Saturday, September 22, 2018
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My Chair Rocks

When moms wait for that ‘all clear’ signal

/ 05:34 AM September 17, 2017

I am sad to read that the old Capitol Theater on Escolta will be demolished.

Another one bites the dust!


Many treasured memories will come crashing down with this beautiful Art Deco structure. National Artist for Architecture Juan F. Nakpil designed it in the 1930s.

My mind goes back to afternoons of mischief; cutting class to see a movie at the Capitol with “the boys,” dabbing cologne on our wrists, and getting all flushed and giddy just sitting close and holding hands.

It didn’t matter what we watched. I remember sitting through cowboy flicks, trying to look excited when the cavalry came to the rescue. The plots were all the same. Bad guys always lost.

Funny how today I miss those inane movies, the sound of horses’ hooves, even the bloodcurdling screams of Indians off to scalp their “paleface” foes.

And I remember his dimples and the touch of his hand. Sigh.


The other day we talked about tattoos—not my favorite topic over lunch. But the conversation had nothing to do with how, where or why to get them. It was about showing them off.

Some wear them openly, proudly. Defiantly even. Others hide them from public scrutiny. Either must have a reason. ’Nuff said.

Irma woes


Last weekend was stressful. I was on a hurricane watch. I held my breath waiting for Irma to make landfall in Florida where my youngest child lives. And I wished that my father had not taught me so much about typhoons. Watching CNN terrified me.

I remembered Yoling in 1970. It was fierce. I was in Manila visiting Papa. The house was damaged when the roof of the house next door landed on top of ours. I saw a security booth get airborne, fly down our street and crash several houses away.

This same daughter, then 3, was with me. She thought it was fun as eight of us crouched inside Papa’s bathroom, our only safe place, where we ate a hurried but delicious lunch of adobo and bananas.

But preparing for Irma was no fun. Hurricane shutters needed to be installed. There were long lines at the supermarket and gas stations. And in half a day, my daughter literally cooked up a storm to use all the perishables in her freezer.

A cousin and her family sought shelter with them because her house is made of wood. My daughter’s house was built after 1992, the year that hurricane Andrew devastated Florida. Apparently the old building code was then revised to make sure that new homes built henceforth were “hurricane-ready.”

Does anyone know if we have such a building code here? Just asking.

Category 4

Sunday night, on the eve of her birthday, my “baby” and her family experienced the wrath of a Category 4 hurricane, hunkered down in their home in Lake Worth. The howling winds and raging rain lasted more than five hours, nonstop.

Although the eye of Irma did not hit them directly, the winds of over 120 mph were frightening. To make matters worse, several tornados touched down in their area.

At about 2 a.m. our time, she texted, “it is dark and very loud.”

We communicated through the night in spurts, careful to save on battery, me trying to reassure her and she telling me not to worry.

Has any mom you know ever learned how not to worry?

When one of your own is in harm’s way, something happens. I can’t describe it. It is difficult to breathe. There is an ache that overwhelms and consumes you until it finds you down on your knees.

During the war, when there were air raids, my mom often curled up on the floor and stayed there until she heard the “all clear” siren. And yet my sister and I were right there beside her.

Last weekend I didn’t sleep. I prayed. I read the 91st Psalm, over and over. I guess, like my mom, I was waiting for an “all clear” signal.

More weather

And as I write this, there is relentless rain from typhoon Maring. Another one waits in the wings.

What is causing all these unusual disturbances?

The naysayers insist there is no climate change, that global warming is a myth and part of a conspiracy theory. Whatever.

But Harvey overwhelmed Texas. Irma terrified Florida. There are pictures of how the winds sucked out part of the sea. An intensity-8 earthquake recently rocked Mexico. What does it all mean?

Christian author Max Lucado recently weighed in. Let me share his thoughts on what these calamities are telling us.

1. Stuff does not last. Relationships do. Survivors of these recent events did not lament their lost belongings. “If they mourned it was for people lost. If they rejoiced, it was for people found.” Think about what matters to you.

2. We really are in this together. “Lifeboats did not discriminate by color of skin. Rescuers did not ask if the needy were Republican or Democrat. Helicopter rescue was not offered only to the rich or educated. We have seen that humanity can come together and help one another.”

Another day ends, and I hear that power has been restored in my daughter’s house. By God’s grace, all seem to be slowly returning to normal.

And the message to all is loud and clear. It is gratitude, not fear nor anxiety that should bring us to our knees.

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