Chapter 278: Father and Mother
Located in a mountainous area, the temperature in Luo Village shifted drastically between the day and night. This was especially so when it drizzled, where the temperature would drop significantly, making anyone exposed to the elements shiver from the biting cold.
With his inner power to protect his body, Xiao Luo wasn’t affected by the cold. Waiting alone in the dark, he called his father and told him the location to pick him up. After speaking to his father, Zhang Dashan happened to call him, he had just gotten home too.
Xiao Luo was glad to hear from him, and the first thing he said was: “So, were your parents proud of you when they saw you drive a Range Rover back home?”
“F*ck, let’s not talk about that. The roads in the village are simply awful, I washed my car thoroughly before driving home, but when I reached home, it was covered in mud. Ahh, I feel so sorry for my car,” Zhang Dashan complained.
Xiao Luo couldn’t help laughing and continued to make fun of him. “Then wash it all you like some other day, after all, water doesn’t cost anything at home, you can use as much as you want,” he said.
“Of course, what do you think I’d do? Oh, right, have you reached home?”
“It’s either a yes or a no, what do you even mean by sort of?” Zhang Dashan quipped.
Xiao Luo gave a laugh and replied, “I mean that I haven’t reached my home yet, but I’ve reached the outskirts of the village, and now I’m standing by the roadside.”
“D*mn, what the hell? It’s raining heavily over here, so I guess it’s probably raining at your place as well? I’m sure you didn’t bring an umbrella, are you standing in the rain?”
“I see that you’re quite perceptive.”
“Perceptive your *ss, can you stop trying to be such a hero, what are you doing out there in the rain?” Zhang Dashan reprimanded him and said, “are you trying to be like one of those dumb teenagers, seeking to be a non-conformist? Please, you are too f*cking old for that.”
Xiao Luo was feeling a little exasperated and said, “Do you think I want to? The driver left me here, so all I can now is to wait for my dad to fetch me in his trishaw.”
Zhang Dashan couldn’t believe what he just heard, and said, “D*mn, which dumb*ss driver just left you there like that? With your temper, I’d expected you to throw a fit and give him a good beating!”
“Never mind, I was in a good mood!”
Xiao Luo heard the distinctive rumble of an old two-stroke engine approaching, and as it turned the corner, an intense beam of light shone in his direction.
“Oh, I think my dad is here. I’ll hang up first, talk to you next time.”
“Alright, remember to help me say hi to Uncle Xiao, okay.”
Having said so, he hung up.
An old motored trishaw meandered through the dirt trail and stopped in front of Xiao Luo. A sheet of steel had been welded on posts and served as its roof. It provided some protection to its occupants from the elements, so it could be driven regardless of the weather. The beam of the motored trishaw threw some light on the driver; he was a man that looked around fifty years old. Xiao Luo could see that there were wrinkles on the man’s face, and his ruffled hair was all white. He donned a black leather jacket that seemed to have been with him for a very long time, and the skin on his hands looked incredibly coarse from doing hard manual work.
Xiao Luo greeted the man with a shout. He felt sorry seeing his father looking so aged.
Xiao Zhiyuan looked at him and said, “Didn’t you tell me that you met that fellow, Winter Melon, when you arrived in the city? You took a ride in his car, right? Why, did he just leave you here in the rain?”
“He had something urgent, so he left first,” Xiao Luo explained.
“Urgent? What nonsense, no matter how urgent it is, couldn’t he at least drop you off at the farm? It’s not that far from here.”
Xiao Zhiyuan was very aggrieved, seeing his son having to wait all alone in the rain. “I think that that little fellow has become arrogant, and he’s looking down on you despite you two having grown up together as close friends.”
As he spoke, he was loading Xiao Luo’s belongings into the trishaw.
Xiao Luo hurried over to help.
They soon loaded up the things Xiao Luo had bought into the small storage space of the trishaw.
Then, Xiao Luo hopped on and squeezed into the single-seat with his father, and they turned around, heading toward the farm.
The road to the farm was indeed in bad condition, and there were big potholes everywhere. It would definitely take a toll on a small car with a low chassis, but an SUV could still negotiate the trail without much effort. Somehow the motored trishaw was managing, but with its worn-out shock absorbers, it was a jarring and bumpy ride all the way.
“Dad, why didn’t you spend the one million dollars I transferred to you last time?” asked Xiao Luo.
Xiao Zhiyuan was maneuvering the motored trishaw with some effort and said, “That’s your money, son, I’ve put it in fixed deposit for you.”
“But I transferred it to you so that you can pay off the debt and do some upgrading for the farm. For starters, you can have this road totally paved with cement, it’ll be more convenient for vehicles to enter and exit the farm.”
Xiao Luo had not expected his father not to even touch one cent of the money and continue leading such a frugal life. There was really no need for that, as he had already mentioned to his parents a long time ago that he was now the boss of a company. He was doing well enough and was not short of money.
“The farm is a career that I want to develop for the second half of my life. The cost of construction, investment, and production are my responsibilities, how can I burden you with my responsibilities?” Xiao Zhiyuan said.
“Dad, the money is for you and mum, as a token of my appreciation. I don’t want you both to have such a difficult life,” Xiao Luo said, as he tried to keep his emotions in check. “I still remember you telling me about your ideal retirement life, it was to take leisurely walks in the park and play chess with other people. I can help you realize all your dreams now.”
Xiao Zhiyuan looked at him with a smile and said, “These can wait for a few more years. Your mum and I are not that old yet, we’d be laughed at for retiring so early.” He paused for a moment and continued, “I just want to put in these efforts for the sake of my dignity, I must prove this to the people that had criticized me for choosing this new career.”
Xiao Luo knew what his father meant. He remembered when his father first got back to the village, he had mentioned that he intended to start the farm. His family and friends, and even fellow villagers were pessimistic about such a venture and felt that this industry had no future. They started talking behind his back, and his father was subjected to much ridicule. So Xiao Luo could appreciate his insistence on developing the farm and making it a success for them all to see; it was his way of getting his own back.
“Your mom used to be weak and always in poor health, feeling dizzy and tired every now and then. Since she started working on the farm, her health has improved visibly. Not only has her appetite improved, but her long-term spinal problem has also stopped bothering her,” Xiao Zhiyuan raved, a smile forming on his face. “It’s like what the old people say, humans are born to work. If one just lazes around the whole day without doing anything, one gets sick easily, and wouldn’t be able to lead a long life.”
Xiao Zhiyuan looked contented, and he was never one to shy away from a challenge; he was an optimist.
Xiao Luo shook his head and sighed. “Dad, you always have your reasons.”
He had wanted to persuade his father to give up on the farm and retire peacefully, but he was well aware of his father’s character, and it would not be an easy task to persuade the old man.
The farm was located between two mountains that stood close together, but the valley in between was relatively flat and wide. The edge of the farm gradually got higher in altitude as it got closer to the foot of the mountains.
The plot of land was previously abandoned and had been overgrown with weeds and shrubs everywhere. To set up the farm and operate it properly, his parents had invested all their savings into it. They even borrowed money from his two aunts and mortgaged the farm for a 200,000 dollar loan from the bank.
His father had a lot of entrepreneurial experience and understood the challenges of running the business.
Tucked in the farm, a single two-story building was built at the foot of the mountain. As the motored trishaw made its way into the farm, dogs began barking, but as soon as they recognized the sound of his father’s vehicle, they immediately stopped. The dogs ran up, with their ears flattened and tails wagging as they greeted their master.
They had three dogs at the farm, and although they hadn’t seen Xiao Luo for a whole year, they certainly remembered him as they came up to him and whined excitedly.
“Son, you’re back!”
A plainly-dressed woman came running out, rubbing her hands together.
Xiao Luo jumped off the trishaw and walked over toward her.