THIS week, we are still at Rice Bowl of old, of which I have some memories, but of which mother mine has many. I pick and choose from amongst them and here record my favorite of her Rice Bowl snippets. Let us title it: “Small check, big check, spot check.”

The phrase was coined by Rice Bowl owner Lee Lai who, my mom says, called a phone call to his establishment from the wife of any of its resident habitues a “small check.”

I.e., if my mother telephoned Rice Bowl and asked if my father was around -- as in, “Is Andy there please?” The call to Rice Bowl inquire if he was there was, according to Mr. Lee Lai, a “small check.”

A “big check” was if the wife would ask to speak to her husband, as in “Can I speak to Andy please?” To which Mr. Lee would answer appropriately, depending of course on what he had been asked to say by the hubby. If that answer was “Yes,” then Mr. Lee would call out to husband involved to come to the phone. I.e., “Andy, big check.”

A “spot check” was when wife arrived at Rice Bowl unannounced, in search of her husband. I ask my mother if she ever did such a “spot check” and she says yes. Then she qualifies herself by saying, “I just followed the example of Annie.”

Annie was Annie Rice, the wife of Apollo Rice, the Uncle Apollo who was partly American, partly Igorot, who was at my parents' parties and my father's dice games at home.

Uncle Apollo's interests were in mining and stocks. It was also from him that the surface rights over Monterrazas Subdivision were purchased. It was after him that one of the Baguio Country Club's wings was named after. Hence, the “Apollo Rice Wing.”

During one of my parents' visits to UP Diliman when I was an undergrad student there, likewise their Alma Mater, they told me as they dropped me off at Ilang-Ilang (where my mom had stayed too) that they would then hie off to visit Uncle Apollo in hospital. As it turned out, they were two of the few old friends who managed to visit him before he died.

This week, we have gone from one Rice (Bowl) toe from one Rice (Bowl) to another (Apollo) Rice. Next week, we pick up from that second rice.