November 28 was my dad’s supposed-to-have-been 77th birthday, and we usually celebrate it by putting up some form of Christmas decor, as he was a big fan of Christmas.
However, for obvious reasons, siblings were not up to putting up decor this year, contrary to their usual practice (and I don’t anymore because I don’t want to be putting away stuff after the holidays and storage issues, you know?), which seems a bit sad to me, now that I think about it.
Anyway, we had started talking about how we’d celebrate his life, instead, and had begun jotting down things we’d eat to remember him by, like ube macapuno or vanilla ice cream, and the corner bakery donuts that he used to like, until we realized we were just listing down a lot of food.
So we switched to tv shows he used to watch, like Combat (starring “Tom Morrow” to us kids, maybe Vic Morrow’s long-lost brother?) and Hawaii Five-O, and how he, maybe, invented binge-watching in the 80’s by renting all episodes of “Winds of War” in betamax format, which he brought home in a big box one evening. I don’t think anyone else, aside from him, ever watched those tapes, so I don’t have anything to say about that show.
He was a big tv and movie buff, and he and my mom would watch a movie EVERY FRIDAY night, when we were growing up. He’d pick her up from the elementary school she taught at, and they’d have dinner and a movie. Always, they’d bring us goto and halohalo from the late night gotohan after, so we made sure to stay up and wait for them.
When I was much younger, I recall one night when our tv broke down. I recall it vividly because my dad left the house then, which seemed odd to my very your self, as we do not usually leave the house after dark. But off he went, to I-don’t-know-where, and after a while he comes back with 2 men, carrying a brand new, cabinet-type tv (which was the technology, then, ok?). After they set it up, I recall the show that came on: Combat! Right on time, I guess. That’s how big a fan he was.
Anyway, my brother, who is just 1 year younger than I am, cannot recall that story, but I am grateful that I do. My dad may have seemed like a quiet and unassuming man to others, but memories like this make him more endearing to me, as this shows he had his quirks, as well, maybe much like ours, though his may not have been as evident.
One cannot help but feel some regret that he left us much earlier than we have liked. I think he would have enjoyed having Netflix or HBO, but then, one cannot question why things happen when they did. We can only hold on to good memories and the lessons he had instilled in us, and pray we will meet with him again, somewhere, some other time.