My college friend and I recently had a virtual heart-to-heart session. It felt good. We hardly ever have a chance to reminisce about the good old days without feeling like fossils. We felt free to crack up over old adventures. We didn’t have to explain our silly bursts of laughter to anyone. At our ages, there is little or no chance at all for us to tell it like it used to be. We have to stop and consider: Will our children misunderstand? Will the younger ones take offense or feel alluded to when we shake our heads or frown?
Or worse, will they think that we are odd and old and being too repetitious? After all, they have heard these stories many times over. By the way, some young ones don’t hesitate to tell us so. They don’t realize it makes us feel like we’ve lost it. But it’s true. We don’t get tired of telling the same old tales. Why do they seem better and funnier with each retelling? I am convinced that the reason we do this is because we want to hang on to something that is truly ours, that only we know about, with details that only we can remember. And we have the liberty to embellish and polish, edit and rewrite, because no one is around to refute it. This is our story. And we own it.
I was at a christening party the other day. It was held at the banquet hall of Milky Way, where everything and anything they serve is delicious. Dessert was their signature halo-halo. The best!
Baby Estela Garcia was the honoree. Her parents Monica Llamas and AJ Garcia were our lovely hosts. The month-old bundle of joy cried all through the baptismal rites. “Good lungs,” gushed the doting Lolo.
I remember as a little girl going to these celebrations and waiting for agua madrina, when the godparents threw coins for good fortune. The tradition originated in Spain, where padrinos threw money and sugar-coated almonds at the church entrance. Many years later it became the highlight of our baptismal celebrations at home. In my frilly dress, I scrambled with the rest of the kids and then went off to a corner to inspect my loot and count how many silver coins I had caught, some in mid-air.
I noticed there were fewer people wearing masks at the party. No beso-beso, though.
Clean it up, please
Have you ever watched “Breaking News” on your live feed online? Don’t the comments posted simultaneously in real time distract you? They are annoying. And the language!
I am all for freedom of expression. It is one of the most precious rights of living in a democracy. But don’t these freedoms come hand in hand with a proviso of sorts to deter their misuse or abuse?
Isn’t there a regulatory body that sets boundaries? These hard-fought freedoms are not to be used recklessly or taken as tacit permission to insult, malign and destroy. Didn’t we once upon a time self-regulate our language, based on decency, integrity and respect?
The new technologies have given us unlimited platforms from which to disseminate our gripes, vent anger, and propagate hatred and malice without a second thought. There are no filters. The language is disgusting.One can expect this from paid bashers. But many of the nasty and demeaning posts are from educated and supposedly decent people. I know some of them. God knows I am no prude and my vocabulary can get quite colorful. But this has gotten out of hand. Where do we draw the line?
My friend tells me this is the new normal. God help us all.
My ‘senior moment’
I had a huge one recently. No, it is not something I forgot. Rather, it is about what I remember. What I miss.
I saw a painting of an elderly lady wearing baro’t saya, sitting in a rocking chair, faint smile on her lips, and a little boy in front of her, holding her hand to his forehead. Mano po?
It made me nostalgic. Suddenly I wanted to cry. There was nothing sad about the picture. It was beautiful. I don’t know why it made me misty-eyed. Maybe the air of respect, akin to reverence that the painting exuded, moved me. It was powerful.
I think I was close to tears because I was reminded of a long-lost era of tradition that sadly, is no more. And I felt like I was missing someone or something. There was almost a sense of loss, as if something very precious, a treasure, had slipped away.
I don’t think it was the “mano po” gesture that I longed for or missed. We never did that at home. More is the pity. I was taught to be gracious, to kiss both cheeks, or shake hands. And that was lovely. But I have always thought “mano po” was such a lovely custom.
Today, my great-granddaughter has her own version. Leia takes my hand and puts it on her soft chubby cheek. I love it.I have made up my mind that at the next family gathering I will put “mano po” in a suggestion box. With COVID-19 uppermost in everyone’s mind, the idea may catch on. After all, we have been diligently washing our hands, haven’t we? I sing the Happy Birthday song twice, in my mind, as I scrub and brush. Don’t you?