257 page story

The Other Side of the Fence

The Lions Club’s Decision to pave their parking lot is halted when an old Chinese graveyard is found. The discovery surprises everyone except Wong Jie. Her parents are buried there, and it is her wish to join her ancestors when her time comes. Jie is 96 years old, and that may be soon. Molly, her granddaughter, wants to help preserve the cemetery and make Jie’s wish come true. The North Idaho city leaders would rather see a parking lot. Molly and Jie have a fight on their hands as they battle city hall.

The tales told by Jie to Molly about their ancestors, the Chinese immigrants brought in to help build the Northern Pacific railroad in the 1880s, is richly detailed in this heartwarming, multi-generational story of a people, a family and a town.

Insert from the book:

 Wong Jie’s husband, Pai Number Two, parked their new 1946 Dodge pickup at the edge of the road on the east end of Pinegrove Cemetery. She glanced up at him and took a deep breath as he opened her door, then grabbed the rake from the back of the truck. Tall, stiff weeds snapped under her steps. Pai went ahead with the rake, breaking a trail.
           “It is so dry. Like when I was a girl, before that bad fire.”
“Yes.” Pai surveyed the area. “It’s sad our parents must lie under such parched earth, and again without the rocks I placed to mark their graves. Vandals probably,” he shook his head.
           Behind them in the cemetery, Ponderosa pines lifted branches to the sun and sent lean shadows across ornate tombstones. Between some of them, sunflowers drooped, and near others, leaves floated from lilac bushes landing among dried iris plants now bent to the ground.
         “I think the graves are near.” Jie’s voice drifted in the breeze.
        “Only a few more feet.” Pai waited for her to catch up with him. “There.” He pointed to a thick clump of grass. “This looks like the right spot.” He swung the rake to remove more weeds.
          Together they sat on the ground he had cleared. Jie laid down the bouquet of daises she had clutched in her hand. They chanted a prayer, and then sat in silence. “I’m exhausted. My mind and body both hurt. I’m only of forty-three years but hunting for the graves always makes me weary.” She bowed her head almost as though prophesying, whispered, “I will be buried here too, but first I must make sure all who will hear know of our family heritage.”