Issue of October 14, 2018

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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My way

As the local version of the “circus” comes to fore with the filing of certificates of candidacy after a meal buster of imbaligtad and pinapaitan, I hailed a taxi bound for the salt mines – the law office to resume the memorandum I was writing for the accused in a murder case.

Ahh, lawyering is the bread and butter, which gives satisfaction in all its facets. Writing a column though, is the esto es la guinda que corona la torta (this is the icing on the cake).

The cab grinds to a halt and the driver stares with a look of recognition then does a second look this time with pity or probably disdain, as if saying “Apay awan lugan mo?” which he actually asked as I settled in his cabs front seat.

The radio was on and tuned in on 98.7 Z-Radio with a familiar voice singing a very familiar song, my own anthem and that of my late father Art. “Yes there times, I’m sure you knew, When I bit off more than I could chew, But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out I faced it all and I stood tall, and did it my way.”

Immediately, I was brought back to the 60’s when I was a young naughty kid in Trancoville. Papa had this thing for music and the old rustic house was filled with its notes and strains as soon as he wakes up in the morning. From classics by Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss to the genre songs of Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Matt Monroe, Sammie Davis and once in a while, Beatles. Frank Sinatra though, was the favorite – “New York, New York,” “Someday,” “Strangers in the Night,” and a thousand hits plus of course “My Way.”

We had the 45 and 33 rpm of the ole blue eyes’ hit songs, which was played over and over again over the phonograph blaring through the house and out. Evenings were the same as after a drink or two his gin bulag with sagawisiw as pulutan, papa would pull mama for a duet ala Guy and Pip and they would sing along to their hearts content.

They say that when one is happy, he listens to the song, but when sad, he listens to the lyrics.

The lyrics of “My Way” is a tale of life’s struggles and over the years has been played or sang over and over and over again and the thrill and sentiment it evokes remain the same.

Literally born without a silver spoon in the mouth aggravated by a permanent deformity, “My Way” reminds me of how one had to work his butt off to achieve what he desires in school, work, career and in life.

“And now, the end is near, And so I face the final curtain, My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain, I’ve lived a life that’s full, I’ve traveled each and every highway, And more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

The decades did not push the song into oblivion and the thrill remains every time it hits the airwaves and to this minute engulfs this fan into an LSS (“last sing syndrome”).

In media, the joke is when there is a shooting incident in a seedy videoke bar, it was because of the song “My Way,” thus tagged as “dangerous to your health tune.” On the other hand, with so many of us singing the song as their personal theme, it must have real magic in it.

In this life, mistakes have been done and repeated, but my old man always told me “Stumble and fall all you can, what matters most is the rising up from the fall.”

“I’ve loved, I’ve laughed, and cried I’ve had my fill, my share of losing. Regrets I’ve had a few, But then again, too few to mention, I did what I had to do, And saw it through without exemption, I planned each charted course, Each careful step along the byway, And more, much more than this I did it my way.”

Fast forward to tomorrow and the circus at hand. The song in the cab, I ask myself ala “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Was that a sign?” I leave my fate to God, His will be done, yet like any noy-pi, I ask for signs from God, especially when unable to make up my mind, my way. This was the sign I was waiting for. For my late father, my family, our people, our city. A decision has been made. After all the fun, laughter, tears and sorrow the circus would bring, if and when I will have a chance to look back, let me not regret the decision I made or, for that matter, did not take. Sigh!

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