I know I write a lot about my father, but this post is really about me and some of the (not-so-good) choices I’ve made. It took me a long time to get to where I am today. But I finally grew up enough to make some smart choices.
There is a concept in tort law called “duty to rescue,” where a party can be held liable for failing to help a person who is in peril. It was the basis of a plot line in the season finale of “Seinfeld.” It kind of boggles my mind that there needs to be a law to cover this. At what point does a person take it upon themselves to help a stranger who may be in need?
February 27, 2014
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Tags: books, death, father, immigrant life, literature, 가족, 그리워, 문헌, 사랑, 아버지, 이민자, 책, 한국, 화이팅
Like a lot of Koreans of their age, my parents survived war and led very difficult lives. Books were an escape. My dad used to joke that had he learned Russian instead of English, we may have immigrated to the (then) Soviet Union instead of America.
He and his baby cousin will never have any memories of my father. And when I think about that, it breaks my heart — not just because my father missed out on meeting them, but because they didn’t get the chance to be loved by him.
Someone privately messaged me and asked why I wrote so much about things that had happened in the past. Do I write about it so much? I’ve been writing professionally for the past three decades and I’d estimate that my pieces surrounding race issues encompass less than 1% of everything I’ve ever written.
This has been our go-to dinner as of late. And so much of it is from our garden. We had a delicious caprese salad with our homegrown tomatoes (nothing like them!) and basil, fresh mozzarella and my balsamic vinegarette drizzled on top. The kid and I made pizza dough in our bread machine, and it tastes so much better than the dough we used to buy from Trader Joe’s.
The other night, I had a vivid dream. The only part I remember is the end, when my father was showing me his latest creation. He had always had a knack for crafting amazing things from odd scraps of whatever was around. In this dream, he was showing off what looked like two large tree trunks. But when you looked closer, the tops opened up to reveal compartments for trash cans and recycling bins. Ingenious!
Our father’s goal in bringing his family from South Korea to the United States was to ensure that his children would receive a good education. He and our mother instilled in us the idea that studying hard would be our ticket to having a better life than they had. And they were right. But while the three of us are well educated, we lack our father’s endless thirst for knowledge.