Memories of my Father-A A +A
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
AT 44, at the peak of his fife, he was dead.
Calixto P. Viray, my father, died. He left us his children in disarray. My mother was unemployed.
He was brilliant. He attended the Pampanga High School (PHS) and became an automatic graduate when war broke out in 1944. He could have pursued any course but he chose teaching. He considered it the noblest profession.
He attended and graduated from the Philippine Normal School. He became a pioneer principal teacher in Bulacus Elementary School.
He was a prolific writer. He wrote about frogs and won a flashlight from Eveready battery. He wrote about shoes and his story was featured by Elpo (Epoy Shoes).
He contributed regularly to the "In The Grade School", a magazine for teachers. He was recognized by his peers as first among equals. At a young age, he got elected as a director of the PPSTA (Philippine Public School Teachers Association). He enjoyed teaching and was elegant in all white de hilo, befitting a teacher.
He loved fishing. I lost count of the dalags he caught. He was a patient diver of cabebe (shells) in the river right in front of our house. He advocated the use of flashlights in catching frogs, holding the lights on the side of the right ear. He could recognize the burning eyes of the frog from afar. He blended well with our neighbors who respected his intelligence.
He was a brave man. One time, he sensed that he was being cheated in a game. At 5'5", he delivered fist blows that knocked out his 6'0" protagonist. Oh, I was a proud son to a triumphant father.
"Mr. Viray" as he was fondly called, was a graceful dancer. He carried his dance partner to the cadence and crescendo of Tango, to the adulation of the onlookers. His movement was smooth as silk. His step was impeccable. He had the sense of drama as executed as the diamond, and the cadence of the dance. It was an honor for the ladies just to be able to share a dance with him.
He was a fastidious dresser. His shoes were always shiny. His pants had the distinct "abulod" lines. He preferred wearing long white sleeves. He had no tummy. He looked clean with his barber's cut.
Tried he did, to make life comfortable for his children. His eyes lighted when everyone had a share of the food he brought home from the town proper.
Just like a thief in the night, death came unexpected. We were orphaned in 1966. To those who have a father, love them while he can savor your feelings.
Why is it that you only realize the extent of your sense of loss when your father is no longer with you?
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 19, 2013.