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HONORING MY MOTHER | Taking On Twenty-Three

By Icoy San Pedro

ON THE way downtown, most of the streets are eerily empty, except for some dedicated city sweepers, complete in their surrender of cleaning the remnants of last night’s revelry. A few other stragglers remain; some rushing home to get some shut-eye like security guards anticipating their after-duty hours and a few homeless huddled in some dark alleys with empty Jollibee food packs by their side. 

Except for the Covid years, one could say this has been the template of the hours after daybreak every January 1st. With the revelry over, this city will be slow in waking up. In Many suburbs, it will seem like a drunken giant, stirring from an unhinged bacchanalian feast of lechon, fried chicken, ham, quezo de bola, beer, wine and more wine. But if one looked at it, perhaps like the typical Grinch of the mountain would, will the brief dose of happy be worth your coming struggle in making it through the year ahead? As his tenet goes, instead of happy new year, wish me ‘good luck’. I’ll need it in surviving the next year. Sure as daybreak, it’ll be back to work slaves, after celebrating New Year’s Eve, (as my neighbor likes to say). But I beg to disagree with the grinchy ones; all the days leading to January 2, starting with the first of September, up through Christmas and finally New Year, are definitely worth it. While it may have been a frenzy of many things to different people, that special time dedicated to planning and meeting up with family and friends will always seem like a favorable arrangement to me.

 Whether others may not accept it, during those days, the yuletide season actually imbibes a peace on earth spirit, even for a while that is. The few days speeding up to Christmas eve, once you round them up, is phenomenal by themselves. Unfavorable acquaintances, relentless political bickering, back-talking office-mates, etcetera, these are all doused with that magic potion of “all’s well”, until the clock strikes twelve marking the dawn of the December 26th and especially that of January 2. This inexplicable indication of this period’s sedative is only comparable to the calm and crime-free hours accompanying a Pacquiao fight or a Pope visit. 

In all, human nature is strange. That two-faced representation of theater, where one face smiles and the other frowns, may be the general representation of drama and comedy. However, painful as it is to admit, they might as well also represent the hypocrisy we humans so vehemently hide in the shadows. As a song lyrics goes, “I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other holding a peace-sign…” In another perspective yet; with all that’s happening in the world, who wouldn’t deny the so-called spirit of Christmas is only used as a seasonal pause. Most certainly, armies and rebels do it, while churches and political parties are most certainly good if not masters of it. While temporarily sheathing the blades, messages of goodwill will abound, but only while supply lasts, and after that, Christmas season is truly over. So, welcome 23 warts and all, we’ll take whatever you can dish out.


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