Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The rolling hills in the movie “The Sound of Music” are one memorable place that has captured my imagination. I had always dreamed that someday, somehow, I would be able to visit this peaceful and wonderful place.
Something has come up that makes this dream, edge a little bit closer to reality. I could actually have at my fingertips thousands of available services I could select from with a click of my keypads; from hotels , to flights to holiday packages that are very cheap and affordable . I now could fulfill this dream of traveling to these dream places.
One trip I would absolutely enjoy would be the Tenerife holidays. Tenerife is a unique and exotic place to be. Now, my dream would no longer remain a pipe dream forever. I could actually select a cheap holiday that my pocket could afford.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Andrew looked through the lightly frosted window at the man inside, a shiver of cold rippling down his spine. He pulled his ragged jacket tighter around his skinny frame and rested his forehead on the glass. His breath created circles of fog which faded and reformed with each exhale. Soon the magic would begin.
Each night, as the last ray of sunlight slipped behind the busy city buildings, Andrew would make his way to the old man’s house to stare into the thinly paned window and wait, watching ever so quietly in the darkness. That old man, that wondrous magician who he had come to admire in secrecy, was once again preparing something magnificent. He entered his study in the usual manner, walking to the closet and shedding his olive green dinner jacket. He placed it neatly on a hanger and closed the door softly. His old fingers were wrinkled and tired, weary from a lifetime of tinkering at the sewing factory where he had tuned and repaired the machines that never quit. It was here in his study each night where he could finally escape the noise of the factory, where he could finally listen to the thoughts swirling around in his head.
Andrew shivered again and smiled as the old man sat down at his desk, his back to the window. He bent down and picked up the shoebox sitting next to him on the floor. He lifted the lid and pulled out a hardbound book and his special writing pen, just as he had for countless evenings. Clearing his throat he opened the book and thumbed through his earlier entries until at last he’d reached a blank page. There weren’t many left these days.
“Tonight,” announced the man, “we shall begin with the softest of ocean breezes.”
His pen touched the paper, and he took great care with each word as he wrote. A slight breeze blew around him, causing the papers on his desk and the notes tacked to the wall to flutter restlessly. Andrew took in a sharp breath and smiled. He’d never seen the ocean.
“The sky, lightly clouded, and almost as blue as the cresting waves,” the man continued aloud and the ceiling rippled and faded into the most beautiful sky Andrew had ever laid eyes on.
“No, not blue.” The sky jittered, the boy’s brow furrowed, “A perfect sunset!”
Andrew gasped in delight as the crackling blue twisted and turned, finally disappearing into the most wondrous oranges and reds. And so it continued until the man sat at his desk, not in the small house just outside the factory district, but on a beach, staring off to where the cool ocean met the burning sky. He leaned back in the creaky, old chair and closed his eyes, wiggling his toes in the wet sand. After a few moments of relaxation the man leaned forward and closed the book. The cries of the gulls and chorus of waves lapping at the sand faded away, then the room melted back into an old man’s study.
On the way home, Andrew trudged through the snow, still thinking about the magical beach and the waves that had washed away his cares. A harsh wind tore him from his daydream and he pulled his worn jacket tight, put his head down and scurried homeward. His mother would be waiting.
“Aye boy, and where have you been off to this evening?” She chided in her sweet, motherly voice.
Andrew smiled and motioned for her to come near. “A beach Mum!” He whispered, his face beaming with delight. “A real beach!”
She smiled back and turned, “Help me out with my strings.”
Andrew blew warmth into his cold hands and set to work at untying his mother’s apron. Her eyes had looked especially tired this evening.
“Pa’s home, isn’t he? Andrew asked.
She glanced behind her and then nodded. “Wash up,” she said. All traces of her smile faded.
They sat at the table in uncomfortable silence. The only audible sound was the occasional clanking of dishes or utensils. Andrew stared intently at the cabbage and potatoes on his plate, focusing on not making eye contact with the gruff man across the table.
His father was often described by his friends as a fearsome coal miner, loyal friend, and the best damn drinking fellow if ever there was one, but here at the dinner table he was sullen and easily irritated. Andrew had grown to appreciate the weeks his father was on shift, but felt like a prisoner in his own home every third week when Benjamin Carter was on outward rotation. It was during these weeks, just as the purples and blues on his mother’s cheeks were beginning to fade to a sickly green and yellow, that they would again regain their color. The last time his father had come home he’d brought Andrew his own purples and blues. It had been to toughen him up, he’d said. He did not like the idea of his son staring into the window of an old man’s study. Benjamin Carter was a coal miner; his father had been a coal miner, and his father before him. It was tough enough raising a family on miner’s wages, especially when you drank like a Carter.
“Been stayin’ away from that old man?” He peered over the rim of his third pint.
“Yes Pa.” Andrew lied.
“You lying to your old man?” His father glared dangerously.
Andrew’s eyes dropped to his cabbage and he poked it with his fork.
Later that night as his cheek burned against his pillow and the swelling felt fit to break skin, Andrew’s thoughts were with his mother. She was taking the brunt of his father’s drunken rage now and he wished he could shut out the yelling, wished he could take her away with him to the old man’s study where magical things happened. Maybe they could run away, maybe they could escape. He closed his eyes and wished he had magic of his own.
He did not return to the old man’s window until his father had left for the mine again. Instead, he took on chores from Mr. Parker, the man who owned the newspaper he sold papers for. The extra wages paid for a few trips to the pub for his father and saved any additional trouble at home. No one asked about his blackened eye or his split lip; he was a Carter, they all knew better.
It was Saturday evening and Andrew hid behind a large, old oak. He waited impatiently for the man to walk down the narrow lane. Had it been a whole week since he’d last spied upon the enchanting magic that sprang to life inside that window? It seemed as if he’d been waiting for ages before the man came down the darkened street, but as he drew near, Andrew couldn’t help but notice a new spring in his step. He seemed particularly happy to be headed home this evening.
Shortly after the front door closed to the cold, Andrew quietly made his way to the window, careful not to arouse the suspicion of nosy neighbors. The man was already hanging his jacket in the closet. Something was different tonight; the man seemed very relieved, as if a large weight had been lifted from his chest. He nearly pranced as he made his way to the chair. Andrew couldn’t help but smile at the comical sight and let the warmth of the window glass on his forehead melt the turmoil that had built in his heart during the previous week.
The man sat at his desk and picked up the old picture frame he often looked at while writing. Andrew never could quite tell what the picture was, but he was sure it meant something special to the man. He set the frame back down, adjusted it slightly, and leaned over to grab the old shoebox by his side. He removed the lid and held up the book within. It was as old and worn as he was, and Andrew suspected it brought the man as much comfort as it did to him, perhaps a little more. He rested the book on his forehead a moment, seeming to tune his thoughts to its wishes, and set it on the desk in front of him. There were few pages left in the volume and Andrew found himself wondering what the next book would look like when this one was finished, but he was soon whisked away to a crowded city street and let the thought slip from his mind.
It was midmorning in the small study and he could hear the sounds of traffic through the sheet of glass. A large commuter bus rolled across the room and came to a stop. When it drove off into the distance a man and woman were standing behind the bus sign. She wore a fancy black dress with a yellow umbrella. He couldn’t help but think how beautiful that dress would look on his mother. She’d be at home now after pressing clothes all day in the Laundromat. She’d be tired but she’d be starting dinner without complaint. He closed his eyes and imagined her tying her apron strings before rolling noodles on the counter. She could have been that woman, Andrew thought to himself, if only she’d chosen a different life.
When he opened his eyes again the man was talking to her. He appeared very businesslike in his tan trench coat.
“A private investigator,” Andrew whispered aloud.
“Might I interest you in brunch?” the investigator asked the attractive lady. A street vendor selling fruit materialized out of thin air behind them.
“Thank you.” She answered.
The investigator turned to the vendor, and when he’d paid the man, he tossed her a shiny red apple. She nearly dropped it in surprise; she obviously wasn’t used to such crude behavior.
“A mystery…” Andrew sighed. The weight of the past week was still heavy on his mind.
The man stopped writing and the city froze in place. He glanced at the picture on his desk once again and drew a line through the text, making a small correction.
“Might I interest you in brunch?” the investigator asked the attractive lady. The street vendor looked up from his cart and smiled.
“Thank you.” She answered.
The investigator turned to the vendor, and when he’d paid the man, he tossed her a banana. She nearly dropped it in surprise; she obviously wasn’t used to such crude behavior.
Andrew smiled, “A comedy!”
When the story finished, Andrew wiped the tears from his eyes. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d laughed so hard. The old man leaned back in his chair and took a deep, fulfilling breath. He placed his writing pen neatly into the shoebox and closed the book. There were so few pages left, enough for perhaps one last story. The box slid into its familiar place on the floor beside him and Andrew snuck off, away from the light of the window.
While walking home he wondered again what the next book would look like. Would it be the same leather bound cover or would it be something new? What new stories would lie within its blank pages? His stomach rumbled in the darkness and he suddenly realized how terribly late it was. He broke into a sprint and didn’t stop running until he reached the door. He walked inside, still breathing heavily, and removed his coat and boots. His mother was sitting at the table with her head in her hands. Her apron was already hanging on the nail and his soup was sitting on the table; tendrils of steam still weakly swirled from its surface.
The air was thick with a tension he’d never felt with his mother before. She seemed more tired than he’d ever seen her, broken somehow. Without a word, he washed his hands and sat in his chair. For a moment he sat in silence before looking up at her. She was crying.
“I’m sorry, Mum,” he said, but she didn’t budge.
All at once he realized that she wasn’t crying because he was late for dinner, no, this was something bigger. Maybe Pa died, Andrew thought, but quickly pushed it from his mind. He stared at his soup in silence.
“You can’t go there anymore, Drew.” His mother’s voice startled him as it broke the eerie quiet.
“Mum?” he asked.
“No more beaches, no more cities, no more mountaintops. You sell your papers and you come home,” she said with tears in her eyes. His father’s handy-work still showed plainly on her beautiful face.
He didn’t know how he knew, but he did. Things would never be the same between them. Never again would she ask him to help with her apron strings and never again would his heart leap to see her. That night he didn’t sob into his pillow like he had the week before, but he cried harder than he’d ever cried; silent tears that signaled the shedding of his boyhood skin.
The next day, while selling papers, Andrew couldn’t stop thinking about the old man on the lane. This man, to whom he’d never spoken, now seemed to be his only friend. It was with a heavy heart that he walked past the empty house and his familiar waiting spot behind the ancient oak. He’d never watch the last story of the book unfold, never see the cover of the new book or the new adventures it might bring. He pulled his jacket tighter around him and walked home, stopping only once to look back.
Dinner that evening was as quiet and awkward as it had been the night before. Afterwards he went to bed early and thought about the last story that he had missed that evening. In his dream he was the old man in his small study in the industrial side of town. His back and fingers ached after a long day in the factory; his ears still rang with the clanging of machinery and the drumming of hundreds of sewing needles. He sat at the desk and pulled out his magic book and his writing pen. There were so few pages left. Feeling an uneasy sense of being watched in his subconscious, he slowly turned around, the book still in his hand. It fell to the floor with a thump and Andrew lurched upright in his bed when he saw the face of a young boy pressed against the window pane with little circles of fog forming around his mouth and nose.
The next day Mr. Parker asked him to help move the printing press once he’d sold his papers, already a double load. When Andrew had looked a little unsure, he’d even offered to stop by to tell his mum he’d be helping at the shop while he was on the rounds. At this Andrew had agreed, as long as she knew he’d be at the shop instead of catching a glimpse of the old man’s new magical writing book.
He didn’t quit working until late that evening. The old man would be sitting in his chair at this desk by now, writing beautiful stories. Unable to resist, he turned down the lane on the slight detour that had become habit over the weeks. He still remembered the first night he’d made that detour. Mr. Parker had asked that he make a special delivery to an old friend. He’d made it worth his while, the trip had earned his father a night at the pub and probably saved his mum a purple and blue.
He’d walked down the lane and up to the step of the small house and placed the paper against the door, just as Mr. Parker had instructed. It was then that he’d heard the clanging of swords and the battle cries from within. When he’d crept over to the window under the cover of the bushes, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Now, for the first time, the lights of the small house were off, no battles waged within, no one was laughing or crying, it was just another house that created a lonely silhouette against the dark sky and polluted haze. Something was wrong.
Andrew crossed the street and snuck up to the cover of the bushes. Inching his way through the branches, he looked into the darkened room through the cold glass; no warmth met his skin this evening. Everything seemed to be in its place. The closet door was shut, the chair neatly tucked in, the picture frame still on his desk, and the shoebox… the shoebox sat in its place but the lid was askew. Something inside him told him that the book would not be there. He stood in the light of the moon, losing all sense of time. His last friend, the one he’d never even spoken to, would never again return to his study to write in his magical book. A tear stole down his cheek, followed by another and then another, until his eyes stung with grief. As he wiped the salty streaks on his sleeve he noticed his many footprints from weeks of standing, watching. Then, just as he was about to turn away, he saw it; a shoebox beneath the windowsill, tucked under a limb of one of the bushes.
He knelt down and pulled the box into the moonlight. His fingers fumbled at the lid; he was shaking now. Inside he found a black leather-bound writing book, a pen, and a small note: To the boy in the window.
He sat down hard, his head dizzy. This only seemed to confirm what he’d already suspected. He would never see the old man again. His shakes turned to shivers, but he didn’t care. The old man had known he was there all along, but how? He pulled the book from the box and stared at the cover. It was different than the one the old man had written in. The leather cover of his had been brown.
As he cracked it open a tiny sparkle escaped and floated upwards. Andrew watched it with wide eyes as it drifted towards the sky until it vanished. He stared back down at the book in his lap and opened it now so it lay flat upon his legs.
Then, just like that, he was no longer hiding in the bushes outside the old man’s home, instead he found himself in a dingy waiting room. He smiled as he realized that this must have been the old man’s last story. Somewhere in another world he was still outside in the cold, but none of that mattered now as he stared at the room that had grown around him.
“Mcdurmot, Phineas Mcdurmot?” A fellow in a white coat had stepped into the room.
The old man had been in the corner, hiding behind the pages of a well-read book. He nervously slid a small piece of paper into the fold and tucked it into his pocket as he stood.
“Yessir?” He asked.
“I’m Doctor Livingston, I’ve been going over your test results,” the man said.
Phineas looked at the doctor expectantly.
“I’m afraid I have bad news.”
The waiting room dissolved and the two men were gone. Andrew was now sitting in the study. Even though he knew it was nothing more than an illusion, he felt strange finally seeing it from the inside, as Phineas had seen it. He walked over and touched the glass. The cold of the night threatened to come in, licked at his fingertips, but the warmth of the air around him kept it at bay, for now at least.
Startled by the sudden sound of a closing door behind him, he turned to see Phineas at the closet. His eyes looked defeated and weary, much as he’d seen his mother’s eyes look whenever his father was home from the mine. He sat on the floor and watched as Phineas removed the scrap of paper and place the book he’d been reading in the waiting room on the shelf, watched as he moved to the desk and stared at the picture frame. Andrew could see now that it held a picture of a cottage surrounded by waves of grain and a boy he presumed to be Phineas as a child. He sighed and sat in the creaky old chair. After a moment’s pause he reached down and pulled the writing book from its shoebox on the floor
When his pen touched the paper it began to rain inside the study, it was bitter and cold. The roar of hooves on the sloshy battleground surrounded them and the first clangs of steel upon steel rang out. The men in dark armor were overpowering the haggard knights on their own battlefield. Their king was now surrounded but fought valiantly onward, desperate to save the lives of his men.
Andrew realized this was the part in the story that he had heard from the doorstep. The familiar face of the warlord emerged from the ranks; his voice triumphed over the clashes of battle.
“Lord Phinfaer! You will be defeated this day, this glorious dismal day! No one will remember you or your kingdom! These lands now belong to The Brotherhood!”
The king fell to his knees as an arrow pierced his lung. The man leapt forward.
“Cousin,” Lord Phinfaer coughed, “why have you done this?” He raised his sword in weak defense.
The man knocked the blade to the ground and the fighting ceased around them. The sounds of battle were replaced with silence; victory and defeat were now at hand. He pulled a long, curved dagger from the scabbard on his belt and grabbed Lord Phinfaer by the hair. The tip of the dagger stopped short of the king’s throat and he shouted to the masses. “Because I can!”
The battle cries of his men were deafening. Phineas stopped writing and glanced back up at the picture frame. To his surprise he saw the dim outline of a boy’s face pressed into the window behind him in the reflection of the glass. His eyes were wide in dismay. It felt strangely welcome to once again write for an audience. The pen touched the paper once more and the triumphant smile on the man’s face melted into an expression of shock and disbelief. Lord Phinfaer had seized that very moment of vanity to plunge his own dagger, his last resolve, into his murderous cousin’s unprotected side. He might very well die on the battlefield, but at least his men would be saved. They would always remember him as a hero. He would never be forgotten.
Phineas closed the book and returned it to its box. He placed the pen inside and returned the cover. When he looked back into the glass of the frame, the young eyes were gone.
A few more episodes played out in the study, memorable events where Phineas had studied the boy’s expression in the reflection. Each passing day left fewer and fewer pages in the book, the metaphysical story of his life. In the end, Andrew realized, Phineas had needed a friend just as much as he had. The story concluded and he found himself back outside the quiet house. His hands and feet were freezing and the pages of the book were now blank. He closed the cover and placed it back into the shoebox. He no longer felt frightened or alone. He had stopped shivering now and for a moment he considered leaving it all behind, underneath the branches of the bushes where he had hid on so many cold nights. Taking a deep breath, he stood and turned toward home in the darkness with the shoebox tucked securely under one arm.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
BRADY FROST is from Utah, USA. He is the author of "Hunting the Muse: A Creative Writing Blog", a blog about writing, short stories, poems, and many excellent articles.
"Brady Frost started writing from a very young age, his first story “The Lion and the Turtle” was ‘published’ on Mrs Shupe’s 1st grade bulletin board outside the classroom for the entire school to read. His stories often focus on a brief snapshot of the human condition. "
Here's what he says about himself:
"I'm 29 years old and live in Utah with my wonderful wife and three beautiful children. I'm an aspiring writer dedicated to the pursuit and perpetuation of Creative Writing. Journey with me on a literary adventure, we'll discuss subjects such as writing habits, advice, contest submissions, and ongoing work to name a few!"
He's one writer who can turn a drab incident or a common story into an unusual one like his "Zombie Story" and his "Old Poems" which are a joy to read.
His articles about writing, like "Writing for Love" is a brilliant piece. It shows he's a good father and a loving husband.
Visit his site to read more.
Photo 1 by Olga_Dietrich
Photo 3 by r.f.m II
Photo 2 by *Suse*
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
As a normal couple we encountered many problems especially during the first ten years of our married life. Different problems need different solutions. I need to eke a living to financially sustain my growing family.
Evelyn, my wife didn’t know how to cook at that time so I did all the cooking. One time while I was taking a bath I heard a loud explosion. I hurriedly went out to check what happened. She boiled a pot of water and it had dried up which resulted to an explosion that catapulted the pot skyward. It was a good thing nobody was hurt. This is just one of many funny incidents we encountered that made our union exciting. We complemented each other perfectly. I was on the talkative side and she was the silent type.
That was at the start, but now it’s the other way around.
One of the most challenging segment of our married life was the last quarter of the year 1988. My wife was pregnant then with Melvin and I was assigned as a Store Supervisor in Baclaran. Our manager was Charlie a certified womanizer.
Charlie’s wife was a very feisty lady; the staff would all come to know when they had a fight the night before because he would be wearing a long sleeve shirt the following day to cover the fingernail scratches he had received from her.
He would always ask me to do things for him. It came to some point that I had to wait for him in a bar with a woman he was wooing while he was trying to escape from his wife’s close guard (ala Jaworski).
He would leave home only clad in undershirt to avoid suspicion. He would already prepare a formal wear waiting for pick up at our branch's guardhouse. Got the picture?
I almost always arrived home late at night reeking with alcohol that led her to suspect me of having an affair with another woman. Our fights became so frequent that made me think of doing it to justify her suspicion. She became the woman I never knew she would become.
We can’t stop.
The feelings to strong.
We’ve got the will to hang on.
We struggle and fight to survive.
Keepin’ the love alive.
Christmas Party, December 31, 1988
I was in high spirit that morning because I have made a promise to my wife that I would go home early for us to be able to attend the midnight mass before eating our Media Noche. I informed my boss of my promise to my wife and to my two children, he gladly gave his consent.
But as Fate would have it, while in the middle of our Christmas Party, my boss was caught by his wife sitting on a lap of a saleslady in a compromising situation inside the office. We all knew what would happen later in their home.
My boss would be fighting a losing battle but before he rushed home he instructed me to wait for him before going home myself as I had promised my wife. I had no option but to wait for him because our party was being held inside our store.
I have lost count how many bottles of beer I was able to consume while waiting for the arrival of my boss.
I felt helpless and quite frustrated I could not contact my wife to explain my side and I knew she wouldn’t believe me. I am a man who always keep my promises but now I felt a different man under Charlie’s leadership. So many promises I made were broken for covering up for him.
Was I dreaming?
Two big slaps on the face awakened me that brought me back to my senses. Seeing the face of my wife made me think I was home. I was trying to recall how I managed to come home. Before I could utter a word she disappeared as quickly as she had appeared.
Seeing all the shoes around me made me realized I have slept in our store and my wife came for a visit and had delivered those stinging, hot slaps on my face.
After a few minutes more Charlie arrived telling me how sorry he was and that I could go home and spend my day off.
I arrived home finding all my stuff inside two suitcases. Our door was closed, she won’t let me in and she wanted a separation. I was totally devastated because she won’t listen to my explanations.
God may have all His angels keeping a tight watch over me because this problem was resolved in a week’s time. This is a classic example of a problem that goes out of hand not on your own making, but by circumstances beyond your control.
We must not let our emotions overrule our mind in making decisions. Give your partner the chance to speak up and have an open mind while listening.
Then February 28, 1989 I was promoted and was assigned to handle our Taytay branch. Another problem happened as I wrote here: When my Faith was tested
In all those challenging struggles of our married life, I never asked for help from my in-laws and neither did she.
I had worked so hard for the financial needs of my family that you can name any business with earning potential and I had joined them.
I even became a manager of Tupperware - a direct selling business in a record time of 1 1/2 months after joining them. The picture at right shows my promotion to Baby Manager; Year 1999!?
It was also at this stage that I believed I had earned the respect of my in-laws. They are now encouraging my wife to work so that she could help me in raising our family.
Of course I objected because I promised myself that I would do everything for her - in keeping our love alive; for fighting for our love till death do us part as we have said in our marriage vows.
She’s now a good cook who could whip up Chinese, Ilokano and Tagalog dishes. Her specialty is mami and I can boast that it tastes like you’re eating at a Chowking Restaurant.
Yes there were temptations in my line of work but my strong belief in the law of karma always reminded me to stay on the right path. “You reap what you sow”. I don’t want any member of my family suffering because of my past sins.
Presently, we just enjoy each other’s company and always do the things we love to do - such as cooking.
Being open with each other helps a lot too.
We never fight over money.
We try to solve every problem that comes our way in a more diplomatic way.
There were usual fights like ordinary couples but I never inflicted physical harm even in the heat of my rage.
I remember one time, In my anger I punched our kitchen door made of double plywood. I hit it so hard - ala Manny Pacquiao - that it broke - and so did my arm. I never repeated that again. Sakit ata nun!.? (that had been an excruciating pain)
We are now planning to build another room in the ground floor of our home in preparation for the time that we could not climb to our second floor room?
Old age is fast approaching!
We never got rich but we are happy and contented with what we have. We have 5 grown up kids and three of them are now professionals, 2 more are both in High School.
The financial pressure of having a family somewhat diminished.
As I see it now, after 25 years of blissful marriage, we are still the same like when we were young.
Only the number of our age changed but feelings are still the same. Our constant communication over the phone or through text is a practice we never planned/wanted- but it became a habit.
Last July 10, 2009 we celebrated our 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary in Singapore. My daughter Mae gifted us a trip not to Jerusalem, but to Singapore.
A four- night- 3 day- visit to the Lion City -Singapore that started from July 10 - 14, 2009.
This has made this wedding anniversary special.
So friends I appreciate all your greetings, prayers and support but this time I prefer to accept cash. Hahaha!
Please don’t forget to sing “One Day in Your Life” for me and my wife!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mon as fondly called by his online buddies is a down-to-earth, passionate and indefatigable blogger. He is the vibrant apogee behind the blog - "Fatherlyours".
He says: "I am Ramon, 49 years old writing for FatherlYours.com to share my experiences, frustrations, happiness, success as a Father to my 5 healthy and Lovely creatures called Sons and Daughters."
I admire Mon for his dedication and loyalty to his family and friends. He is the responsible man that every family wish they could have.This story depicts family life and how it should be.Thanks Mon for this extremely significant contribution to the Inspirational Book. Family should always take the topmost priority in our lives.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I am not really the type of person who takes time in counting the years of our wedding anniversaries. But my daughter Mae makes our (25th) Silver Wedding Anniversary special.
Why? I’ll tell you later.
I’ll tell you first our love story and how we ended up from worst enemies to friends, and then lovers.
9 years of being steady plus 25 years of married life and still going strong is perhaps a record of sorts here in our country. Maybe we have grown tired of hearing other married people fight and getting separated that’s why our married life works - yes!
No! I think we become closer because we don’t discuss things that bother us but we talked them over. We spent a few minutes discussing things that happened within the day, before going to sleep.
We know each other so well that we give time and space when the need arises, without each one asking for it. I encourage her to go out and join her friends when she get invitations; to spend time for herself to break the monotony of a stay- at- home mom. She grants the same courtesy to me.
The Story :
She was our neighbor - the quiet type. She seldom came out of their house. My friends then were her two older sisters because I was two years older than she was.
I used to call her “Labo” because she was wearing thick eyeglasses. And she called me “Palito” because I was thin and quite a joker during those days. Our constant quarrel and bickering made our neighbors’ and friends’ day complete.
Our neighbors used to tease us every time our path crossed because they knew that we hated each other. I really don’t know why and how the hatred started.
When the “Kabataang Barangay” was first established by then President F. Marcos I was duly elected as the first Chairman and she was elected as one of my councilors. I was not aware that she had campaigned for me.
Then we became members of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD). Here I had to learn how to play the guitar because my voice was not made for singing. She was assigned to fetch the kids for Catechism classes and to serve refreshments afterwards. We managed to be civil with each other in those occasions because we were always near a Priest.
She was studying in Mapua during her High school days and I was studying at Manila High School.
One day, I was riding a jeep on my way to school when I noticed that the girl seated next to me was wearing a Mapua uniform and she was my mortal enemy.
That moment though, I realized that this mortal enemy of mine was a lovely lady, and I started to shift my gear and be a friendly gentleman. I was on my third year of High School then (maagang lumandi! hahaha!).
I was already in my fourth year of high school and she was in her second year when she realized that she loved me too!
Our theme song was a song by Michael Jackson “One day in your life”. The reason why “Jacko” would always be part of my life.
Please sing with me!
Then her parents find out our secret love, the story now becomes “You and Me Against the world“.
So on our first 5 years of being sweetheart we broke up three times. It was always my fault for falling in love with other girls and making the mistake of being caught. I had always been a happy go lucky guy that her parents never saw anything good in my person.
The third time we broke up had me crying during the night but I had to show no emotion in front of my friends. I was not able to eat and sleep that I realized that the lyrics of the song by “Hotdog” titled “Pers Lab” was so true.
"Di na makatulog
Di pa makakain
Taghiyawat sa ilong
Pati na sa pisngi
Sa kaiisip sa’yo
(Why is it that when we are young we always associated our emotions with a song?)
Maybe those things and a lot of other petty quarrels had made us closer to each other and provided an inevitable bridge for us to come to know each other very well- like the palm of our hands.
So to cut the story short, we got married at the chapel of Sta Cruz church with only a ring bearer in tow and a pair of Godparents. The chapel was being used by the Parish Priests in their daily personal prayer.
In attendance was my mother, her parents (despite their objections) some close friends and relatives. The Choir where I belong sang in that very solemn occasion.
The reception was held at Modern Restaurant just across Sta. Cruz Church.
Would you believe that we started our family with only P10, 000.00 in savings? Part of the money was used in our wedding expenses including payment for the reception . My best friend Roland’s car was used as the official wedding car which we both decorated with flowers bought at Dangwa. See, sariling sikap talaga!
TO BE CONTINUED
N.B. This story has been featured in Mon's blog but it deserves to be included in the Inspirational Book for its focus on the joys of family life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mon as fondly called by his online buddies is a down-to-earth, passionate and indefatigable blogger.
He is the vibrant apogee behind the blog - "Fatherlyours".
"I am Ramon, 49 years old writing for FatherlYours.com to share my experiences, frustrations, happiness, success as a Father to my 5 healthy and Lovely creatures called Son’s and Daughter’s."
I admire Mon for his dedication and loyalty to his family and friends. He is the responsible man that every family wish they could have.
This story depicts family life and how it should be.
Thanks Mon for this extremely significant contribution to the Inspirational Book. Family should always take the topmost priority in our lives.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Way to go, guys!
Prose / Fiction
Jennifer M Scott – “Dreaming of Eve” – This story is for mature audiences for strong language. sexual situations and violence just wanted to forewarn you. a woman is haunted by her former boyfriend.
H. Benjamin Petrie – “Is this Love?” - A stream-of-consciousness piece aiming to combine a Raymond Carver-style relationship story with James Joyce-style internal monologuing.
Webbielady – “Blue Moon” - At last!
(WOOF participants should re-post all the links above by next Monday. The following links may be excluded as long as you include all the above links.)
Dragon Blogger – “Who Will Make Coffee” - Funny and humorous poem about a volunteer brewing a pot of coffee.
Zorlone – “Untamed beauty” - One cannot claim full knowledge behind a woman's smile. "Looks like the girl is full of mystery..." - Snow
Free Spirit – “Armageddon” - When earth is too filthy to live in...
Presenting the finest of the writer’s blogs by the bloggers who write them. Highlighting the top posts as chosen by the July 3, 2009 WOOF Contest participants. Want in to join the next WOOF? The next contest ends July 10. Submit a link to your best writing post of the last 3 weeks using the form on this page. Participants, repost the winning link list within a week and you’re all set.Other WOOF Contestants for 07/03/09
Prose / Fiction / Novel Excerpt
Jena Isle - “Chapter 1Umma Ayam Sinsana (Where are you now?)” - A true to life novel about Kalinga.
Jena Isle – “Chapter 2- Umma Ayam Sinsana (Where are you now?)” - Chapter 2 of the story of the Kalinga man.
Redrogue – “My Antipatic Colleague” - She is on the verge of hating her until the reality comes into view... What she's going to do now?
Jennifer M Scott – “Candlelight Red” - A poem inspired by the words candlelight red.
Zorlone – “Last night” - "Without pain, can there be any real sense of joy? Without darkness, would we even understand the concept of light? This is a writer's curse and blessing, to feel things deeply and to make others feel them through our words." - Holly Jahangiri
Dragon Blogger – “Hurt Lives” - Poem about difficulty and staying the course in ones life.
Dragon Blogger – “Lost Drug Addict” - Random word poem including 19 random words about someone who slips into drug addiction.
Friday, July 3, 2009
You may want to read Chapter 2 first.
“ Mr. Benedict Lomiwan is hereby voted as president of the class,” the instructor announced.
It was barely his third week in the University, but everyone in class already knew who he was. It would be impossible not to! He always got the highest scores in their quizzes - even in algebra - which everyone considered “very difficult”.
It was in Algebra and English that he excelled - a deadly combination. Some students were good in Algebra but not in English, and vice versa. Only Benny, did good in both and that made him an “Exceptional” student.
He knew that by being in the Dean’s List of scholars, he would do justice to the sacrifices of his parents and Fr. Belucci.
He had enrolled in A.B Political Science as he had plans of becoming a lawyer someday. College exposed him to the various cultural minorities in the country and people were less discriminating because of ethnic origin.
Image from: Free Digital Photos
It was a cultural activity in the University and he was in his native costume - a g-string. During school days, he went to class in clothes everybody wore – warm and comfortable city clothes, and it was the first time he had to wear his native costume again. He had looked forward to it.
“Hey Benny, I’d cover myself if I were you,” someone from the crowd teased him, “half of the girls in class would be asking for a date next Monday.”
Benny just smiled and waved. He had always been proud of his heritage, even when other people had looked down upon him. He stood tall among his peers; his sinewy muscles, bulging in the right places. He had a handsome face – dark fringed eyes, sensuous lips and a slightly crooked nose that complimented his other features to perfection. He was almost naked, except for the g string around his waist and his private parts.
They started beating the gongs and Benny led his barrio mates in the “taddok” (native dance). His g-string undulated with his every movement and the crowd cheered excitedly as his group of dancers circled the plaza. It was a joyous and festive, cultural dance. When it was done, there were rivulets of sweat on Benny’s face.
“I think you need this,” a voice from behind him intoned.
He turned and stared at the most beautiful woman he had ever set eyes on. For the first time in his life, he became speechless.
“C’mon, use it,” the woman smiled reassuringly, proffering the handkerchief in her hand.
He reached out for it and wiped his face with one swift motion. His racing heartbeat slowed down a bit. “ Thanks, I’m Benny Lomiwan, Miss…” he extended a hand.
“ Call me Julie, Julia Santos,” she grasped his hand firmly.
The contact sent shivers through his spine. “Good God,” he thought to himself, “this is not me – going all weak over a woman.”
“ Your group was good,” she was saying. “I am sure, you will win the grand prize.”
“ We danced to share our culture not for anything else,” he replied with a smile.
She flashed white even teeth at him. “ Well, nice meeting you Benny, see you around,” she said, and she was gone.
Whew! what was that? He shook his head in amazement. He had never imagined himself going gaga over a woman. It was a strange feeling and he was totally taken by surprise by the new emotion. He would have wanted to know more about her. He released a long drawn sigh to calm his nerves. Well, he had to forget about her, he had more pressing priorities to think about.
February came. It was the coldest month of the year. He was growing accustomed to the gelid, city air. He had anticipated that it would be cold, but not these bone-freezing temperatures. If he hadn’t known better, he would have thought he was abroad and not in a tropical country. He had layers of clothing on; but still, the cold air permeated his skin and gnawed at his bones.
The University’s first semester went according to his plans. He was able to maintain his academic scholarship well into the second semester. Fr. Belucci took charge of his board and lodging in the University’s dorm for boys. He also deposited in the bank a monthly allowance for him. He knew he was lucky to have a benefactor in the person of the priest and had expressed it openly the last time the old priest hugged him goodbye.
“ Get a good education and look after your own people,” the generous and benevolent priest had said. “That would be enough payment for me.”
And that was what he wanted to do that Saturday night. He had been secretly contacted to a meeting as a Youth Representative regarding the building of a dam in the Chico river, which may pollute its clear, pristine waters . It was a clandestine meeting as powerful political forces were bent on pushing through with it. The dam- supposedly- will provide electricity for the neighboring towns.
“ Are you Benny?” his train of thought was broken.
He eyed warily a burly man accosting him.
“Yes, “ he replied.
“Come, they’re waiting,” he said and started to lead him to a parked car.
He was about to demand an ID from the man, but thought, “What the heck, if it’s time for me to go, I’ll go, no matter what I do.” and he quickly followed him.
(to be continued)