16.6.08

My Father's Gift of Memories

My father would have been 85 years old last April. He could have been very old, perhaps his back almost hunched, maybe still tinkering around. But I am sure where ever he is, he's happy, settled and enjoying the company of the rest of our relatives who's passed on to the next life.

But on Father's Day, 2008, I remember the man who gave me half of my life. On the occasion of honoring all fathers this year I would have dreamed of giving him a complete darkroom facility. A place where would continue to dabble in black and white photography. Yes my father was some sort of an 'expert' in black and white photo development.

This in fact was a favorite subject and though unschooled in this area, managed to wow me. In fact he took so many pictures of us his kids, developed and printed them. I still have some of those pictures and somehow, soon will be able to put it in this blog.

Taking our photos meant that he would need to develop the pictures. The dark room of the Philippine Constabulary Signal Corp Service was his constant laboratory and playroom. At home, he'd always have a small corner where reserved to keep all his enlargers and photo equipment which I think were all German made. They could be priceless by now. I don't know what happened to these equipment.

He left us sometime when I had just gotten out of the university. He moved from place to place, finally ending up in our ancestral home in Nueva Ecija. He stayed there for so many years but finally came back home to us six months before he died after his second cataract operation.

Ahh, I get carried away when I speak about my father. I have so many fond memories of him, despite being a very strict, old school disciplinarian. He was tough. We can't be noisy when he is sleeping. We can/t touch his enormous number of tools; DIY, radio-phonograph and even garden tools.

My father demanded respect for elders. And also understandably, he was kind of obsessive-compulsive personality. Complete order and cleanliness in the house is not a requisite - it is the rule . We we were far far rich but we had most of what we needed.

My father bought me my first bike when I was 3 years old. He wanted to buy me a piano when I was 7 but my mother asked him where he'd get the money; how he always talked about the beauty of eating vegetables and planting your own even on a tiny piece of lot which we managed to successfully do whenever our place had a backyard.

There so much more of those fond remembrances that I'd love to talk about, but for now, Papa where ever you may be Happy Father's Day. I love you.