Saturday, June 24, 2017

Showing My Roots

I inherited the premature gray hair gene from my late father. Couple this with the fact that my hair grows a quarter inch a week (from my late mother's side), it results in me having to color my hair every 3 weeks because my gray roots show against my darker hair!

Gray hair aside, I am proud of my roots - the morals and ethics that ground me when life throws a curve-ball or someone or something I believe in lets me down. My parents were two down to earth, honest, hard working people. My mother was a housewife, a medal she wore with pride, cooking three fresh complicated meals a day from scratch, hand washing and ironing clothes, fixing home made remedies for our ailments and being our community's counselor-at-large. I learned to listen to people and not judge them and that cooking should be a joyful experience.

My mother loved to dress up - even at home, she always had a well-tailored longer dress. When she went out, her saree was always draped well and hair neat in a bun. Special occasions always called for lipstick. She would always quip, "I may be getting older, but I am not dead yet," inspiring me to always be well-attired and never to leave home without lipstick.

My Dad rose before dawn every morning and went to the only job he had, at the national Savings Bank. Other than the days he worked overtime or had to run family errands after work, he was home like clockwork by 6 p.m. Dad instilled in us that we should always be loyal to our employer and that whatever was worth doing was worth doing well. 

There was no complaints department at our simple home in Sri Lanka. Our house was smaller than what was needed for all the children and later grandchildren who lived there, but no one ever complained that they didn't have their own rooms or the fact that we all had to share one bathroom and one shower room. Thank goodness, they were actually two separate rooms!

Looking back now, I realize our meals weren't always lavish by my American standards, but they were always fresh and delicious! And, somehow, there was always enough when unexpected guests arrived just around meal time. My parents never sent anyone away without having them partake of whatever we were eating or without the customary cuppa tea and local biscuits (referred to as cookies in America). They instilled in me to treat everyone like I would want to be treated and that the dining table should be laid out to be a feast for the eyes.

Not having a car never bothered my family as we all had to walk to school or church or take a bus to get to work. I attribute my strong calf muscles to the miles I walked in my younger days!

My dad instilled in me that "books not looks" would help me succeed in life, so I still love to read both fiction and non fiction, and learn new skills.

In all my decades living in the USA, people always ask me about my ethnicity because of my lighter coloring and darker hair. It's all about my roots - Dutch ancestry from my mother and Sri Lankan ancestry from my father. 

My parents may have been ordinary people in the eyes of the world, but to me they were exceptional. And, I am proud that I am always showing my roots - in my work ethic, in my morals, how I treat people, and how I carry myself!

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