The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Saturday Fun Machine

Amber and Julie's noise in the playroom, as always, serve as my wake-up alarm on weekends. It's funny to note why my nieces find difficulty in getting out of bed on school days but are "alive" very early on weekends.

But then, I stop and begin to think again...

Was I not like that when I was still a schoolboy myself? Or, should I say, weren't we all like Amber and Julie back when we were children? I remember how I loved weekends and holidays and rainy season and even stormy days simply because these mean: "Yippee! No classes. More time to play! More TV!"

And, yes, now I remember--getting up early on a Saturday in the 80s was always a treat. Saturday Fun Machine! Six hours of cartoon galore, nonstop from 9 til 3. Blackstar. Care Bears. Dungeons & Dragons. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Herculoids. Pac-Man. Paul in Fantasyland. Smurfs. Super Friends. And a whole lot more. Bop til you drop, from breakfast through lunch! (

And it amazes me! Really. I mean, I'm already 33 but still in touch with the child in me. I remember most, if not all.

Oh, I'm already excited to have my own children. But...

Would I be a good father? Would I be able to understand them--the fantasy worlds to where children usually frolic; their equally humongous problems, which to a typical adult are nothing but trivial whines?

I hope so. I think so. For I am eLf--long-memoried and broad-minded; and most of all, I'm always in touch with my childhood self. And don't get me wrong: immaturity and having a youthful perspective are never the same; just like how childish and childlike are different from each other. I believe I can make love with maturity and youthfulness in the same bed at the same time.

Eight a.m., the sun is up; its rays are slicing through the blinds of the large front window into the light-gray carpet. Time to get up.

I can hear Mike's cooking in the kitchen; he usually treats every one with a healthful breakfast of sinangag with bacon and egg on weekends.

Papa, my grandfather, I know, is already awake but is not yet in the mood to get up. He's always like that--waiting for me, his companion, his best friend. He is used to my calling him to breakfast (and to any other mealtime for that matter); he won't usually want to eat unless I am the one prodding him.

And, believe me, the simple act of calling someone to eat becomes a feat when the person being called is my grandfather. And I have to do this every mealtime. Sometimes, I ran out of creative ways of convincing him that eating is a basic physiological need. In fact, one time I even tried to remind him of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs ( just to make him realize the importance of food especially to someone old like him--to which, after all my efforts in racking my brain, he simply smiled and said: "Eh, busog eh," then tapped me on the shoulder. "Haynaku, Papa," was all I could mutter. Oh, my funny and softspoken grandfather, I will miss you dearly when you're gone.

I greeted Saturday with a click on my portable MP3 player, which is always beside me in my sleeping place. The first song...somber...befitting...

by Ian McCulloch (of Echo & the Bunnymen)
Candleland; 1989, Sire

Get your handful of remembrance
For you to sprinkle through your life
In between the penance
That you carry by your side
With the make-believe and the miracles
That only come alive

In candleland

Wear your guilt like skin
And keep your sins disguised
Take some salt and sugar
And rub it in your eyes
You'll know that something's left you
Just as you arrive

In candleland

I walked back inside me
I'd gone back from my youth
As I came down the fire escape
It must have stayed up on the roof
They say you just know
And the knowing is the proof

Of candleland

A sunny Saturday, great time to take my grandfather for a walk to the nearby Maple Green Elementary playground park...and so I thought; but when we got outside, brrr! the nether gale was icy cold. But since we were already in our walking attire--coats and bonnets and all--we went on and nevertheless enjoyed our regular morning walk in the neighborhood.

As always, I brought a poetry book--this time, William Blake's Selected Poems. I made poetry-reading a habit every time we are on our morning walk. My grandfather enjoys listening to me recite a poem as well. He would even sometimes ask me to explain the meaning of this and that verse, especially when he is in the mood to talk; for there are times when Papa wants to be quiet, no conversation, just quiet. And I understand him very well, for I am also like that when I feel either lonely or contemplative--not in the mood to talk nor to utter even a vague smile.

And this morning, despite the coldness, Papa was in high spirits. He delighted in today's poetry reading.

Among the poems I read to my grandfather today, this is the one I feel Blake wrote with my current plight in mind.

Song 1st by a Shepherd

Welcome stranger to this place
Where joy doth sit on every bough,
Paleness flies from every face,
We reap not, what we do not sow.

Innocence doth like a Rose,
Bloom on every Maiden's cheek;
Honor twines around her brows,
The jewel Health adorns her neck.

---------------------------------William Blake, Selected Poems
---------------------------------1995, Dover Publications Inc.

Naku si Haring Araw, Naisahan na Naman Tayo
"Naisahan na naman tayo ng Araw, ah!" Papa suddenly uttered. "Oo nga ho, eh," I agreed. "O sige nga, ikaw naman ang gumawa ng sarili mong tula tungkol ngayong umaga," he prompted me, for he is used to my penchant for composing bits of verses on moments like that--when the only obvious living creatures outside the neighborhood, aside from gulls and crows and squirrels, are the two of us. (Very seldom will one see people walking around in the neighborhood where we live.)

"Hindi ko dala yung notebook ko eh."
"E di isulat mo na lang pagbalik natin ng bahay."

Sa aking paggising
Sikat ng araw ang tumambad sa akin
Mabuti naman, at nang mahaba-haba
Ang aming paglalakad ngayong umaga

Subalit paglabas na paglabas namin ng bahay
Pagkalamig-lamig na hangin ang sa ami'y dumantay

"Ano, tuloy ho ba tayo?" tanong ko kay Lolo.
Aniya, "Anupangaba, e nasa labas na tayo."

Naku si Haring Araw, naisahan na naman tayo!
Akala mo ang init, yun pala simoy ng hangin parang yelo

The Lawnmower eLf
Before lunch, I helped Cousin Mike mow the grass in the backyard lawn--a chore we usually do every fortnight, especially when the grasses are not too wet. How I love mowing the lawn, for every time, I would find myself lost in a different world--a world where the whir of the wawnmower wecomes wusic to the wears. Also, I am beginning to love the smell of freshly mowed grass.

A Surprise Call from Home
Around 5 p.m., the phone rang. UNKNOWN CALLER. But I had the feeling it was a long-distance call. Right was I!

"Hello, good morning, may I speak with aLfie?"


"Hello, hon. How are you? Are you okay?"

"Yes. Why?"

"I was unable to sleep last night. Fell asleep around 3 a.m. I was thinking of you."

"I was also thinking of you last night, before I slept. Perhaps that's the reason..."

"My nieces are coming over. I'm taking them for the trick or treat at Megamall."


"Yeah. Today's Halloween here. Sunday."

"Ha-ha. I forgot about the time difference, as usual------

A call to make my day. Oh, how I love my honey. I can now sleep well tonight.

We had spaghetti, toasted bread, and caesar's salad for dinner. Everyone was present: Mike, Marivic, Amber, Julie, Jenny, Papa, and I. Dinner was good; Papa ate lots. He couldn't complain--ha-ha-ha--Marivic was the one who put the food on his plate.

I wash the dishes at night. Spic and span! Afterwards, around 8, DVD time--The Day After Tomorrow. Nice film. Reminded me of some articles I wrote for Bato Balani Science & Technology Magazine for High School, back in the Philippines--topics like "Global Warming," "Ice Age," "Prehistoric Times," and "The Global Greenhouse Effect."

However, what struck me most was the movie's title: The Day After Tomorrow. Okay, since tomorrow's Halloween, that makes the day after tomorrow November 1, All Saints' Day.

It automatically reminded me of home. For, here, November 1 and 2 pass by unnoticed; but back home, these holidays meant fun and rest and a time for reflection and seeing seldom-seen relatives and friends there in cemeteries. And yeah, November 1 is the birthday of my best friend Rain.

Anyway, I will just end this blog entry with the message I got from my fortune cookie when we had dinner at Oriental Buffet Chinese Restaurant, in Surrey, a few days ago.

"You will make a change in something in the near future."

Good night. May I dream again what I always dream about--home.



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