Wednesday , April 25, 2018

Valle: Papa, the man I owe half of me

IT'S not that I am letting the capitalist whim to get the better of me as I remember the one person whom I owe so much in forming the “me” that I am today.

You see, it has become a fad in business establishment to magnify dates that they know will make people spend just to recognize or acknowledge a family member, and sometimes, I am not really inclined to give in to such fancy.

Recognition must be on a daily basis, not once a year in a restaurant or a big mall. Yet, with the established media blaring and repeating announcements day after day about such “event” or non-event, what with the television putting out ads depicting a heart-tugging scene of a family, there’s no way one can’t be touched.

Still, I have always thanked God for having a father, who have gifted me with his inmost thoughts, even though Papa was really a “liberal” at heart, one who was openly critical of the Marcos martial law during that time, and proudly an active World War II veteran, who helped Americans achieve the “Philippine Independence,” even if I think otherwise.

But that’s another story. I had been equally proud of Papa, but who wouldn’t, and I’m sure he was prouder of how I have been actively doing my job, as he always seemed pleased in the early days to read about the things that I would write in our school paper, even if it made him fear for my safety.

But I will always cherish the way Papa showed his love for all of us, 11 (almost a dozen short of one) of his children whom he and Mama had to raise as “better” Christians like them. They were my “model” couple as through the years, they exerted every effort to send us all to school and teach us how to stand on our own.

As the eight among us siblings, I was considered my father’s pet in the sense that relatives would say I took after Papa’s strong political beliefs, and Papa would jokingly describe me as the “kimod sang tunga-tunga” (the youngest in the middle) as three more siblings came after me.

When I was in college and stricken with typhoid fever, everyone thought I was going to die, and even doctors had given up on me after I had become unresponsive to medications. And so my family decided to bring me home to our province after they have exhausted medical treatment and I was not showing any signs of improvement.

For almost a year, my parents took turns caring for me. I was like a baby, who had to be spoon-fed and nurtured, as I lost every sense there was of myself, and they had to make me sleep next to them.

I could not even remember now how I must have acted during those days, but what stuck in my mind was the way Papa used to cook just about any food that he thought would bring me back to my senses.

Then one day, he bought some Alimango (crabs) and cooked pancit with it, tossing in some vegetables. When I started tasting it, my palate seemed suddenly awakened, and I ate more than a plateful of what he cooked. That certainly delighted and encouraged him to the point that his countenance brightened and made him hopeful that I would survive that illness.

Indeed, after a few days it seemed miraculous for my parents to see me back to my senses until after a few more months, and I was back on my feet. My family was so happy when I regained my strength and the will power to resume my studies.

Thus, even when they felt that I was too “political” to be outspoken against the ravaged and abuses of Marcos’ minions during martial law, they were still grateful that I was on my own self again.

I have always been grateful for what my parents did to resuscitate me back to life when I was at my lowest, but more so with the way they gave me the impetus to be what I and my partner should be as parents to our children. I guess I have made them proud in that sense, wherever they may be.