he saw all of her children, grandchildren, underlings, and antique dealers who had come to give their New Year’s greetings.
In other words, he was a very ordinary old man. But our family wasn’t the ordinary type at all.
At that age, it was just better to focus on love since everything else was so fleeting.
Dad hoped that Grandma wouldn’t hide anything or feel pressured, but Grandma said that hiding made everything more fun. She had lived a lifetime, so she knew what she wanted.
I couldn’t help but secretly give her a thumbs up. Grandma was living her life and obviously knew how to stay true to herself.
The next topic was related to me. Dad wanted me to go back to Hangzhou. Even though there wasn’t a shortage of money, he said that I should concentrate on doing more serious things. Otherwise, I’d just keep spending all of my money without generating any income. The shop was in the scenic area and I still had a lot of relationships to maintain, so it definitely wasn’t a long-term solution to leave all of the maintenance to Wang Meng. The most important thing was that I should be closer to my parents. My mother missed me so much since I never went home.
I told him that I would never run out of money, and if things didn’t work out, I’d just work part-time for Xie Yuhua. I could even be a security guard. Xiao Hua was my brother, so he wouldn’t leave me to fend for myself. But I didn’t agree when my father said that my mother missed me. I diligently came back, but my mother was always traveling. Maybe you should watch out for those old men who are hanging out with Mom while she’s traveling. I’m not the one whom you always need to keep your eye on.
My dad immediately became angry and hung up before he said something bad.
After the phone call, I was in a daze. It was like I was living in two different realities at the same time, and they were sometimes difficult to distinguish from each other.
My parents were really old, but they acted a bit like children. Life really was a cycle.
I went over to the auntie’s place to sign the contract and take possession of the land. Once that was done, the three of us sat by the river to enjoy the good weather. I didn’t know why, but I was in such a good mood that I really wanted to square dance.
“How should we start?” Fatty asked.
“Let’s buy some seats, bowls, and chopsticks in the afternoon,” I said. “Then we’ll visit several nearby villages in the evening to see what the vegetable supply is like. We’ll get the numbers of some fish, egg, chicken, and duck farmers, and buy a batch of each and come back. We’ll get the menu set up tomorrow. We’ll try one dish at a time, print the menu out, and make posters to give out the day after tomorrow. We should open early the day after that.”
“You didn’t register the business yet, right? What about the health department?”
“We’ll go at noon today and get the approval to run our business in three days,” I said.
The key was marketing, but I already had a plan for that. In small places like this, you had to use marketing tricks like playing mahjong.
News spread the fastest from mahjong tables, so I was planning on going to every village to play mahjong and then get them to order dinner from us. Fatty would deliver the food for free at first. Everyone would soon get used to it, and then I could invite them to play in the farmhouse. This meant we’d also have to purchase automatic mahjong machines.
In the afternoon, I went to buy tableware and chopsticks. The river water here was very clear, so the three of us took our newly-purchased items and washed them by the river. Fatty started to make trouble at this time and splashed water on us. We both looked at him as if to say, “It’s not summer. What are you trying to do?”
The auntie had also sold her geese to us. They were frightened by Fatty splashing water on us and rushed to the shore.
In the evening, we drove the Jinbei to the next village over and started contacting the various fruits and vegetables, fish, eggs, and meat vendors. All of these items were eaten by the farmers themselves and could be considered organic, so Fatty decided to set the price higher. After finishing our work and collecting a lot of phone numbers, we spent some time playing billiards in a roadside billiard hall in the village.
That night, when we returned home, I heated up the stove (1) and cooked with Fatty. I thought of the billiard tables from earlier and couldn’t help but think that they had been covered in an oxide layer. It appeared that everything in the countryside was old and dilapidated. Can I make the farmhouse different from others? I wondered. But what can I do differently?
I sat in front of the stove and said to Fatty, “I want to build the most beautiful farmhouse in China.”
“With Little Brother, we’re already the most beautiful.”
“That’s not what I meant.” I figured it was useless to explain.
The countryside here was extremely beautiful. It would work as long as you put in the work. But you also needed to discover what the most beautiful things among the people’s heritage in this area were.
Fatty looked at me and said in a guarded tone, “Mr. Naïve, what are you thinking?”
“I’ve had some inspiration,” I said.
“I think you have a bad idea,” Fatty countered.
Poker-Face came over with some chestnuts in his hand. I knew what he wanted, so I put the chestnuts in the stove to bake and then asked him, “Do you want sweet potatoes?”
Poker-Face shook his head and then sat down by the stove, which was warming us up. We finished cooking and then ate directly out of the pot on the stove. We had also put wine and snacks into the stove’s hole to warm up, so it didn’t take long before the aroma was filling the air.
It was windy outside, but it would probably be bright and sunny tomorrow.
The fragrance of roasting chestnuts was getting stronger and stronger. Fatty took out a few hot ones, threw them to me and Poker-Face, and then said to me, “I’ve thought about it. I want a stove dragon.”
<Chapter 3><Table of Contents><Chapter 5>
(1) This isn’t a Western stove. It’s more of a hearth. Maybe something like this:
Happy Derby day! Yvette has translated the OST of “Restart: Sound of the Providence” for you. It’s here if you’re interested.
6 thoughts on “Chapter 4 Land Planning”
With Little Brother, anything is the most beautiful! 😆
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Granny Wu is mood. A woman that know what she wanted
“My parents were really old, but they acted a bit like children. Life really was a cycle”
As lost my father las year, so i really CAN’T side with you here Wu Xie. Did you have great feud with your father or what? Just go home once in a while, its not like your father going to eat you! Be gratefull you b*stard!!!!
Thank you for the chapter, Bear-san.
This is one of the most difficult things you can experience.I am sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences.
I think his father missed him not his mom. And I want to see that square dance.😄