It’s my last week in Atlanta. I can’t figure out the weather. Last week, temperatures were mild, in fact a bit chilly in the morning and at sundown. Lots of people, except those on the weather channel, thought it was an early prelude to autumn. Or at least, they hoped it was.
But it is barely September.
As it turns out, that was only wishful thinking.
Still, despite being close to 90 degrees at noon, it has been gorgeous. The sun is out, bright and glorious, and we have clear blue skies. There have been no thunderstorms in over a week. That’s pretty good here in the deep South.
Two weeks ago we had such a fierce electrical storm, it “fried” our TV system. Automatic gates at “gated communities” were on lockdown. It was panic time in the posh enclaves for a few hours.
No, summer is not about to bid an early adieu. It will be a while yet until the first autumn breezes start changing the lush greens into a riot of gold, red, and burnt sienna. I will miss seeing that happen this year. Fall is my favorite season.
Whatever, I am looking forward to heading home. Of course I do not relish the thought of spending one whole day (and night) confined in a plane, no matter all the comfy and cozy private cocoons, stretch-out beds and down comforters.
But I can almost taste the sights and sounds that will greet me on arrival. I can feel the delicious joy of coming home. I pray our weather is good; please God, no storms, no more floods.
These last few days in Atlanta have been filled with nostalgic moments.
An old friend came to visit, and brought delightfully warm and tender memories of a happy “once upon a time” in Hawaii. Pamela Jo, who I met in Honolulu (about a lifetime ago), has been a blessing, friend, sister, daughter, confidante and anchor for me over the last 40 some years. I call her my seventh child. She flew in from Arizona and stayed a brief but fun and meaningful six days. Now it is time to miss her again. Aloha PJ.
Ho ho ho?
Have we started playing holiday songs in Manila? After all, we are now in the first “ber” month, and for storeowners, this is the beginning of the end—of the year, that is.
It is no different here in America. I was shopping yesterday, and was greeted by a lavish display of Christmas ornaments at Costco (like our S&R). The twinkling lights cast spooky shadows on the Halloween showcase beside it. A bit early, true, but clever marketing nonetheless. Whatever sells and whenever it sells, I guess.
For me, it is just another reminder that time is whizzing right by, so fast it takes my breath away.
We celebrated my grandnephew’s 19th birthday at Osteria, a charming pizzeria right in the heart of the fashionable Virginia Highlands district in Atlanta. We had a feast of fried ravioli, steamed mussels, lobster mac and cheese, and their famous pizza.
The dough is repeatedly tossed and twirled in the air to get that special thin crispy/chewy crust they are known for. Then they add fresh tomatoes and thin slices of prosciutto and bake it in a wood-burning oven.
From the fire, it is topped with shavings of parmigiano reggiano and a profusion of delicious arugula. The final touch is a generous squeeze of lemon. Downed with an ice cold Coors light, this was definitely a meal to write home about.
By the way, why do many restaurant owners ignore the necessity for good acoustics in their establishments? We have a few of those “can’t hear myself think” places here, too.
Osteria was uncomfortably noisy. It didn’t help that seated next to our table was a party of six with a rather beautiful young blonde who had an incredibly loud, screeching, strident voice.
One could not help staring to check if this grating sound emanating from the mouth of such a pretty woman was for real. I guess she needed to make sure she was heard above the din.
On Facebook, the numerous photographs of the recent protest march show an impressive turnout. Perhaps not the million hoped for, but I think their statement was heard loud and clear.
There was also a video online. The song that played in the background gave me “chicken skin.” It talks about heroes, about unity. The message is simple: “bayani tayong lahat.”
It has a lovely melody, and the lyrics are sure to tug at the heartstrings of any Filipino, whoever and wherever he may be. It reminded me of Apo’s inspiring repertoire circa Edsa I. I wonder who wrote this one.
Other photos showed placards screaming impassioned slogans.
Unfortunately, no matter how eloquent or clever, it takes more than signs and streamers to heal the heart of a nation. But they do awaken in its people some measure of renewed patriotism. They remind us it is okay and even fashionable to love our country and to show it.
Call me jaded or cynical, but from past patriotic exercises and other rallies, I have learned that the fire that blazes unashamedly in these events can quickly be reduced to a heap of embers, if not totally doused and extinguished, in no time at all. We get inspired by the music and stirred by drumbeaters; we rant and rave, ask questions and demand answers. Who can we believe?
It is okay to protest. But just for a moment, let’s stop looking for people to blame. Time for a heart check: could it be that we are part of the problem? Think about it. If we are, then what and how can we change?
Is there still time to turn it all around? They say that if we set our hearts to it, if we give it our all without counting cost or seeking advantage in any shape or form, yes we can!