Whatever else happens in our lives is just icing on the cake
2013! Now six days old, the New Year came in with the usual fanfare of fireworks, firecrackers, banned and otherwise, sparklers, horns and whistles. From our perch atop the Pacific Plaza in the Fort, we had the spectacular sight of muffled discord, muted pandemonium. Carefully sipping my chilled champagne from a proper enough flute, and watching the grapes bob up and down with each sip, I recalled other New Year’s Eves.
The strains of “Auld Lang Syne” still move me. I don’t know why. Half a day later, I watch on CNN the ball descend on Times Square in New York and at one with the hundreds of thousands of revelers, I listen to the sounds of Sinatra’s “New York New York,” and am misty eyed and nostalgic all over again.
Is it what we remember that makes us all weepy and sentimental? Every year, at the stroke of midnight, one is filled with a mixture of hope, joy and sadness, regret and expectation. There is that familiar tug in the heart that I used to feel many moons ago, knowing that the hand I held then was secure and true. Today it is nothing short of a miracle to look back with joy and not regret how it used to be.
I catch a glimpse of the lady beside me and see that she, too, has tears in her eyes. We hug and wish each other all good things. Deep in our hearts we both know that our “once upon a time” was the best. Whatever else happens in our lives is just icing on the cake. But God is generous and blesses abundantly. I am ready to bathe in His overflow.
It was a happy night, spent with family, as it should be. We gave thanks for the food on the table; lechon stuffed with truffle rice (why don’t they leave it well enough alone?), fabada, delicious fresh lumpia, baked parmesan chicken. Someone brought carne mechada and laing to die for. There was also gourmet kakanin, tsokolate eh and Mary Grace ensaimada for after midnight.
Will the eating stop now that there are no holidays left to celebrate?
What are your expectations for 2013? If you listen to the news you know there’s an election coming. For a brief moment there, the firecrackers made more noise than the politicians. But it’s back to the same old, same old. At least until May, it will be politics as usual for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which means listening to men and women speaking from both sides of the mouth, “politico” style.
While in Washington they try to avert a fiscal cliff, here at home we have some public officials who make me wish they would just do us all a favor and jump off one.
It will be a February wedding for my granddaughter. I can hardly believe this is the same child who dribbled and drooled all over her shaved ice in Honolulu. Now she is engaged, with a diamond ring on her finger, thinking of vows and promises, bridesmaids, flowers, satin and lace. I know she will look like a princess.
I admire the way young couples are so hands-on in their preparations, attending to every single detail, with the help, of course, of a wedding planner. We never had those in my day. Today, vows are personal, written and recited by the bride and groom. The music has special meaning for them and is not strictly religious. I like that.
I like weddings that are small and intimate, don’t you? Hardly seems possible anymore.
Every bride dreams of a beautiful wedding, of walking down the aisle in a cloud of white tulle, preceded by “ladies in waiting” in different shades of the color theme.
I recently heard that it is no longer unusual to request the guests to wear certain colors. When I asked about this, I was told that it assured a good “mix” for the photographs.
I have always believed it was a privilege to be invited to witness an all-important event in the lives of two people in love, and hoped that it was my presence that mattered. But to send invitations specifying dress color in order to enhance a photo shoot? Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?
I just noticed today’s date and another wave of nostalgia hit me. Jan. 6. We know it as the Feast of the Epiphany. I remember it as the birthday of Baltazara Kabigting Joaquin, Tita Sarah to us who held her close in our hearts.
Tita Sarah was tiny, an irrepressible bundle of energy and talent, with an effusive sense of humor, witty, a raconteur without equal, with a heart as big as all outdoors. Her brother-in-law, National Artist Nick Joaquin, called her “a dynamo.”
She was admirable; every inch a lady, a feisty woman, tender, a devoted mother, doting lola, excellent cook, decorator, dressmaker, actress, director, writer, teacher, mentor, friend. She was my second mother.
At the most crucial time of my life, Tita Sarah came to the rescue, making available, in those low-tech days of snail mail and carbon paper, documents and copies of all my old school records and a strong letter of recommendation that vouched for my character, proved my abilities as a teacher, and eventually provided a safe and legitimate life for me and my children in our adopted country.
Today, I thank God for her and respectfully salute this grand lady and wonderful friend.
Sarah K. Joaquin died on Jan. 30, 2002. She was 94. It has been 11 years. But I still miss her.
P.S. Tita Sarah directed me twice on stage. Once as the “other woman” in Somerset Maugham’s “The Constant Wife,” and another time as Josephine Bracken with Nick Agudo as my José Rizal. She was strict. I knew my lines. But she taught me my lights.
“Don’t look into them,” she said. “Don’t play up to them. Just let them light you up.” Good advice, on stage or off. I have not forgotten.