It’s New Year’s!
On the 28th day of the twelfth lunar month, the winter sun was warm and gentle.
Brother Le took all the bedding and sheets from the entire family to be washed, while the four men took charge of cleaning the house.
Lately, their cured meats were selling well, and even Grandpa Chang and Chang Hao were helping out at the snack shop. So on that day, the snack shop didn’t close for the holiday. They only finished work half an hour earlier, which meant the house hadn’t been cleaned yet.
Wearing straw hats and holding clean brooms tied to long bamboo poles, they began sweeping the house.
The two young boys didn’t have much strength, and their hands quickly grew tired from holding the bamboo poles. So, Yu Qingze instructed them to sweep the floor and wipe the tables and cabinets.
The four men thoroughly cleaned every nook and cranny of the house, moving cabinets and beds to sweep underneath.
“Hey, Xiao Hao, look, I found a copper hairpin here.” Jiabao discovered a hairpin covered in mud while sweeping under Chang Le’s bed. It had been buried in the ground for quite some time. He picked it up and showed it to Chang Hao.
“Where? Let me see.” Chang Hao walked over and carefully examined the hairpin. “I’ve never seen it before. It doesn’t seem to belong to my brother. I’ll ask Grandpa.”
“Grandpa, we found a hairpin.” Chang Hao went to the main room, holding the copper hairpin, and asked Grandpa Chang. He added, “It doesn’t seem to belong to my brother.”
“What hairpin?” Grandpa Chang stopped what he was doing, turned his head to take a look, paused for a moment, then reached out and gently wiped off the dust on it. He said, “This belongs to your mother.”
Chang Hao widened his eyes in surprise and exclaimed, “It belonged to my mother?”
When Chang Hao’s mother passed away, he was only two years old, so he has no memories of his mother. The only thing he remembers is the annual worship during holidays. From the time he had memories, he only had his older brother and grandfather.
“Hmm.” Grandfather Chang looked at the hairpin for a while and then said, “When you were young, you were playing with it and accidentally lost it. Your brother searched for it for a long time but couldn’t find it. Where did you find it?”
Chang Hao replied, “Brother Jiabao found it between the bedpost and the corner of the wall. We moved the bed, and it was buried in the soil.”
Grandfather Chang nodded and handed him the hairpin, saying, “Take it and clean it. Give it to your brother when he comes back.”
“Okay.” Chang Hao took the hairpin and went to the kitchen to wash it.
When Brother Le came back and saw the hairpin in his younger brother’s hand, he excitedly snatched it away, caressed it repeatedly, smiled silently, but his eyes were moist.
Seeing his brother so emotional, Chang Hao said, “Brother, Grandpa said this is mother’s hairpin, right?”
Brother Le nodded.
“I lost it when I was little?”
Brother Le continued nodding.
“I’m sorry, brother.” Seeing his brother’s expression, Chang Hao knew that his brother cherished this hairpin a lot. Although he didn’t have much impression of their mother, he knew that his brother had a deep emotional connection with him.
Upon hearing this, Brother Le shook his head, touched his younger brother’s head, indicating that it was alright.
Brother Le put the hairpin in the room and carefully stored it.
Unexpectedly finding a long-lost item, especially their mother’s belonging, made Brother Le very happy.
The next day, on the twenty-ninth day of the lunar year, Brother Le’s family was going to slaughter the New Year’s pig.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Early in the morning, before the sun rose, the whole family woke up. Chang Hao, Jiabao, and the rest of the family joined in to watch the lively scene.
The skilled men from the village who were good at slaughtering pigs and a few helpers had arrived. Wen Li and Brother Chang’s family also came over. It was a custom in the village to invite relatives and close friends to help during the pig slaughtering and have a meal together. Yesterday, when Brother Chang’s family slaughtered the pig, Brother Le’s family also went over for lunch.
The boys were in the kitchen boiling water and steaming rice. They prepared three big pots of boiling water.
The men brought two large long benches and placed them in the yard. Then, they went into the pigsty. The man responsible for slaughtering the pig hooked its neck with an iron hook and dragged it out.
The fat and sturdy pig screamed, waking up the people from nearby houses. Upon hearing the noise, they realized it was pig slaughtering and went back to sleep peacefully, as they had been hearing it frequently lately.
Some people helped drag the pig from the front, while others chased from behind. It took some effort, but they managed to get the pig out of the pigsty and into the yard. They then lifted the pig onto the bench, placing it on its side. Several men held down the pig’s limbs and body firmly, preventing it from moving.
Chang Hao, Jiabao, and the children from Brother Chang’s and Wen Li’s families stood by curiously watching. Even though they had seen it yesterday, they couldn’t take their eyes off the scene.
The man slaughtering the pig saw that Brother Le had already prepared a wooden basin and instructed him to collect the blood later. Then, he positioned himself and swiftly slaughtered the pig.
Upon seeing this, Brother Le quickly took the wooden basin to collect the pig’s blood.
After collecting the blood, Brother Le immediately carried the basin to the kitchen and added some water and salt to it, so it would solidify.
In the yard, once the pig stopped moving, the man slaughtering it made a cut just above the hind hoof. Then, they began blowing air into it. After inflating the pig, several men lifted it and placed it into a large wooden basin. They then started pouring hot water over the pig, thoroughly wetting it, and began scraping off its hair.
After cleaning off the pig’s hair, they hung the pig upside down on a ladder and started the process of gutting it…
Upon seeing the pig’s hair, Yu Qingze remembered something and gathered all the pig’s hair together, placing it under the eaves of the house.
Once the pig’s internal organs were removed, Yu Qingze immediately asked Brother Chang’s mother to take the pig intestines and clean them. He planned to make blood sausages for everyone later.
While the men in the yard were busy cutting the pig into pieces, Yu Qingze and Brother Le started washing and cutting vegetables to prepare dishes.
They busied themselves all morning, and the food was ready. People in the countryside were not so particular, so they simply set up tables and benches in the yard to eat. Altogether, there were three tables, and it was lively.
The dishes were served.
Blood sausages, stir-fried pig liver, stir-fried pork kidney, braised pork, stir-fried pork, braised pig intestines, assorted cured meats, vinegar-braised cabbage, and lean meat soup.
As everyone smelled the aroma of the dishes, they became invigorated. After taking a bite, they couldn’t stop themselves from eating, exclaiming how delicious it was.
After Brother Le had arranged the dishes on the table, he looked around and didn’t see his second uncle. He found Wen Li and gestured, asking why his second uncle hadn’t come.
“You’re asking about your second uncle?” Wen Li looked at Brother Chang Le gesturing and guessed. Every year, he would ask the same question.
Chang Le nodded.
Wen Li shook his head and said, “You know, every year we invite him, but he never comes. It’s okay, don’t worry about him. You should go ahead and eat.”
After hearing this, Chang Le fell silent for a while. Then he gestured again, saying, “I’ll go call him.”
Saying that, he untied his apron, called Chang Hao, and went out.
“Hey, Brother Le…” Wen Li watched from behind, sighed, put down his chopsticks, and followed them.
They arrived at the second uncle’s house, and he was sitting at the kitchen doorway, drinking porridge. When he saw Brother Le and his brother coming in, he froze.
“Xiao Le, Xiao Hao, why are you here? Isn’t it time for lunch?”
Brother Chang Le gestured a couple of times, and Chang Hao said, “Second uncle, my brother says to come with us for lunch.”
Thandar: I want to eat all those dishes … Brother Yu, adopt me toooooo