I love birthday parties—especially mine. There can never be too many candles on my cake. They say, “Growing old is a privilege denied to many.” So when others get depressed with the passing of the years, I say, “Keep ’em coming!”
Of course, for practical purposes and because of AR (age related) diminished lungpower, I get the symbolic one candle to blow.
At my celebration the singing was beautiful. Have you ever heard the birthday song done in spontaneous, unrehearsed three-part harmony? Of course it helps that there are a couple of seasoned singers in the family. The rest are just long-time wannabes caught up in the moment.
Before I blew my candle, someone called out: “Make a wish.” But I was out of wishes. How could I ask for anything more? Except maybe for my other children and grandchildren who live far away to be here with me. Otherwise, I couldn’t think of a thing.
Lunch was at Manila Golf Club. I hadn’t been there in over a decade and I caught myself remembering the last time, that one lazy afternoon long ago, enjoying that same view, sipping iced tea, reminiscing and feeling senti with an old flame.
My daughter was shocked. “Mom! Were you flirting?” Perhaps I was at that. All I can tell you is that it felt good. After all, at our ages, it was no longer playing with fire, maybe just remembering the warmth.
“Flirting with an ex.” That sounds like a good subject for another piece. Will I dare in 2017?
We had two long tables (very long). We were 30. It was just my children, their families and I. The food was superb.
The one gift I opened took my breath away. It was a framed collection of quotes. Each child and grandchild had chosen one nugget of sorts from my “rocking chair” series over the years. What a thoughtful gesture. I was deeply touched.
I believe any writer will tell you that the biggest reward we can receive for our work is to know someone reads it. Let me now say that knowing your own family reads you and that they care about what you have to say is infinitely more desirable. It is better than striking gold.
No more bazaars!
It started as a rumor. I read about it first on Facebook. But I believe it is now a well-known fact that the very successful Christmas bazaars, which opened every year around late October or early November until Christmas Day in Ayala Alabang Village, are gone forever. The bazaar and other similar “flea market” ventures have been banned and starting next year will be a thing of the past.
I overheard a bunch of young housewives at the salon the other day bemoaning the association’s decision and blaming it on the “bored old residents” in the village. “They have not stopped complaining about how it bothers them, about the traffic snarls they have to contend with, about not being able to take their leisurely late afternoon walks, about people parking on their streets, that it annoys their pets, and about outsiders gaining access to the village and invading their privacy.”
I was both amused and offended. The old and the aging always get the rap for speaking up. In the past I heard a few disgruntled residents, both young and old, who voiced their complaints. But no one really listened. And no action was ever taken.
The last straw apparently was the last mammoth bazaar held outside St. James the Great Parish Church and advertised as the largest bazaar ever in the South.
People even from far away Greenhills came in droves. Traffic was like Edsa on Friday evenings. Our drive home from the village gate, which normally takes five minutes, took almost an hour.
There are as many residents dismayed as there are that are happy about the ban. I called the association office to confirm and the lady I talked to sounded mournful when she told me the news was, indeed, true.
This is the last season for the Cuenca Christmas bazaar. Some have suggested that the stubborn refusal to open extra gates in the village has not helped the cause of bazaar concessionaires. Is that issue now dead and buried?
But let’s not open another can of worms. It’s Christmas.
It’s not about gifts
Ready or not, here it comes. Another week and it is Christmas Day.
Quickly we take an inventory of our lists and schedules of things to do. Is everything wrapped and tagged under the tree? Have we missed anyone? Is the kitchen ready for Noche Buena? How late does the supermarket stay open on the Eve?
Is it too hectic for you? Have you gotten so busy you forgot what matters most?
When I sense a disconnect I read again the story of the shepherds and angels in Bethlehem. I listen to the lyrics of “Mary Did You Know?”
And then I feel Christmas.
It is not about parties and gifts. It is about the heart.
It’s about Jesus. Are we ready to bring His Light to a world in darkness? Here are Christmas gift suggestions:
“To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.” —Oren Arnold
Happy sponsors at the Pen’s ‘33 Years of Christmas’