We had a grand Thanksgiving, a few days late, but just as happy and special a family gathering as it is every year. We have so much to be thankful for. I looked around the table as we prayed and it’s all I could do to keep my tears in check.
A few could not come; those who live abroad, and my favorite golfer who was in Mauritius. But we had them in our hearts as we thanked God for His amazing bounty.
It always astounds me when I realize that except for a handful of close friends and significant others who came to celebrate with us, I am at the root of this mini barangay.
It has been so worth it. The love and warmth that surround me in my twilight years are beyond description. I am grateful.
On your marks
The frenzy of the holidays has revved up a couple of notches. Have you noticed? It makes me a little nervous. I am not done with shopping. And there’s another menu to plan for Christmas Eve. Pressure!
But our parol lights are up. This year we went traditional Pinoy—white stars with tassels. I love the warm glow right outside my bedroom window. Our Christmas tree looks splendid. There are already several presents under it, way ahead of Santa Claus.
The malls are packed. Are people shopping? There are bazaars sprouting all over the place. My daughter loves them. I have neither patience nor energy for that. But I am fascinated by the innovative and creative gift ideas posted online by inspired entrepreneurs. One of the latest creations of I.M. Presa, maker of the clever and fashionable circle shawls, is a “bag coat,” to protect your pricey branded handbags from the rain. What will they think of next?
And then there’s the inevitable traffic. That’s a given. Saturdays have been erratic, but bearable, and Sundays are always wonderful cruising days. But not for long. Soon that “light to moderate” traffic advisory will be a thing of the past.
I am amused at the way we have become acclimated to this daily torture. Have you listened to how we try to explain or even make excuses for bumper-to-bumper conditions?
“Well, it’s Friday.” “Aha, it’s pay day!” When skies are cloudy we say: “The weather is not helping.” Or “There must be an accident up ahead.” Someone asks: “What does Waze say? Ninety minutes from Magallanes to Buendia? That’s not too bad. It was worse last week.” Even when we crawl at snail’s pace we are appreciative. “At least we’re moving.”
Are we so accustomed to this misery that it now seems normal? Have we lost hope for things to get better? That’s a dangerous attitude. Watch that it does not lull you into complacency.
Someone posted aerial shots of Los Angeles freeways on the eve of Thanksgiving. It was bad. But at least they were driving in their designated lanes; no one was weaving in and out just to get half a foot ahead of the rest. Why do we do that here? Is it ignorance, a lack of discipline or the absence of respect? All of the above?
In our neighborhood it takes more than a half hour to get from our village to the malls. We could walk there in 10 minutes. During rush hour Zapote looks like a parking lot. By the way, why do they call it “rush hour” when the cars are stuck and going nowhere?
And through all this, our new gates in Ayala Alabang remain closed. The San José gate around the corner from us is still padlocked. When and if it ever opens, where is the road that leads us out? I don’t see one. Does the new board have any answers? People want to know.
Oh and while I’m on a rant, I have another question. How long does one have to wait for the release of license plates for a new car? Is eight months normal? I am told that it depends on whom you know. Really? I thought that system was over and done with. Just saying.
Christmas is in the air.
You can feel it. But just as I start getting all warm and fuzzy about the season, I watch the news. There is such hate and discord all over the world. Another missile! God help us. What will it take to bring peace on earth?
Season of love
At this time of year, all roads lead home. That’s where the heart is. There is always a feast and families gather close to celebrate, no matter the size of their table.
One of my dearest friends loves the drama of the “empty chair.” She stages this to perfection every time. I don’t think my family would go for the idea. But we do remember the ones who have gone home to be with Jesus and we miss them. How could we not?
I recently revisited “Christmas in Heaven,” a beautiful song written by Paul Merino and Jeremy Johnson. It asks the questions that most of us hold quietly in our hearts.
Let me share a few lines:
I wonder: Is snow falling down on the streets of gold?