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Christmas in Washington: Dumplings & a tribute in the snow

Four years ago today, David Chen – well known Tai Chi instructor, noted artist, son, husband, father – died from complications of surgery. Today, his wife and son and father and a former Tai Chi student winded through the snowy Parklawn Cemetery in Rockville to honor him, just as
they have done every year since “he left,” as his wife Joanna put it.

Chen's son came in from Shanghai. His father, 83, arrived from Taiwan. With a big shovel, they cleared a short path from the road to a large marble tombstone (“David Chen 1955-2005”). They set up a table with some of his favorite foods – spicy Chinese traditional food with no known words in English to describe them, curry dumplings, fruit, and Arizona Iced Green Tea.

They shivered, and the wind reddened their faces, but they warmed up around a small fire, burning Chinese money and symbolic gold and incense. They prayed.

By Michael S. Rosenwald  | December 25, 2009; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Christmas in Washington  
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