1. Respect and love for language. He knows English like the back of his own hand. And functional Spanish. And a host of dialects native to the Philippines.
2. Voracious appetite for reading. Where do you think I got my passion for reading? The old man can read me under the table any time of day.
3. Go to guy. He can take on any job. He’s a farmer, stevedore, photographer, diarist, craftsman, carpenter, event organizer, fisherman, life of the party, and a great husband. He can draw from all these experience to enrich his writing. Blogging is a walk in the park for him.
4. People skills. He’s great at networking. Give him five minutes of your time and he’d chart your family tree for you. He simply knows everybody.
5. Eye for photography. Okay, except for the initial mishap of ordering a camera which turned out was for aerial photography and thus utterly useless for him, he’d actually earned a living from his exploits in photography.
6. Generosity. He can be counted on to give the shirt off his back. Back in the old days, he had even given a piece of land in exchange for a pair of sandals for my mother. Of course, inflation was unheard of in those days.
7. Open mind. It’s not enough our house is open for all cousins and friends who needed help. His mind is sturdy and wide enough to accommodate new and even conflicting ideas.
8. Optimism. I remember the time when I committed a grave error. Horrible personal story, this. So I’m not prepared yet to share it. But instead of giving me hell, my father had this to say to me: “Remember this, son, you’re the apple of my eye.” Since then I’ve mended my ways because I don’t want to dishonor him.
9. Humility. I think of my father as a Renaissance man. He’s all these things and more, but it’s not in him to rub it in. He and Darren Rowse would have gotten along like a house on fire.
10. Persistence. He can apply himself to new concepts of doing things. Nothing fazes him. Okay, there’s one exception. When my mother died, my father followed 15 days after. Cannot bear the thought of mother being out there all alone. That’s my old man.
You’re not here anymore, father. But you’ve left me a legacy that will serve me well in blogging. I will do my darn best not to disappoint you.
And hey, old man. Happy birthday! It’s a pity I have not said this to your face when you’re still here. But for once let me shout it out: I love you, man.
But don’t go fetch me yet. I still have a blog to keep.
Photo: David Hensen
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