Watching the noon news, channel surfing when the ads start or when a “news” item has been reported two or three times prior to this newscast, I found more interesting information on such programs as Inside Taiwan, France24, or China Beat. Neal Jones, an American, was the anchor who was always smiling and I enjoyed listening to him on the Blue Ocean Network program, China Beat. The first time I saw him he had unnaturally black hair and then one day he lost the rug and his smile was even more evident. A few weeks ago a younger man who does not smile on air seemed to have replaced him and I took the opportunity to send an e-mail to China Beat, which they, kindly responded to saying that they miss Mr. Jones’ smile too, but that he went home, to the United States.
Ah, home. Perhaps we are not so different from the salmon which go to great lengths and incur many difficulties, even death, in order to return to their birth places. Home, like everything else changes from our early memories, but it is still home, where the cousins we played with, built snow forts with, the friends we took long walks or bicycle rides with, the aunts and uncles who energetically hosted hamburger or hot dog roasts in the summer and Christmas parties in Decembers gone by are either gone or have gone grey.
The air still hangs heavy with the aromas of my mother’s baking and the foods I never found elsewhere, the family traditions no one else ever heard of. There is a ghostly imprint from all the history long covered over by new people, places, and streets. Still, it is there under everything else and I see those memories looming out at me as I wander along once familiar paths.