By Rodolfo A. Arizala
20 June 2010
Father's Day is observed on the 20th of this month. And every Father's Day I could not help but remember my late father. He was a serious-looking person who seldom talked. He was a man of few words but every now and then he would smile with fatherly love and care. I never heard him engage in hilarious lafhter. But he had a big, generous heart. He was a good father, seeing to it that we had food, shelter, clothing, and good education. And he would not hesitate to go out of his way to help other people.
When he died at the ripe old age of 80 years old, I did not realize that he had lots of godchildren -- either in baptism or wedding. Many of his godchildren came very early that morning to help in whatever should be done preparatory to his funeral.
During his lifetime, if I did not see father engage in hilarious lafhter, neither did I see him shed tears in public except on three occasions: the first was when I graduated from high school and he pinned on my breast a silver medal as a salutatorian graduate amidst the applause of the public who witnessed our high school graduation. The second instance he shed tears was when he learned from the newspapers that I passed the bar exams and became a lawyer; and the third was when during one of my "balikbayan" visits to my hometown, I handed to him money for his medicines and health care.
I also remember when I was about four years old father used to take me with him to civic activities such as the Rizal Day parade and tried to inculcate in my young mind the significance of the event. And when I started going to grade school, he saw to it that I learn about the lives of Filipino heroes aside from doing my hmework before going to bed. I acquired the habit of reading or studying my lessons because when I was still a kid, I always saw my father every evening writing his reports. I loved to sit down with him and imitate what he was doing. Father was one of those few subscribers in our hometown to newspapers such as The Manila Tribune. Consequently, I also formed the habit of browsing over the pages of newspapers and magazines or at least look at the pictures when I did not know yet how to read.
He was a lovingand caring farher. During the Japanese occupation f the Philippines, an infection developed under my left armpit. It so happened that the only town doctor at that time was in Manila. Somebody told my father that there was an "herbolario" who lived in a barangay. To arrive at this house, we had to cross or forge a river. There was no bridge and father had to carry me on his back and waded waist-deep across the river. While we were crossing the river, I was reminded of the story or legend about St. Christopher carrying a young boy across a river who becomes heavier at every step made by St. Christopher. Father was not St. Christopher but he was able to carry me safely to the opposite banks of the river until we reached the house of the"herbolario."
To make the story short, the infection was already acute and the herbal medicine unfortunately did not have any positive effect. I ended up in the municipal clinic where a sanitary inspector performed minor surgery on my infected part of the body. The surgery was a success even without the use of anti-biotecs. Anti-biotects were still unknown during that time.
The moral of the story is that a father would sacrifice and do everything for his children.