Press "Enter" to skip to content

HONORING MY MOTHER | Approaching the year before 70

Once upon a time, too long ago, I was silently watching my grandpa Ute comfortably snug in the old rocking chair in our lanai reading the morning papers and I thought, wow, he’s ancient. Not only was he a survivor of the last world war, he had also spent half his life as a veteran rambler, traveling through the country’s main islands, working the roads, eventually becoming a Department of Highways construction foreman, then in the process pursued a lost love, chased her from Cebu to Davao, then settled down for good and retired. Of course, I didn’t see all that right away in the figure resting in our lanai. Much came from my mom who on occasion loved to talk about what he went through until his untimely death at 92. Surely, his was a colorful story worth hearing.

My father too had his own share of similar adventures. A Bataan native who as a young boy evaded the Japanese forces with his mother Antonietta somewhere in the hills of Bukidnon during WWII, later sold vegetables at the market, then later became a salesman for Dutch Paint and later a cola drink. He married my mom and had a total slew of nine. Spent his waning years in a rocking chair too, watching the world roll by until his peaceful passing at 93. His birth and young years growing up along the beaches of Cabcaben, Bataan, up till his death a few years back is now unceremoniously punctuated by a mere dash in print noting his birth and death but in that tiny line there is much history.

Perhaps like everyone else from their generation, the trying times may have forged them to become very much their own man, turning out not only to be hardworking, but turning into hardier individuals and able fathers themselves. It may have been these hard times of war and strife which separate their generation from the rest of us. As it is, these rugged individuals of the old times must indeed be considered ancients when we’re put alongside their kind.

I read somewhere. If there’s anything one should stop wearing after the age of sixty, it’s the weight of other people’s opinions. I feel I must insert this somehow because I am so certain my grandpa and my father must have already been so fed up with hearing others, especially the younger ones, telling them what they think. After all, lest we forget, they are the end-product of their environs and ours is just plainly soft to what they endured.

This is why, nearing sixty-nine (a musical number) in a few days, I ask myself, why am I still easily goaded into being trapped on some conventions and distinctions and not being pretty much there like being my own man. Softy softie, product of my peers, is it or just another case of that’s-the-way-it-is? I might as well start, from this day on, the weight is gone.



Powered By ICTC/DRS