We were in Zambales again last week. This time, my mom decided to join us, along with my father and Youngest Sister and her two boys.
Spouse and I are so very happy she was well enough to make the trip. She even managed to sneak in a couple of the the oatmeal raisin cookies I made for the road trip. She declared they were excellent – a compliment I treasure of course.
We went to pay the taxes on her riceland and also collected our share of the last harvest. While at the town municipal hall, I looked around for the municipal accountant who happened to be a family friend, and a protege of my uncle. He hasn’t seen my parents in years so it was a very pleasant meeting. He also insisted we go see my uncle, even if we didn’t make prior arrangements. My uncle retired to the old hometown years before Mt. Pinatubo erupted and then he returned when all the dust settled a few years after.
And so we got to see Mama’s elder brother, my Tito Luis. His face was just beaming with happiness to see her. It was amazing to see the genuine love and affection between them. Lunch was prepared like during our last visit and again we had a feast. We all had a wonderful time, including the two toddlers. My uncle always loved children and was never afraid to show it. He thus became everyone’s favorite uncle. When he arrived at any party, my cousins and I would run to greet him screaming, “Titol-wis is heeeeere!!!”
He and my mom were born just 20 months apart and it seemed like the two argued a lot when we were growing up. Soon as the two got together, the bantering in loud “I-have-to-be-heard” voices using Ilocano, English, Tagalong and sometimes Spanish started. The laughs would follow soon after though, with my mom declaring she won the argument.
In fact, their youngest sister once told us what a pickle she found herself in once, with my mom on one side of her and my Tito Luis on the other, in an air-conditioned van they were all riding in through the infamous Metro Manila traffic….with the two arguing in their loud voices again! The picture she painted with her words just made me roar with laughter and we repeated that story for years.
My mom and uncle are both in their late 70’s now and things have quieted down considerably. My uncle praises my mom’s dress and how pretty she’s looking…he doesn’t call her funny nicknames like he used to. And my mom doesn’t argue with him anymore. All she said about our visit when we got home was, “I heard his voice and everything was alright.”