today (and everyday) is International call-your-folks-from-out-of-the-blue Day, TY to 5th Bro


a recent pic of my folks with 2nd Brother.  as you can see, they've been taking care of themselves.  miss you all! thanks and acknowledgment to the Facebook Collection of Ms Dely Imperial!

a recent pic of my folks with 2nd Brother. as you can see, they’ve been taking care of themselves. love and miss you all! thanks and acknowledgment to the Facebook Collection of Ms Dely Imperial!

[Note :  Thanks to brother Jude for reminding us that “wala lang” (or nope, no reason at all) is as perfectly good a reason as any to call your parents, especially from across the miles. Please visit www.judebautista.wordpress.com when you’ve time Precious Reader! ]

VERY POLITELY, 5th Bro reminded us to call the olds more often.  (By the way, in the traditional Chinese-Pinoy style 5th bro is not my fifth brother, but is “the fifth brother” in a brood of five.)  He gently recounted that sometime during the Papal visit earlier this year, Dad suffered from a nasty bout of flu and related ailments, which he recovered from soon enough, but which gave them enough concern to review Dad’s physical activities short- and long-term.

During the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight early next month, they will all be together, the bros, folks and everyone else, and would a Messenger or Skype video call be possible Fifth Brother adds?  Guiltily I message back, telling him I’ll do all I can to assemble the rellys NZ-side (me, the anakis and the odd boyfriend / girlfriend of the latter).

*****     *****     *****

But almost immediately I want to call home, which I haven’t done since I completed paying my utang to Mom.

[ Let me give you a thumbnail sketch of Dad : he’s always been fit and healthy, especially since quitting tobacco around four decades ago.  Until around 10 years ago he ran 10k’s and fun runs, and strolls nearly everyday.  He’s begun to slow down a bit, but is still up and about and is as frisky as any 83-year-old shouldn’t be. ]

I took the cue and between the evening news and NCIS, quickly rang Mom.

“Advance Happy Mom’s day Mom, Noel here! (my voice is similar to all my other bros’, so identifying myself is helpful)”

“And an advance happy 50th  birthday to you!” she says, and we both laugh at that.

dumadami na’ng 50-plus sa mga anak nyo Mom I joke, and she replies with something like it’s quality not quantity that determines how old we are, how true.

I quickly hop around to the issue, asking about Dad, and as always Mom minimizes the negatives.

Oo nagkasakit sya pero very minor lang, at kilala mo naman Dad nyo, always active and about, Mom sez.  She adds that Dad exercises enough for both of them, a comment which makes me think twice, because Mom herself needs to move about too.

But is he well enough to wander around alone, I venture?

I could almost see Mom roll her eyeballs at my naivete, hearing her say as soon as I reach my pwesto (selling sweet ham in multiple locations Metro-wide) he’s gone doing who-knows-what.

I know that in his advanced age, Dad is still distracted by tight jeans and mini skirts, so I know what who-knows-what is.  That is enough to convince me Dad is still healthy and doing well.

*****     *****     *****

As a bonus, Dad isn’t eating, watching TV or napping, things that he can’t be bothered getting away from.  So I can actually get an audience with him.

HI DAD! I almost shout into the phone.

You don’t need to shout, I’m not hard of hearing, Dad says.  I remind myself that it’s the few seconds audio delay and not the difficulty in hearing that’s the issue with overseas calls.

We talk about my running, which Dad sez he’d like to take up again (wag na lang Dad) and wife Mahal’s cooking, which Dad sez is unfair on two counts : that he can’t taste it (hopefully on a visit home Dad) and that I should be doing some cooking to help Mahal (tasting na lang ang sa akin Dad).

*****     *****     *****

Out of the blue I turn senti and remind Dad of a place in Ongpin (in the heart of Manila’s Chinatown) and a resto manager who became his friend.  On Sundays in the 1970s, when I was Dad’s faithful and adoring squire, he would bring me to eat there and meet the friend.

It’s Dad’s turn to be semi-solemn : Tony’s Kitchen is closed now, he tells us.  And Yu Pak his friend (whose name actually sounds like dyslexic cursing, God rest his soul) passed away long time ago.  No more bihon guisado, and no more discounts on asado and roast duck.  But life is still good, he hastens to add.

*****     *****     *****

Before the call starts to cost too much, Dad sez he still has one more nugget of wisdom to impart, and I listen closely :

You have a lovely young wife who is devoted to you, he reminds me (no need to actually).  Your kids are all grown up and doing rather well, he observes (again, I’m grateful to be able to see that).  And you are healthy, Third Son (cross my gouty fingers).  Don’t forget to take a step back, be grateful, and ENJOY YOURSELF.  

I already am Dad.

Thanks for reading!

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2 thoughts on “today (and everyday) is International call-your-folks-from-out-of-the-blue Day, TY to 5th Bro

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