Briones: Yellow brick sidewalk

Publio J. Briones III
Publio J. Briones III

Who remembers the movie, The Wizard of Oz, starring a very young Judy Garland? Better yet, who remembers Judy Garland?

Anyone? No one?

I can’t blame you. The movie came out 30 years before I was born. Now if you do the Math, that’s a very, very, very long time ago. As for Garland, she died a year before I entered this world.

And yet I know The Wizard of Oz and its songs like the back of my hand.

You see it was the first movie that my siblings and I watched after my dad bought our first Betamax back in 1981. Or was it 1982? Either way, it was also a long, long time ago.

Okay, so who here knows what a Betamax is?

Anyway, so where was I? Oh yes, The Wizard of Oz.

It’s a musical.

It has one song that almost all Americans and their brown brothers on this side of the Pacific know, and that is “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

But there’s another song that I think hits close to home for people who reside in the uptown area of Cebu City.

Don’t worry, I don’t expect many of you to know it. It’s the song “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.”

Ah, motorists and pedestrians who have traversed Osmeña Blvd. recently probably now have an inkling where I’m going with this.

To those who are still scratching their heads as to why the contractor of the first package of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project destroyed the sidewalks on both sides from Fuente Osmeña to P. del Rosario St. it’s because they are beautifying it. Or I guess that’s what you call it.

But yes, the sidewalk, especially the one fronting the Vicente Sotto and Department of Health compound, has been transformed into a brick path with a single row of yellow bricks running straight right through the middle, which is why I remember the song and the movie The Wizard of Oz.

I could have alluded to Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” a song in the album of the same name, which was a big hit back in the early 1970s, but I thought it nice to refer to the original source.

By the looks of it, our yellow brick, well, line leads pedestrians to the downtown area. So what’s in the downtown area?

In The Wizard of Oz, Garland’s character Dorothy, along with her three companions -- the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man -- are off to see the Wizard who lives in Emerald City so he could help them with their problems.

They were told they could get there by following the yellow brick road.

You see, Dorothy wants to return home to Kansas, Scarecrow wants brains, Lion seeks courage, while Tin Man wants a heart.

As they head off, they start singing:

We’re off to see the Wizard,

The wonderful Wizard of Oz.

We hear he is a whiz of a Wiz if ever a Wiz there was.

If ever, oh ever a Wiz there was,

The Wizard of Oz is one becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz

Becoz of the wonderful things he does.

We’re off to see the Wizard,

The wonderful Wizard of Oz.

When they finally met the Wizard, let’s just say he didn’t turn out to be so wonderful after all. And he was from being a whiz. He was a fraud, bereft of any magical powers.

“I’m really a very good man,” he tells the gang. “But I’m a very bad wizard, I must admit.”

Am I reading too much into a ton of bricks along Osmeña Blvd.? Well, I’ve got my foot in the door, so to speak, so I might as well enter.

Despite being exposed as an ordinary man, the Wizard still manages to solve the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion’s problem. They just suffered from lack self-confidence, which members of the Gen Alpha can relate to.

So where am I going with this?

Nowhere. I just thought it would be nice to reminisce the past, walk down memory lane, after I saw the yellow brick line in the middle of the sidewalk the other day.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


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