Monday, April 6, 2015

An Aside

A brief word about the poem posted just a few moments ago.

The events are based on a story from a book called Tales of a Chinese Grandmother.  In it she tells how Chang Kung became known as a kitchen god.  This is my first effort at writing something to add to my thesis work.  It feels very rusty and very clumsy to me.  I know this will be reworked several times before I am marginally ok with it.  But finding words is the hard part.  Deleting them is much easier.

There are several shrines in Kam Wah Chung, the kitchen shrine being one of the more unremarkable, not being the shrine dedicated to Buddha, and also considering that during the store's heyday, there was a full temple just up the road.  I like the kitchen shrine for its nod to old tradition and perhaps a touch of superstition.  It also speaks volumes about the character of Ing Hay and Lung On that one of the shrines they would include would be a shrine dedicated to a god who makes sure we are being kind.  By all accounts, both men were unfailingly kind to everyone they knew.

Below is a photograph of the kitchen shrine from before the State of Oregon took over the care of the museum and began restoring the shrines, among other things.  Small, tucked out of the way, just above the cookstove, but obviously well attended, it would have been a useful perch for a god to watch the happenings on a daily basis.

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