"No one thought I would amount to much," Uncle John said,as he stood in the kitchen,showing me how he put together an award-winning four-course dinner. I had just graduated from university,and this dinner was his gif t to me. It felt great to have a well-known chef cooking for me. On top of this,I was excited because in a few days he was going to compete in The Big-Time Cook Off ,a nationwide TV cooking contest. When Uncle John was young,his family lived in the countryside. His mother taught at a local school,but when John was 10,she had to quit to take care of her elderly mother. Until then,his father had been kind and had had enough time to play with John and his two younger sisters. But as bills kept piling up,the family got into trouble. John’s father finally had to take a job in a city far away,so he could only come home on the weekends. Gradually,because of his busy work schedule,John’s father began looking tired whenever he came home. To tell the truth,he had changed from being good-humored to being in a bad mood all the time. When he was home,he just wanted to rest. He often scolded John for small things. Wanting to be accepted by his father,John tried to do his best but never felt he was good enough. Eventually,he started avoiding his father. He began hanging out at the shopping mall with friends,sometimes skipping his classes. Little by little John’s grades got worse. His parents and teachers were worried about his future. One Sunday morning,while John’s mom was out taking care of her own mother,his father was napping in the TV room. John’s sisters were hungry,so John started to cook something for them. He was not sure how to cook,but he did not want to bother his father. Suddenly,the kitchen door opened,and his father was standing there. "Dad,I’m sorry if I woke you up. Chelsea and Jessica are hungry,and I was trying to cook them some eggs." His dad looked at him seriously for a moment. "Eggs? Eggs aren’t good for lunch on a beautiful Sunday like today. Let’s grill some steaks in the backyard." "Are you sure? You must be tired." "It’s OK. I like cooking. It reminds me of my college days when I worked part-time as a cook. I’ll show you how to prepare delicious steaks." To John’s surprise,his father became energetic when he started cooking. He took John aside and explained to him in detail that cooking was,in a way,like a science project. "You need to measure the ingredients precisely and know which items go together. If you master this,you can provide pleasure for a great many people." John felt close to his father for the first time in a long time. From then on,John spent more time at home. He started cooking for his family regularly,and then later for his friends at college. John always felt happy when he cooked,and this happiness spilled over into other areas of his life. Uncle John worked his way through college with jobs in restaurants,and eventually he became a chef at a famous restaurant. He really liked the job and worked hard developing his own special techniques. He was finally able to open his own restaurant serving his unique style of food. He won several awards and cooked for the rich and famous. This brings us back to the contest. Uncle John and I were excited about his being selected. Yet,he shared something really touching with me there in the kitchen. "You know,Mike," Uncle John said,"I’m thrilled to be able to go on TV as part of The Big-Time Cook Off. But what makes me the happiest is to stand here with you,one of the people I care about,and talkーjust you and me. It’s exactly like what my dad did for me one fine day in summer,so many years ago. And that made all the difference in my life."
Uncle John’s father began working in the city because ［ ］.