Flash! it’s August!
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2019 - 12:00am

Flash! August begins on July 31 in my family. It is the birthday of Maxine, my lovely granddaughter, baby of my only son. We have lunch together with her family who is here. I bought her a wonderful little bag with clasps that don’t match.

 In San Francisco, where a fourth of my family lives, I got a photograph of my grandson Mikel’s early birthday party. He had a boodle bash orchestrated by his mother, brother and sister. His birthday was yesterday, Aug. 3. He is the son of my oldest daughter; most of them live in California. Mikel is six feet tall and very good-looking. Once I told him that if he got into acting I was sure he would make it in Hollywood. But instead of acting he got into happiness. He now has a very pretty girlfriend. 

 Soon Aug. 6 will come along. This marks the birthday of two of my closest friends — Emily Abrera, whom I met when we worked at McCann-Erickson, and Ting Roxas, whom I met eons ago and became very dear friends with when we both lived in San Francisco. Emily is younger and Ting is much older than me. Emily became my writing student so we will celebrate our birthdays together with her classmates on Aug. 14. This group has become very close. We are all somewhat crazy, laugh a lot although we have very serious sides — but who needs serious sides? We all just love to have fun.

 We used to hang out at the Old Swiss Inn in Makati because it belonged to one of my AIM classmates. On Aug. 14 we will meet there again for old times’ sake. Maria Ressa was also once my student. Maybe she would like to join this mix of writing, friendship and laughter. Maria could use a good time these days.

Finally, Aug. 8! My birthday! It’s like a chameleon. Sometimes it’s very happy. Other years it means absolutely nothing. Now I’m turning 75. Just passing, if we were in school. I can’t disconnect the words “just passing” from being 75. Maybe since I got married a year and seven months ago, and have not divorced yet, I get a “passing” mark. I can almost hear Sister Aquinata, my teacher, telling me from her place in heaven,
“That’s not good enough.” Seventy-five is never good enough. You must aim for 100.

 I don’t know why this birthday means a lot to me. It feels like a formal entry into old age. Now I can throw away all the stupid rules I learned and really enjoy life. Once my husband and I were watching YouTube. We caught a show with Jimmy Fallon. He went through a period of featuring issues and asking people on the street about them. This time, Fallon said they had seen a statistic that, in the United States, the people who were most sexually active were the seniors. So they began to interview seniors.

 I’m sorry to say this but Caucasians don’t really age attractively. Their freckles merge into big brown spots. They have lots of wrinkles. But they all admitted to being sexually active in their old age. “Yes, we are,” they all said, “but we’re not going to talk about it.”

I got invited to address a group of local women aged 40 up. What am I supposed to talk about? The group that asked me took off from my column titled “Hot at 75.” I guess they want me to talk about being hot at 75 and above. I have been thinking a lot about that and to this day, I don’t know what I’m going to say. Maybe I will say that being 75 and up means going over the hill to the mysterious other side. And what lies — or lays — on the other side is our rediscovered sexuality.

 There was a time in my life when I lived with a man whose birthday was Aug. 10. We were both Leos. He was the male lion, with a mane of wild curly hair. He would strut with pride and hit on every woman available. I played the role of lioness, the one who hunts for her whole family, the vain male and her little cubs. She ate their leftovers. This role of mine continued well after our separation.

 Then, Aug. 12 was my stepfather’s birthday. He was another Leo but I don’t think he had that many women. And finally, Aug. 18 is the birthday of another dear friend, Tillie Pellagallo, who is bright, fashionable, also loves laughing at everything; definitely my type of person. After her birthday, August loses its taste for me. The calendar slowly folds itself and goes to sleep until the next big birthdays come in very late September.

 August is here and I left for Singapore for an early celebration. See? August for me is really the first flashy month of the year!

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