Monday, May 20, 2013

Light of the East Coast

I think this title is an accurate translation of what the Taiwanese call them. They are Catholic priests who offered up over 50 of their years for service to the indigenous tribes of Taidung. They have learned Chinese, Taiwanese, and one - sometimes two - of the local languages.
These men are amazing.
Ken had read a book written about them, and was deeply touched. Having learned that some of them still live in Taidong, he contacted them. They immediately invited us to supper. We didn't want to leave that evening. We had a feeling of being in the presence of greatness as we talked with those four men.

A week or two later, when one of them, O Shio Shr, invited us for a picnic at his orchard high up in the mountains, we were thrilled.
As soon as he arrived over 50 years ago, he started planting trees. Now they are all over, towering over us - evergreens, fruit trees, and all sorts of exotic plants that I have never seen before. For example, the tree tomato. You eat the inside, not the skin. There wasn't fruit at the time, but maybe we'll get a chance to see one some day. We later when to their headquarters, where he showed us more of his plants. Fascinating! I saw at least ten new plants that I have never seen before. He had a kind of orchid that needed neither water nor soil to live. Just air.

One day, another of the four rode his motercycle up our driveway for a visit. The kids were delighted. He is known for his ability to entertain children.

Just yesterday, Oh Shio Shr came to our house for a visit. He walked around our land, explaining to us which plants were useful, and which were weeds. So much information! There was so much to learn and so many stories to hear, that time ran out too quickly. It almost felt like God was being kind to us when we discovered that he left his cellphone behind. He had to come back, and we ended up having supper together. We sat there for as long as we could, asking questions, and simply sharing our lives. 
Ken found a true treasure.

Oh Shio Shr is one of a kind. Over 70, and he rides a motorcycle like he's half his age. When we went up the mountain together, I was shocked by the ease withwhich he jumped up onto a 4 to 5 foot ledge. He goes swimming every morning at 5 am. Ken aspires to be like him.
(and no, I'm not five months pregnant. That must be a result of the banana cream pie we had for tea. Yup, it's usually washboard flat...)

Speaking of which, I must add this photo, because never in all my years have I made such a beautiful crust. And this is pre-baked, no less! Thank you, Martha Stewart for showing me you can substitute beans for pie stones. And thanks again, Tartine, for pulling through with this recipe. The crust is coated with chocolate before the custard and bananas are added. That way, it can keep longer.


  1. "a kind of orchid that needed neither water nor soil to live. Just air." I am entranced by this. Also, your beautiful banana creme pie with the gorgeous crust! :)

  2. Hard to believe, I know. There it was, attached to the wall, its roots coiled and reaching for air. To be fair, it absorbs moisture from the air, but still.
    Ok, I feel guilty because you just might have believed me about the washboard. Simply replace "usually" with "aspiring to be", and my conscience will be clear.

  3. I need that recipe.... my word you're amazing!