Wong’s Palace opened in 1978. That same year my grandparents started going there to eat. When my daughter was born we took her there and put in her the same high chairs I used as a baby.
It has been our family place my whole life. Every Christmas Eve dinner, birthdays and other celebrations. When I got into grad school we went there. When family came to visit we went there. I feel this ridiculous devastation for a place that makes good food.
It was the last place I saw my Uncle Paul alive, the last time I saw Uncle Gilling before he went into the hospital, the first time I met my Uncle Jack.
When I got home and told my daughter the news she gasped “but what are we going to eat on Christmas Eve?”
I have a picture of me on my eighth birthday, wearing brand new clothes that I got that day as a gift, with a huge stain on the front that I know came from Mr. Wong’s spareribs.
I went there with family two days before my wedding. We went there with my cousins before their family moved away. It was where we took my Gramps for his last birthday, the last time he left the Perley Rideau with family before he died. Part of me is so very glad I don’t have to tell him the place is closing down, but the idea of losing this place makes me miss him that much more. It’s been entwined with my life.
We would have gone there on his next birthday, I’m sure. And maybe it will be easier not going there and missing him. Or maybe I’ll just miss both more strongly.
Right now I miss him more than I have in a little while. The remembering does that. Knowing that going to this place always felt special, and he was one person in the whole world who always made me feel special.