Remembering Grandfather

October 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm 11 comments

Eyeglasses

 
I remember my maternal grandfather when I think of the violence happening in the world today. Most of it, I’m afraid, is caused by well-meaning people striving for perfection. They found the truth and they are willing to use any means including violence to convince everyone of it.

My grandfather wasn’t perfect. He wore a big tattoo on his left forearm. He was a gambler. He drank a lot. He was a womanizer. My mother thought she was the only child, then she found out she has siblings from other women.

My grandfather would leave my grandmother for months and sometimes for years. But when he was around she could make her laugh. Looking back, he could have made her cry, too. but i never saw it.

In the U.S. this kind of relationship could have ended in divorce, but not in my grandparents’ generation in the Philippines. Once married, it’s expected to last until death do them part.

I was his first grandson. I don’t know what he saw when he first laid eyes on me that he had my first name recorded in our town’s civil registry as ‘Magsalin’. Roughly translated in English, it means ‘to sow one’s oats’. However, it didn’t last. As soon as my father knew about it, he had it changed to something more acceptable in polite society.

It was probably because of my grandfather’s lifestyle that my father never wanted me to be close to him. He thought my grandfather was bad influence to a growing child. But I was always attracted to my grandfather. He had a great personality. He had an easy manner with people. He never held any grudges. He had stories to tell of his adventures. He showed me how to play cards. He gave me my first smoke a the age of six. He made me eat dog meat. He was never boring.

I don’t think my grandfather held it against my father for telling me to stay away from him. When my father’s appendicitis burst and he had to be confined to the hospital for a week, my grandfather stayed in his room and watched over him until he was out of danger. That was around the time my mother just gave birth to my baby sister. I wouldn’t have known it had my father not told me many, many years later. Perhaps it was his way of giving credit where credit was due.

My grandfather was very excited when he knew I decided to go the U.S. It was an opportunity that he never had.

He died a few years later at age 78. Finally, his vices caught up with him. He succumbed to stomach cancer as a result of years of heavy drinking. On his deathbed, he correctly predicted the time of his death. He said it would be at 2 p.m. that afternoon. Moments before he died, he imagined people, who had been dead a long time, visiting and paying him respects. They included the town mayor to whom he served as secretary. Could it be a sign that, in spite of his failings, he made a difference in their lives?

My grandfather lived his life as he saw fit. He wasn’t after achieving perfection. He saw life as something fluid like running waters that can take any form or shape. It wasn’t meant to be frozen by other people’s dogmas and beliefs.

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, daily prompt. Tags: , , , , , , , .

divine wrath or coincidence bedtime secrets

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alkapon  |  October 22, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Base!

    Pareho pala tayo ng lolo.. ang lolo kong barbero ganyan din, marami rin chicks nung araw.

    eto pa nga nakakatawa.. minsan nagkaroon ako ng GF for a months, then natuklasan ko na cousin ko rin pala siya, kasi ang mommy nya ay anak pala ng lolo ko sa labas.. ayun! napilitan kaming pinutol ang ralationship namin.

    Reply
    • 2. plaridel  |  October 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm

      alkapon:

      base na base, pare.

      yun nga ang problema. posibleng magkagustuhan ang magpinsan. pero masaya rin kung nagkakakilala ang lahat. i’m talking about the second generation and below. 🙂

      Reply
  • 3. J.Kulisap  |  October 22, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Wow. Base ako..base..heavy pare..sandali lang hihinga muna ako.

    Walang perpektong tao sa mundo, ikaw o ako ay walang karapatang husgahan kung sino at ano ka o ako man. Nakakapagod ang laging tingnan ang kakulangan ng iba samantalang hindi tayo napagod tingnan ang kakulangan ng ating sarili mismo.

    Iba-iba ang tao, kaya nga magkakahiwalay..yong mga bagay na maganda pwedeng ipamahagi, yong mga bagay na pangit–pwede ring gawing isang halimbawa.

    Pagtanggap sa kakulangan ng bawat isa ay kapayapaan ang dala.

    Reply
    • 4. plaridel  |  October 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm

      j.kulisap:

      second base, pare. mabilis si alkapon. 🙂

      kahit sinuman eh matutuhan mong igalang kung di sya natatakot na ipakita ang kanyang tunay na pagkatao sa madlang pipol. sa madaling salita, di sya peke o plastik. what you see is what you get.

      Reply
  • 5. J.Kulisap  |  October 22, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Tama ka don, may mga taong sobrang pasaway at papampam.

    Mas masaya ang taong walang itinatago.

    Reply
  • 6. Ruchi  |  October 23, 2009 at 2:17 am

    Hey,

    Nice post you have here, i haven’t been tht close to grand dad… Although, I haven’t been through the entire blog yet, I must say it is very nice.

    I dropped by to thank you and tell you that I made the changes in my poem as suggested by you! have linked that post to you!

    Cheers,
    Ruchi

    Reply
    • 7. plaridel  |  October 23, 2009 at 11:15 am

      ruchi:

      you maybe missing something not being close to your grand dad. grandparents tend to spoil their grand kids a lot. 🙂

      Reply
  • 8. coolwaterworks  |  October 23, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Your post made me remember my grandfather

    I think that despite his imperfections and misgivings, your grandfather by chooisng to live his life as he saw fit, has indeed truly lived…

    Ha…now I miss my grandfather…

    Reply
    • 9. plaridel  |  October 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm

      coolwaterworks:

      i’d say amen to that. there might be some regrets here and there, but he lived his life to the full.

      Reply
  • 10. emilayskie  |  October 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    It’s amazing how one would see a person differently compared to how our family would want us to think of them. That always happens to me and my mother. Most of the time my mom’s enemies become my close friends.

    This is how I would remember my grandfather too. He’s become a drunkard now and makes too many mistakes in his decisions but I would still remember the happy memories I spent with him when I was still little.

    Reply
    • 11. plaridel  |  October 26, 2009 at 10:05 am

      emilayskie:

      we see things based on where we stand. for instance, a beautiful scenery won’t look the same when viewed from different angles. perspectives change as we change our position.

      Reply

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