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“Dinner is ready!” called Ninth Aunty as she knocked the long wooden spoon against the dishes. All the busy workers in the construction site washed they hands and gathered around. With the crude ceramic bowls that they have brought from home, they received rice from Third Grandma and dishes from Ninth Aunty before they each took a steam bun and went over to the side to start eating.
Unfortunately, Gu Xiao’s house has no table or chairs and not even enough bowls so everyone had to make do. Nobody really cared about much that, it was quite cheerful to sit around in group and chitchatted and ate at the same time.
Suddenly, a small figure appeared in the line for food. She pressed her way into the front and matter-of-factly stuck out her bowl in her hand. After taking a closer look at the woman, Third Grandma frowned and her hand holding the wooden spoon paused in the air and said, “Mrs. Wu, you didn’t come to help cook or help with the construction. How are you so shameless to come for the food?”
This woman would go anywhere where she could gain something. Most of the villagers disliked her.
“What do you mean we didn’t help? Didn’t a worker from the construction site hurt his foot? Wasn’t it my man who treated him? Why are you saying that that’s not help?” said Mrs. Wu oh so matter-of-factly. “Give me rice quickly. My man is hungry!”
Third Grandma tossed the wooden spoon back into the pot and snickered, “Yes, you are right that someone was hurt today, and yes, Dr. Wu came and treated him!”
Mrs. Wu immediately have a prideful look on her face before Third Grandma continued, “But, it was just a minor injury and Dr. Wu charged Gu Xiao 10 wen!”
“Exactly! Exactly! We paid for the treatment, how is that ‘help’?” Mrs. Wu had never been well-liked in the village. It’s a small village, Dr. Wu could charge a nominal fee for small injuries or small illness as a favor. But no, his fees were higher than that of the Jimin Hall in town. On top of his wife with that annoying personality, the villagers usually tried to say away from them.
“You want food? Fine! Refund the 10 wen! Otherwise, step aside, you are holding up the line!” Third Grandma was very annoyed by her personality of always wanting to take advantage of someone else so she wasn’t going to just give her want she wanted.
Thinking about how frugal her man was. There was no way one could take the money he had received out of his hands. Mrs. Wu spit on the ground and walked away.
This little incident did not affect others appetite for dinner. Everybody chatted and ate, and everybody got at least 4-5 pieces of rabbit meats in their bowl. On top that that, since the cabbage was made with lard, naturally it also tasted very flavorful.
“Fifth Uncle,” said the oldest son of the clan leader, who was some 5 years younger than Gu Xiao, “Only your family can provide meals of this caliber. After all these years, your hunting skills was still as good as before!”
When Gu Xiao joined the military, Gu Chen was already in his early teens. He remembered the times when he ran around after this Fifth Uncle, which was about the same age as him. Sometimes he would even get lucky and brought home a pheasant or a hare.
Even though it was Gu Ye who brought back one or two game meats from the mountains occasionally, everybody just assumed that they were from Gu Xiao. He had always been great with setting traps and hunting animals!
Gu Xiao smiled but didn’t clarify. It was good enough that he was the only one who knew how resourceful his grandson and granddaughter were. There were no need to get the others know so they would get envious and say anything bad about the children behind their back.
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