THE WEEK is over. Finally. It was hectic and felt like there were not enough hours to do what had to be done—to clear my old agenda, empty drawers, throw old papers and, most important of all, bring an important project to a successful close after almost two years of hard work.
All the anxiety that was bottled up in me is now gone and, in its place, there is an immense sense of relief. It’s not quite over. But we have hurdled the hardest part.
Because I was swamped, my chair didn’t rock last Sunday. I had this desperate need to come up for air. Never mind the details. Suffice to say that it was stressful. And for some reason people of age don’t take to stress too well.
Of course, looking back, I now realize that I did a lot of running in place, only in the mind, of course. Do you do that? Silly me. For a moment there, I forgot that the best
way to face a crisis is on your knees.
Two Sundays ago I wrote about playing favorites with our children. I must have struck a raw nerve somewhere. I got a couple of stingers, one flatly saying I am full of it and don’t understand a thing about parenting. Did I ruffle some feathers? If I stepped on a few toes, I apologize. But this I know: It is painful when someone holds a mirror to your face.
‘Amigas para siempre’
The traffic situation has cut me off, almost completely from Greenhills, San Juan, Mandaluyong and anywhere on that part of Edsa and beyond. When you live in the south like I do, you need to be armed with foresight, wisdom and patience to schedule a trip.
I had been warned but was once caught in it, and it took two hours to cross from the Fort to downtown Makati. I swore, never again.
Thankfully, on Sundays, it’s a different story.
And so it was that I made a date last Sunday to dine with two old friends at Sugi Greenhills. Called for a table, only to find out they closed that branch all of three years ago. Talk about being out of the loop.
Our last-minute change of venue took us to Mario’s on Tomas Morato. God bless them. Mario’s never disappoints. It’s still the same delicious Caesar salad we first loved when they were in Makati. Their gambas and salpicao are to die for. Service is, as usual, excellent. How I wish they were closer to Alabang. But I will see them again and again, on a Sunday, of course.
We had planned an early dinner. But we stayed on long after dessert and coffee.
Nothing beats spending time with old friends. One is my forever, closest confidante. When I hear the expression “I’ve got your back,” Maria comes to mind. Faithful. Courageous. Protective. She can be a nag sometimes, but all for the good. No, we don’t agree on everything. That’s the best part of it. We discuss but we don’t argue. We listen and learn. There is mutual respect.
My other friend is Meg, petite, pretty, soft-spoken but feisty, sensitive, generous to a fault. She lived in London but put a roof over my head during my darkest times in New York. While I budgeted taxi fare and trips to the hot dog stand for my meals, I lived in her stunning Park Avenue apartment, with uniformed doormen, a Spanish-speaking cleaning lady and scented French bedsheets from D. Porthault.
She recently lost the love of her life. As she grieves his passing, I pray that she finds the courage to pick up the pieces and embark on a life now her own. It won’t be easy. But she has a treasure of beautiful memories to keep her warm for the rest of her life.
Sadness in the Gold Coast
Rafael P. Toda, Feb. 7, 1928-Jan. 15, 2016.
We met when I was 17.
Piling went to school in De La Salle, Manila; Bellarmine Prep in California, University of San Francisco and University of the East (UE).
We crossed paths at UE where I was studying to be a teacher. He bought me lunch at the cafeteria every day. And all he talked about was my cousin, Mily Razon. He was smitten.
They were married in 1954 and had four children.
Piling was once administrator of his family’s sugar holdings in Pampanga and their real estate investments in Manila. In 1963, he invented and promoted “Pelota Filipina,” and it caught on like wildfire all over the country.
In 1972, Piling and his family moved to Australia, where he joined Philippine Airlines as a senior executive. When he turned 60 he retired in the Gold Coast.
Piling went home to be with Jesus on Jan. 15. Grieving him today are his wife, Mily; sons Rafael, José and Carlos; daughter Marilou, and grandchildren Rafa, James, William, Charlie and Mia.
I last saw Piling two years ago. We had an animated
conversation in his house. I loved his company. I will miss him.
Piling was an old-school gentleman, a man of his word, kind, humble and self-effacing, and in his later years, easily moved to tears. He was a devoted husband, dad and grandfather.
I always envied Mily and Piling, their marriage. They were going on 62 years and he still flirted with her. And she still blushed. It was like when first they fell in love.
Yes, folks, it does happen. And not just in fairy tales.