News headlines spoil my day. They make my coffee bitter. Hard as I try to not have them ruin my disposition, it is truly difficult to keep my emotions in check.
I am told that the news is bound to get worse. More people are up in arms. Plans are afoot for more protests. Another noise barrage is scheduled.
I spoke to a niece in Honolulu. Born and raised in San Francisco, she came to Manila for the first time ever, for a family reunion last June. She and her husband loved it and vowed to return. But that was in a quieter season.
She has kept up to date with events and now asks if it is still OK to visit. I told her: “By all means, make plans, but check again when you’re ready to buy the tickets.”
She said they may come after her trip to Washington DC. “I am joining the Million Women March on January 21st, a day after Trump’s inauguration. I am taking my 12-year-old granddaughter. She has to learn.” I agree.
Here at home we have our own demonstrations. The current unrest runs deep. The protestors are young.
In his article “Why We Must Protest,” opinion writer John Nery said: “The times call for it. Our dignity as free Filipinos has been challenged; our sense of heroism, of honor even, has been gravely insulted.”
At an early Christmas lunch last Sunday, table talk was all about the latest rage-and-rant gathering at People Power Monument on Edsa. The consensus was heartening. There was none of the eye-rolling, “not again!” type of reaction. If anything, there was frustration that this should be happening again.
All agreed that it took an act of “indecent haste” to wake up the millennials. One commented: “Finally they have taken up common cause on an issue they earlier knew or cared nothing about. This crash course in Philippine history has finally pushed them to the barricades.”
Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States and author of its Declaration of Independence, once said: “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”
Makes sense to me.
Growing old pains
Why is my age group in the habit of describing our stage of life as “waiting at the departure gate?” I hate that. No, I’m not in denial, but neither am I queuing up.
I want to squeeze every last drop of the time that remains. There’s much to learn. I have lots more to write. I want to laugh more, hopefully cry less and maybe even dance a little.
Christmas is in the air. There’s no nip in the air, not yet. We have warm days but it cools down at sunset, just a bit. But it’s there. I can feel it.
And it awakens in me thoughts about age-old family holiday traditions.
Every time we trim the tree, I miss my old ornaments. Where is our capiz collection, the Raggedy Anne doll made out of yarn and the battered gingerbread boy? I know they were all faded and old. But must we always make room for the new? Why?
I remember Tia Titing picking the choicest nuts to make unbelievably delicious dulce de pili. Her aceitunas aliñadas were the best. She used only Aceite de Oliva marca Santa Maria, no other brand.
For our traditional jamon en dulce, Mama insisted it had to be Marca Piña, from Ha Piek on Echague. I remember she cooked it in beer with several fragrant spices. Once it had cooled, she covered it with sugar and caramelized it with a red-hot iron syanse. Oh, that aroma!
When we started buying ready-to-eat ham, she was insecure. Was it good enough? It never was. Mama’s was always the best.
For Thanksgiving dinner, I have all kinds of help in the kitchen. But making the gravy is all mine. Every year, it is my second son who does the final tasting. And he is kind enough each year to tell me, “Mom, this is your best yet!” Bless his heart.
This year, Thanksgiving went without a hitch at our house. Our two huge turkeys and two extra breasts and all the trimmings were demolished.
Before dinner, we all stood around the table to give thanks. It was a beautiful moment, and a hush filled the room as my 11-year-old great grandson recited this prayer by Helen Steiner Rice: