(06 July 2009, Cebu)
Nights came early over the hacienda during my early childhood years. They were usually silent. Only the crickets and the cicadas seemed excited to practice their symphonies. Occasionally, a dog would bark. People have their dinners early. Some would spend some time listening to their favorite radio dramas after eating and before going to sleep.
My uncle owned the only battery-powered television in the hacienda during that time. The living room in their concrete house near a creek was always full of people, young and old, all transfixed to this box that satiated their imagination. My father was one of them. Having no television of our own, he would go to my uncle’s house to watch basketball games. In many of these games, he would usually bring me with him.
He would lead me by hand until we reach my uncle’s house. I would usually sit near the television set along with other children. I do not have memories of those games. What I remember was that I am always awakened by the grownups’ loud chorus of claps probably whenever their favorite player or team made an almost impossible shot or has gained the lead. Sometimes I would be awakened by my father. Time to go – he would say. I would stand and go quickly to the door to join the scrambling. I need to get my own correct pair of slippers.
The owner of the house would usually bring out their kerosene lamp to settle disputes of slipper ownerships. Commotions like this often happen. Some people would bring their own lamps. My father would always talk to my aunt and uncle about grownup matters and usually we would be the last to leave. We would have the streets on our own.
Our home was a 10-minute walk from my uncle’s house. Those many 10-minute walks are perhaps the fondest memories I have of my father. He would carry me on his shoulders. I would grab his hair for support. And all the time, I would look up to the sky.
On many of those nights, the stars have shone brightly over Hacienda Isabel. On other nights, there would be the moon. The night sky was a spectacle to behold while I was on top of my father’s broad shoulders. It seemed that the sky was sprayed with pieces of twinkling glass. It was in one of those nights that I knew some people had already landed on the moon.
Many times when the moon was out, I would ask my father to stop walking. I wanted to make sure that the moon was not following us. However, every time he would stop, the moon would also stay still.
The wonder and awe of watching the stars during those nights cannot be surpassed by any of the many stargazing pursuits I have done when I was already of age. Now when I look up to the night sky I am amazed that I am looking at history – light emitted by stars some thousands and millions of years ago has just reached my eyes. I might also be looking at planets and galaxies yet to be discovered. These amazements however could not outdo the magic of those nights when, while perched on my father’s shoulder, I looked to the heavens and my father walked under the moon and the stars.
© COOLWATERWORKS, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to COOLWATERWORKS and A Series of Duration with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.