An Open Letter: Dearest Papa
"You Are My Sunshine" by Jimmy Wakely, the very first song my pa sung to me and learned it from him.
An Open Letter: "Dearest Papa"
"We are oceans apart, far and wide. Papa, I miss you so. There are times in my sleep that I think of you and it soaks my pillow. I will always be a papa's girl." ♥
Thank you for bringing me into this world and bringing in my two brothers and little sister. You introduced me first on how to say a prayer, to pray each night before bed and if at times I was too tired from play and homework, you checked on me to make sure I did the sign of the cross.
You had taught me the first few favourite songs of your time and helped me memorize them line by line. I get out of tune and we both laugh hard and sing again until I made it right. I still remember the songs by heart and until to this day I sing aloud for my girls to hear- “You Are My Sunshine”, “Love Me Tender” and “Mr. Sandman”. Luckily, your granddaughters are not telling me, “Mom, enough already!” because they are actually learning the songs from hearing me singing them. And then, there were more songs that I enjoyed singing with you while you had shared to me your “song hits” a book full of old songs. I also remember “Candida”, “Feelings”, “Yesterday”, “The Love Story”, “Sweet Caroline”, “Killing Me Softly” and “Delilah”! You had also revealed to me that “Sweet Caroline” was the song you used to sing to mama and that “Moon River” became both your theme song.
My pa sings "Sweet Caroline" to my ma, Carolina
On Papa's Chickens and Dancing on Sundays
Going back when I was two, you held my hand and led me down beneath our house to watch you feed the chickens during sunrise. You handed me a couple of the fluffy yellow chicks to play while mama hen was out of sight. “Where did she go?” I asked. “Looking for worms perhaps.” you replied. “But why, when you feed her every morning?” I was looking down at you while you were pouring some feeds into the hens’ feed holders when suddenly out of nowhere the white fat mother hen came squawking and flapping straight at me. I stood there stunned, shocked and shaking. I even could still vision her terrified face and my face must have been equally terrified as her. From that time on, I had stopped playing with chicks and getting horrified with chickens. It developed into phobia!
"Papa, I love you!"
I cherish the times we danced on the floor. But you had to pull me on one hand and guided me to Boogie! I was laughing hysterically at the same time pulling away from you screaming, “I don’t want to dance. I don’t want to dance.” You never gave up on me but continued to sway to the rock and roll, playing loud enough that could make our neighbours across our house boogie while cooking. The chunky stereo cassette tapes and Goldies LP albums played one by one on Sundays and made me dance. I had fun dancing the cha-cha, salsa, waltz, but too shy to boogie for I have to slide underneath you, hahah. You had also tried teaching me rumba and came up with your version “Rumba, ang Japon na tumba; na-igo sa boomba sa America.” I exclaimed, “What? That’s not how it is!” You almost had fooled me there, papa!
We both danced in barrio fiestas (at least twice); one, dancing to the cha-cha and another time, I got picked out for "flower dance". I felt proud to be your dance partner and all eyes were at us. I went home with my feet looking like I was wearing socks, but it was all from dust. The fiesta dancing ground was a former farm lot and it did not matter for I was out there dancing with my pa. The flood lights were blinding, huge loudspeakers sounded like heavy thunder, and the crossed triangular flags of red, yellow and blue waved above head.
On Papa's Discipline and Punishment to Mold Us
"Papa, you were very strict and thank you for that!"
You had taught the four of us good table manners- to give thanks to God for the food on the table, no reading of newspaper at the table while eating; no crumbs should fall off the plate and no fighting. Indeed, fighting happened a few times at the table with my brother. We were seated right across each other. When he threw rice at my face, like a catapult, I flicked my fork with food and hit him back, yeah! Then, you came around grabbed both our arms, pulling us to get up from our chairs and with your deep voice you said, “Stand up!” We angered you for we did not respect God’s graces for supper. You gave me and my brother some really good spanking with your belt. Mark got spanked first while I was quick enough to run to my room and put on some extra double shorts for padding. When it was my turn for the whipping, I will not deny it, with the padding of two shorts underneath; I was still scared and swirled around underneath your arm and around you, shielding my butt with my palm. It did not hurt that much and I pretended that it did. I got you there too, papa. I got you fooled!
You sternly scolded us, “No dinner for you both. Go to the altar and kneel and only get up when I tell you so.” I think I remember one incident that we both could had rested our knees on a few grain of raw rice. That could have been hard. And kneeling in front of the Virgin Mary will make us good you hoped, but we continued to fight and made faces, sticking our tongues out. “Face the walls!” you commanded and that stopped our face-fight until the time we were able to get up. Your strict discipline and punishments to straighten us were effective. We do not regret any of it papa, just see how we are now. We are thankful for our proper up-bringing.
On Pa at Play & Homework, Respect & Love
My one unforgettable time with you was solving thousands of jigsaw puzzle pieces on our cool tiled floor. We lay on the floor eager to finish the puzzle like there is no tomorrow. That was such great fun and you were really smart at it.
"I miss those days when you gave us each a bunny to raise and love, and how you fooled me, my brothers and sister with all your magic tricks."
Papa, thank you for your help and support in my major school projects. Your enthusiasm and creativity for sure had my class teacher graded you instead. You drove me tirelessly to find the most unusual trees from both ends (north and south of Cebu) to be able to come up with an “A” for my photography project too. I had wonderful adventure drives with you. And it indeed garnered "A+" for both you and me, haha!
Remember the time I started to shy away from giving you a kiss as we crossed paths on the road? I was off to school and you were driving home. You would stop the car, roll down the window and call for me to give papa a kiss. I shyly hesitated because I was conscious that neighbours could see me kiss you on the cheek. That was really stupid of me and why do we ever shy away like this as we grow up? I know my growing girls wants to avoid kissing their dad in public too or them getting kisses. I know I will always be a papa’s girl. I got some lessons from you that day after school. A lesson that taught me never to be ashamed of my parents, no matter where, no matter what; give them some respect.
On Papa's Guidance in My Growing Up to Becoming a Teen and Reaching Motherhood
"A father's pocket always has room for a little kindness. Pa gave me whatever was left in his wallet when I needed it."
As I was budding and receiving suitors, you have carefully and lovingly watched over me from them. Constantly, you reminded me to be modest and break up with a boy who does not follow the "golden rule" after courtship, also forcing me to take my little sister as chaperone to Sunday mass dates with my boyfriend. You shared your infatuations over mama during your university years whistling from your floor to get her attention.
One time, I made a big lie to you and went out with my friends together with our blind dates. I thought, my being honest does not make me be with my friends, so then, I tried lying. And with the lie I made, I felt, “Yes! Success!” That overnight beach party had my heart ceaselessly in a rhythmic “guilt” tempo.
There were times when I got stubborn and received slapping for yelling disrespectfully at you. Oh my, a slap felt like my lips were kissed by a cockroach! It felt like marshmallow, haha! You would lead me to my room and talk to me heart-to-heart. You shared sentimentally about your childhood and how lolo (grandpa) had disciplined you and your brothers in very strict Spanish ways. You would be in tears and I would be sobbing harder. The talk is closed with a kiss on the cheek, and then it made you and me feel better. You would say, “Give papa a kiss.” And you would not leave until we mended up.
"I learned half of the cooking lessons from you. I love your garlic fried rice, especially. And oh, the coffee-egg-in-my-rice, that was from you too!"
We learned to eat vegetables from you. As you used to say, “Just try it. You’ll never know until you’ve tried it.” The ugliest tasting vegetable I had when I was young is now one of my best veggie, the bitter melon! And thank you pa for teaching me how to drive. I wish I have your white beetle here in Canada.
Reaching womanhood brought me to bravely come home and open up to you one weekend. I was too frightened to approach you and how to start it. But you got the hint because I was constantly behind you; a fatherly instinct perhaps and hinted to me that you’ve noticed my appetite had changed and I was craving for your guavas! I hugged you tight, so tight that my tears were streaming down your neck. You whispered that it is alright, that I am of the right age, with a stable job and hold a man who is loved by the family and will be an ideal husband. Then you said it will make you so happy to have a grandchild. We did not spare mama the news, so we went back into the house and woke her from her nap. You are a dotting grandfather and dearly close to your first granddaughter and to all your grandchildren. As your eldest daughter and taking away your first grandchild who then was three years old was the greatest heartache leaving you and mama behind. We were both very close to you.
♥ "Papa, you are very dear to me. I love you. Happy Father’s Day!" ♥
To Our Dear Myles
Ma sent me this letter and attached a note saying: "This letter is self-expanatory. It is written by your papa because he was not able to sleep since Myles was still outside and enters the house at 2:00 a.m. He gets angry when your pa speaks to him about it, so your pa wrote him a letter, hoping that he would read it."
I am transferring the letter here word for word the way my pa wrote it; to share and show to the young ones an example of how our parents get worried for us. I feel the same way as a mother of two. So here goes...
To our dear Myles,
Being one member of the family who have a good moral character, dignity and respectable by some of our neighbors, please be advised that if possible, we your father & mother who cares do not want you to stay late in the evening outside the house. Please be at home before 11:00 pm. We all know that some of our neighbors and others living in a distance are in the influence of drugs & liquor. Staying late at night might involved you or become witness to any incidents that may happen. And these can be avoided if you are inside the house early.
Your Papa and Mama are becoming older & older and days will come we will be depending on you. These past days we are talking about you while watching t.v. and you were outside. We both have the same feeling. We are worried and sometimes have a sleepless night thinking that you were still outside. We are very sorry to say, that we cannot talk to you directly due to circumstances beyond our control, so your loving Papa & Mama have decided to write this, hoping that our also beloved son will find himself a peaceful mind and obey his parents.
We love you,
Papa & Mama
An Open Letter to My Ma on Mother's Day: http://coffeegginmyrice.hubpages.com/hub/An-Open-Letter-Dearest-Mama-On-Mothers-Day