The production team left in twos and threes, because the lean man gave out the old hen, the rest of the people more or less sent something over. Although it was all worthless firewood, it was an immediate relief to the Li family, who had lost their labor and were sitting on their backsides.
”Why should we take their stuff, they’re bad guys who came to rob our ship!” Zhou Sitian silently followed Li Zheng back to the room, seeing that Li Zheng was counting the things sent by the crowd with great interest, she couldn’t help but speak up.
Li Zheng’s hand movement slowed, he looked up at the stubborn-looking Zhou Sitian and suddenly asked, “Will you go fishing?”
Zhou Sitian was startled, then blushed, like all fishermen who lived by the sea, Qinghe Town had a tradition since ancient times that women were not allowed on fishing boats. How could she possibly go out to sea!
Li Zheng got the answer from Zhou Sitian’s expression, he shrugged his shoulders and said unconcernedly, “I wouldn’t either.”
Li Zheng had never wanted to leave the boat behind. Neither he nor Zhou Sitian could fish, and the fishing boat would just be a waste in their hands. And he knew very well that although most of the people in the town were on their side today, they were only sympathizing with Li Zheng who had lost his father at a young age, and people were always willing to lend a hand to those weak things to show their strength and superiority.
However, sympathy was temporary, but profit was eternal. The production team organized all the fishing boats in the town to go fishing, and half of the goods harvested by the boats in a day were kept by themselves and handed over to the production team, and the handed over part was then distributed by the production team to each household according to the labor points, which was a transitional stage from the big pot of rice to distribution according to labor.
As Yang Sheng, the lean, middle-aged man just said, now was the season of the sea cargo, the whole town’s boats were in full operation, fishermen couldn’t wait to go out to sea 24 hours a day, and move the whole sea back.
Although Father Li’s ship belonged to the Li family, the people who had just come out of the era of one big pot wouldn’t think so, they only knew that if Li’s ship went out to sea, half of the sea cargo obtained would be paid to the public. In other words, if the Li family’s ships didn’t go to sea, there would be one less share of stock in the public.
Because of Li Qiang’s accident, the people of the town wouldn’t say anything this day or two, and if the days were longer… Li Zheng didn’t want to test the humanity of the eighties at all.
Therefore, the boat was bound to be handed over. However, to whom it was handed over and how it was handed over, that would be delicate.
”Little Zheng, you said that you saw dad, is that true?” Zhou Sitian looked at Li Zheng, only to find that after this illness, she was becoming more and more unable to understand this brother of hers. But to her, it was Father Li’s matter that mattered most.
Although Zhou Sitian was brought here by Mother Li, Li Qiang was loyal and treated her like his own daughter, and Zhou Sitian’s relationship with Li Qiang was even better than her relationship with Mother Li.
Li Zheng looked up at Zhou Sitian who had a look of nervousness and hope, his eyes flashed with warmth, she was really a cute little girl. He didn’t notice in the slightest how incongruous it was to have a kind smile on his childish face.
”Saw.” He said without blushing.
”Daddy! What else did he say?” Zhou Sitian hurriedly pursued the question.
”He told us to take care of ourselves, and said that whether it’s a boat or something else, it’s something outside of ourselves, so don’t take it too seriously.”
Zhou Sitian was startled, then nodded, yeah, that was like something dad would say. At this point, the last trace of her dissatisfaction with Li Zheng dissipated. If he wanted to hand over the ship, just hand it over, Little Zheng was the most precious relic of her dad. Thinking of this, Zhou Sitian’s gaze towards Li Zheng couldn’t help but soften a little more.
Li Zheng was unaware of his step-sister’s psychological changes. He wondered why their family didn’t have a single relative to step in after such a big thing happened, the clan concept was reasonably heavy in the eighties, not to mention that their family had a boat, which could be considered a great fortune in this era.
”Little Zheng, you’re just a little bit healthier, so don’t go to the ancestral hall at night. I’ll go and guard father.” Although the two youngest didn’t think their father was dead in their private hearts, the town’s adults had a strong message that those who died at sea couldn’t be reincarnated without a funeral or burial.
Therefore, Zhou Sitian put Li Qiang’s old clothes in a coffin and parked the spirit in the ancestral hall, only to choose the hour for burial after the first seven days.
Li Zheng shook his head, “I’ll go.” Occupying someone’s son’s body, he deserved to give two kowtows. Before Zhou Sitian could refuse, he had already put on his jacket and walked out.
The autumn night came exceptionally early, it was only four or five o’clock in the afternoon, and the sun had already disappeared. The towns in the eighties was not as brightly lit as the city, and the number of streetlights in the entire town could be counted on one hand. The two siblings walked one after the other on the only concrete road in the town, listening to the “ding ding ding ding” sound of the bicycle bells, silent.
The ancestral hall was brightly lit, but when they stepped over the high threshold, the poorly furnished hearth was eerily silent. A woman dressed in a brown blouse and black oversized pants was squatting on the ground folding paper money.
”Mom, I’ve brought you food.” A young man’s voice came from outside the shrine, and a young man about the same age as Zhou Sitian ran in with a few metal boxes as he leaned his bicycle against the tree at the entrance of the shrine.
When he saw Li Zheng and Zhou Sitian, he had a cheerful smile on his face, “Li Zheng, you could come?”
Before Li Zheng could reply, the woman in brown had straightened up and plucked out a glance at the young man, “What do you call this? Little Zheng just had a fever, he’ll naturally get better when the fever goes down.”
After reprimanding the young man, she turned her head to look at Li Zheng with a kind face, “Since you’re here, kowtow to your father, this is the last day.”
Li Zheng could see the tolerance and sympathy in her eyes, he nodded, and without asking who the woman was, he quickly walked to the futon, knelt down, and heaved three kowtows.
The cold stone slab touched his forehead, and a chill spread from his forehead to his brain. I am very grateful to your son for giving me a chance to be reborn. I promise that I will not waste my life, and I promise that the name “Li Zheng” will become the pride of all his relatives and even all Chinese people.
The smoke on the incense case spun around and slowly rose to the roof, then slowly disappeared into the dim light.
”Mom, I heard on the way that Yang Sheng went up to the Li family with the production team for Uncle Li’s boat!” The young man pulled the woman aside to whisper in her ear, but the shrine was too quiet, so even though their voices were already small, Li Zheng could hear them clearly.
The woman’s round eyes widened, and a hint of anger flashed in her eyes.
”Those group of attackers, seeing as their father isn’t here, they’ve come to their door. No, I have to go back tonight and talk to your father.”
”That’s right, Dad is the captain of the production team, and Yang Sheng a vice captain is jumping up and down there all day.”
”Shut up, that’s something you can say!”
Li Zheng’s eyes rolled. He stood up and silently sat on a small bench, folding paper money one by one. Zhou Sitian was obviously much more externalized, kneeling in front of the futon, crying so hard that she was sobbing, talking about the events of the past few days.
Li Zheng thanked Zhou Sitian for her words. There were some things that he didn’t need to ask at all, Zhou Sitian was already saying everything.
For example, Father Li was not an aborigine of the town, so he didn’t have any relatives in the town. Another example was that Father Li had been the captain of a production team when he was young, but had quit the team later for some reason. Also, Mother Li was not an ordinary folk woman, her father had been a big official in the capital, and the whole family was sent down to Qinghe Town, which was why she married Father Li, but later, before her grandfather was vindicated, she couldn’t stand the countryside anymore and ran away to Xiang Jiang with the black ship.
Yes, the town of Qinghe was part of the latter-day deep city, across the sea from the financial center of Asia, the Fragrant River, and if the weather was good, one could still see the revolving restaurant on the top floor of the Fragrant River Tower on the hillside north of the town.
Li Zheng and Zhou Sitian stayed at the ancestral hall until nine o’clock in the evening, then Mother Zheng walked them back, saying that the child was weak and that tomorrow was the day of burial, so they should go back to rest quickly.
With the Zheng family’s help, Father Li’s father’s burial went smoothly, and after two days, Li Zheng could see that the townspeople’s expressions had gradually changed from sympathy to desire to start talking, and he knew… the matter of the boat could not be delayed any longer.
So the night after Father Li’s burial, Li Zheng brought Zhou Sitian to the Zheng family. Zheng Jianguo was the current captain of the production team in Qinghe Town, and he was the captain who was still supported by Father Li, which was why Father Li had a disagreement with Yang Sheng, who was the vice captain of the production team at the time.
When they arrived, the Zheng family had just finished dinner, and Mother Zheng was cleaning up the dishes, and when she saw the two of them, she immediately had a big smile on her face.
”Little Zheng is here, this boy just came, what else is he bringing, your family’s situation is clear to aunt! Take it all back!” When Mama Zheng saw that Zhou Sitian was going to hand over the basket in her hand, she even refused to take it.
Zhou Sitian couldn’t help but look at Li Zheng, who smilingly took the basket from his sister’s hand and placed it on the Zheng family’s dining table, lifting the lid of the basket. The mellow aroma of chicken soup spread out, causing Zheng Xiaodong, who was doing his homework in the inner room, to peek out as well.
”Auntie, this is the old hen boiled from the old hen sent by Vice Captain Yang last time, my sister and I have small appetites, we can’t eat so much, it will be a waste. And Brother Xiaodong will be taking the college entrance exam next year, right now is a critical time, now is the time to make up for it .” Li Zheng said with a sincere face.
This was said to appeal to Mother Zheng’s heart. Although she knew that her boy’s grades were not good, she was still looking forward to the legendary college entrance examination that could make “carp jump the dragon gate”. She heard that the one with the best grades in the boy’s class had an egg in the house every day.
“This …..” Mother Zheng obviously hesitated.
Li Zheng didn’t care about Mother Zheng, and smilingly turned his head over to greet Zheng Xiaodong, “Brother Xiaodong, come eat the chicken leg.”
Zheng Xiaodong swallowed saliva. He looked at Mother Zheng and Zhou Sitian, who stood still, and dawdled to the dining table.
Looking at her son’s appearance, Mother Zheng’s last refusal was also weak. “Eat it, leave some for your dad!” She said grumpily.