Sunday, June 19, 2005
Happy Fathers Day!
it just occurred to me that father's day may in fact be a "hallmark holiday", unlike christmas and ramadan, i'm not sure that the philippines actually recognizes father's day as one of its holidays... hmmm... well, i live here and i have a father. so there. happy father's day, papa!
yes, i call my father, papa. i was taught very early on that that was the only (other) appropriate title to address him. "never call me, 'dad'" he said, matter of factly, to his three year old daughter.
this is my favorite picture of me and papa. it's one of a handful that i have. it's true that most of my life was spent with my mother in the states, but i remember how often he did come to visit and that a lot of the time he was behind the camera. i was thinking maybe it's actually because of my father that i spend so much time behind the camera instead of in front it rather than the obvious reason. something to ponder i suppose...
i think the other reason i don't have as many pictures is because one summer when my mother was feeling particularly empowered and pissed off, she actually threw whole photo albums into the trash - their wedding album and the early albums when the family was still fresh and together. she also managed to throw out most of my stuff that i had left in the basement for storage. jeebus, she was PISSED. anyway, a friend of mine from the old hood called to let me know that he saw one of my easels and an old portfolio leaning next to the trash cans. so, i ran over there. the easel was gone and i found the large mound of my life's memories had been picked thru by a dumpster diver or two. but, i managed to come away with the wedding album and some of the pictures including the one above.
the picture was snapped on one of my early trips to the philippines. on the back of the picture my father wrote, "taken during her departure, january 11, 1977." i'm pretty sure this was one of those years where my father would coax me into saying stuff like "mommy, i love the philippines and i want to stay." into a long distance phone call to her, his desperate attempt to guilt trip my mother into returning to the islands. didn't work, obviously....
but, despite all that weirdness between my parents. i managed to eek out memories with each of them. to my father, i owe my lifelong appreciation of simplicity, practicality and efficiency.
because of my father, i can gracefully cast a fishing line off the perimeters of a pond and i will always feed popcorn to the fish at starved rock state park. i can make a pretty good avocado shakes and i know how to pick & cut a mango. he bought me my first ube ice cream at the magnolia ice cream parlor in manila. he taught me how to ride a horse in baguio city and rode under the waterfalls with me at pagsanjan falls. at the beach, he didn't teach me how to swim, but he swam me out to a big rock in the middle of the sea and we watched the sun set while enormous dragonflies buzzed into and out of our field of vision.
i will always think of my father playing guitar and humming when he thought no one was watching. i have his eyes and lips and height and everytime i look down to pause my typing, i see i have his hands. in fact, i can owe writing to my father as well who is a thoughtful and beautiful writer of correspondence.
so, happy father's day, papa. i can't wait to introduce you to your granddaughter and eventually, to your newest grandchild in december.
p.s. of course, this is also a happy father's day greeting to all my friends and family members who are fathers or father figures. i hope you get as good as you give!
to popzilla, the love of my life and the apple of kidzilla's eye. to my uncle doug, who healed bee stings, made the best diaramas and sang like elvis. to my uncle caesar, who drove with his knees. to louis, who got me through high school. to dennis, who got me through art school and that first (devastating) love.