This Memorial Day weekend, my thoughts and love are with a Filipino teacher and soldier. He was my Father. http://www.sbgonzaga.ph/past_mayors.htm
My Father was widowed twice before he married my Mother. He was 56 years old when I was born. I am the youngest of many children. Having been imprisoned and tortured in WWII, my Father had health issues. He lived frugally. He owned substantial real estate properties, but even during hard times, he did not want to sell any, desiring that his children would inherit them. We were very poor.
I have two cherished childhood memories of my Father.
He was offered big bucks to join a company. He asked what would be his responsibilities. The answer was – none. He would be paid huge amounts of money for doing nothing. My Father refused the offer. I believe he suspected that his name would be used to seek special privileges, or even as cover for illegal activities.
One early morning, my Father asked me to accompany him. We walked to the Aparri Municipal building. He informed a male municipal employee that he was there in compliance with the agrarian reform law. My Father, I believe, further commented about the law’s injustice since he worked hard to acquire his lands. The employee rudely and angrily berated him. I felt rage. My Father kept quiet.
Then, the municipal judge arrived; he warmly and respectfully greeted my Father. The employee’s face was a sight – surprised and stricken.
The mayor arrived. Like the judge, he, too, showed my Father warmth and respect. After asking my Father why he was there and then instructing the employee about it, the mayor invited my Father to his office. The employee was trembling. As the mayor turned to lead the way to his office, the employee whispered a plea to the old man that he treated like dirt. My Father did not tell the mayor about the impolite man.
Thank you, Papang, for these memories which have inspired and strengthened me. Lovelots.