Issue of September 10, 2017
     
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Blue Danube

My simple and probinsyano father had a collection of LP’s (long playing) and 45 (single) records which he kept in the corner of a modest house he and mama built along the river in Trancoville. He had a turntable, which the young ones in these times of CD players, would not even recognize. For us luckier generations know of it as a circular rotating platform, a phonograph or a gramophone like a record player. Thus it was not uncommon to wake up in the mornings to the tune of Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Johnny Mathis, Dorris Day, even Beatles or when he is in a “social climbing mode” este “classical mode” Johann Strauss, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

He would stand near the fireplace and raise his imaginary baton as if conducting an orchestra, unmindful of the incredulous stares he got from his children and his ultra conservative wife. Good thing the neighbors were a few meters away and would not hear the loud music, lest they would call the police or worst throw bricks and stones at him or his house. One of the most frequent records he played in that rustic diamond needled contraption was a waltz piece called Blue Danube. It really would perk up anyone listening to the haunting strains on a cool early Baguio day with its charming LSS (Last Song Syndrome as I write the piece in Boney Serrano Avenue).

Together with the vinyl record was an LP cover containing a vivid description coupled with an illustration of the selection. From the looks, Danube was in Austria, flowing through nine countries before emptying into the Black Sea. Austria just lost the war and they were in all-time low. Strauss dedicated the waltz to raise the spirits of the country and its people, that there was joy and hope and never mind the lost war, the bankrupt city, and its ugly politicians.

Parallel to the river right behind our house where manong Eric and I would catch juju and tadpoles, were bamboos that stand guard and as the heavy gusty winds blow, they bow and make chapo or salute to the supreme force that rules the Earth. The river then adorned with tungsoy and green water lilies empties not into the Black Sea but at the Balili River in the neighboring town of La Trinidad.

Hearing the strains of the waltz, one imagines a palace with couples dancing in pairs in what they call a “sosyal” ball. With live classical and contemporary orchestra music requiring elegant evening attire making everyone, especially the men in their white wigs and curled hair locks, look gorgeous. Movie scenes flash through my mind. Kasla met nga adda dress code da, long gowns for the ladies and tuxedos, tailcoats, or black suits for the gentlemen similar to what Karl Gabaen wore in his daughter’s debut last night at Venus. He was misty eyed as father and daughter danced the ritual, silently reminding himself that she should not pay for his sins. Happy birthday Jan! At least you can now vote for....Morris!

Kapitan Van Dicang of Lower Quirino Hill came to our Usapang Legal show (Mondays to Saturdays at Z Radio, 98.7, 10 a.m. to noon) with Kap Peter Wasing (whose hair and makeup is maintained by Wanda at the 2nd floor of this paper’s building) for assistance or information on the whereabouts of his 17-year-old brother, UB Science High student Vaughn. He was even with friends in the afternoon of Sept. 1 and even texted that he was about to go home then vanished into thin air. On Thursday morning, his body was found in a river in Balacbac. Certainly for Vaughn, the afterglow requires not a waltz but the line from Don McLean classic folk song “Vincent:” “The world was not meant for someone as beautiful as you.” We weep softly and poignantly for the bloodshed engulfing our youth.” Extraordinary times, extraordinary measures but why? I texted Van our deepest condolences and an epitaph of a promise a “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.” Fiat justitia ruat cælum (Justice must be realized, no matter the consequence).

Back to the jungle, pregnant with meaning was the city council action banning air soft games in all our parks but giving exemptions to a privileged few? This, I reminded the august body, is what we call in law as “negative pregnant.” Deny yet admit. Like the lady who wanted to regulate medical missions in the city effectively regulating charity work of Lions, Rotarians, IBP, Red Cross, ABS-CBN, GMA 7, Guardians, IBP and countless more. We really cannot help people from making fools of themselves, me included, most often than not. Ay apo metten. Sigh!

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