The immense values of class and family reunions

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

There is something of great value in meeting close friends, relatives, and classmates we haven’t seen in many decades. We would be seeing our former friends, enemies, crushes, and former girlfriends who are now grandmothers. There’s always excitement and some tinge of nostalgia and fervent memories of both the nice and not so nice things. We would just be giggling and smiling at our follies long ago.

Today, I’m flying back to Cebu from an academic engagement in Copenhagen and all these hustles just to attend my Southwestern high school class reunion in a five-star hotel. I am excited to see my former classmates in Class 1966 or 57 years ago. They must be excited to. Tomorrow, my brother and I are driving down south via Carcar, Simala, Sibonga, then to Taloot, Argao, where we shall swerve rightward to the mountains and valleys of Colawin and Masa, Argao, then cross over to Langin, Ronda, where I shall again attend our elementary school reunion in Langin Elementary School.

The day after tomorrow, I shall preside over our Birondo Clan Reunion in Pusodsawa, Langin, Ronda. There will be at least 200 attending that family reunion and I arranged for the transport of 12 balikbayan boxes from Seattle containing Christmas goodies to be raffled and distributed to my cousins, nephews, nieces and aunts, uncles and other close distant relatives. I shall also preside over the general assembly of the alumni association that I and my other co-founders are establishing in our remote village.

My SWU high school classmates are now retired former government officials, business leaders and successful professionals, including doctors, lawyers, nurses, medical technologists, engineers, accountants, teachers, pharmacists, architects, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and expatriates. We are all in our seventies and many of us have high blood, diabetes, high cholesterol, and uric acid. But we still dance zumba, the twist, limbo rock, the cha-cha, boogie, and even tango. We sing and we declaim as if we were still reciting before our stern high school faculty. Some are widows and widowers and others have married our other classmates just as we were taught to patronize our own products.

Five years ago, the late Sir Dodong Gullas, one of the founding pillars of The FREEMAN, asked me, as the 2019 Centennial Alumni Association president of the University of the Visayas, to lead in the planning, organizing and executing of the activities under the grand alumni homecoming, which we held in Marco Polo. It was graced by many graduates of the great institution of UV, Cebu's first university. Alumni from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and all over Asia came home to our alma mater. It was a very successful celebration which Sir Dodong and Sir Eddie Gullas, as well as Madam Inday Sering Gullas Lucero treasure in their memory and in honor of UV's founder, Don Vicente Arandia Gullas and their late mother, Lady Josefina Rivera Gullas.

At my age, I promised myself to attend all reunions as part of my bucket list to see the world but always come back where I started. And so, even as I am a travelling lecturer in many fields of law and HR, I always make it a point not to miss the fun, pleasure, and experience of remembering the good old memories. I travel to Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, the Middle East, even to Israel at war, and I go around the US and Europe. But I always make sure to join reunions and homecomings. I am now in the twilight of my life, not yet in the pre-departure area, but maybe soon. Hence, I smell the flowers while I still can.

At this point, I am just up to the point of smelling. But that's okay. At least, I continue to be enthralled by the beauty of the world and the sweetness of a life well-loved. I have worked for seven decades of my life and until now I am teaching, writing, and conducting seminars and learning sessions. But while I do so, I am also enjoying life to the fullest. I have a beautiful family, a loving wife, five excellent children, and six grandchildren. I have all that it takes to enjoy life. And that includes reunions and homecomings. They are the icing of life and the spices of living. I thank the Lord for class reunions and homecomings before I finally come home to my final resting place in the bosom of God.

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