For sentimental reasons
The Good News Bear

For sentimental reasons

PURPLE SHADES - Letty Jacinto-Lopez (The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2019 - 12:00am

When my son was nine years old, he saved his canteen baon to buy me a stuffed bear that was wearing a reversible T-shirt that read: The Good News: You were a beautiful baby.  On the reverse:  The Bad News:  It didn’t last.”

He realized too late that the message on the other side was not flattering, and so was quick to apologize: “Mom, I was in school the whole day and I barely had time to find you a cute gift, so there you are.” 

Aww, it was cute, all right — nakakata-cute.  The bear sits snugly on my craft shelf, forever sporting that naughty smirk and there it will stay until I croak.  Every time I see this bear, I break into a wide grin, thinking of how my son made an effort to think of me.  It’s the thought that counts, remember?

Recently, I paid a visit to the lady DJ of my youth — Jo San Diego of the fabled DZMT radio station’s “All Night Stand.” Who remembers her?

The Bad News Bear

Jo is confined at home and cannot walk anymore.  She remains articulate, clear-headed and gracious.  The memory of her radio days kept our conversation flowing. We could not stop talking about the personalities that hogged the airwaves in the ’60s and ’70s when the world was young and ours to conquer.  Jo was the voice that kept night owls happily awake, including in my generation, who needed to frantically bone up for school exams.  She was like your talking buddy who shared hot topics with you (in the dead of night).  Jo inserted poetic quotes from the classics and historical facts to keep us curious, sane and grounded.  Her golden voice and her infectious laugh topped by the immense variety of music she played were moments to remember.

Hey!  Isn’t that a line from an old song?  We brought back the old times, without a doubt, the good times. 

* * *

I followed the 30th SEA Games and watched with bated breath when our women’s volleyball team fought against the unbeatable teams of Thailand and Indonesia. I turned to my friend, Maurita, and exclaimed: “Do you remember when we were playing volleyball in school; did we ever go for the kill?  These girls have no fear.” Maurita replied: “I don’t, except I blocked the opponent’s serve to toss the ball across the net.”  We giggled like young teens again. I swear I heard my bones cracked and cackled like that flying witch on a broomstick.  But since we are now confined between two profiles these days, we laughed harder to have to choose between:  Are you skinny as a toothpick or plump as a dumpling? 

Since November, I’ve made several trips to Divisoria to stock up on freshly roasted chestnuts.  Can you taste it? Pair that with the Christmas carol “roasting on an open fire” to perk up your spirit, never mind if your uric acid count hits the roof. Chestnuts hearken to those bygone days when my parents gathered their brood, not only to partake of God’s abundant blessings but to unite family in love and deep affection. It was also my staple snack whenever Tatay took us to the movies at Avenue or Ever Theaters along Rizal Avenue. He took me by the hand as we made a quick detour to Hen Wah Chinese panciteria-cum-convenience store for these finger-burning nuts in brown paper bags — all for P1.25 a kilo.

* * *

My longtime friend Ann, texted me, “Catch Sobee in The Boss; she’s being interviewed by Cathy Yang.” Sobee was the chubby girl who was my son’s “best girl” in kindergarten.  When Sobee (now general manager of Mary Kay Philippines) discussed her marketing strategies to push her line of cosmetic products and rise above the Forex fluctuations, something tugged at my heart.  This little girl is a woman now, driven and passionate in her corporate convictions. But at heart, Sobee remains the sugar and spice princess who got her way with her mamon-hearted papa, while her mama sees her little carbon copy, all calm and collected.  Ann, isn’t this a sunrise-sunset moment?       

In our class reunion, we could not believe that we’re still standing past hearing aids, walking sticks, Magoo glasses and wheelchairs.  Bettina beamed and whispered, “This is not as dreadful as hearing your name being called to defend your thesis.”

There were four birthday celebrants we honored with birthday cakes.  Make a wish Luigi, Manelle, Vicki and Isabel.  They did, without melting the cakes.         

Change comes but we look out for daily miracles to keep us on our knees, praying with gratefulness. These are the times that make life worth living. The giggling hasn’t stopped.  Neither have the memories wrapped in sweet, timeless music. 

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