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Buttons & Tobacco Tins

There ought to be a song about that combination—buttons and tobacco tins, la la la lah.

Remember the song "Buttons and Bows"? I think Dick Dale on Lawrence Welk sang that song, while dressed in cowboy clothes or dapper 1890s suit. Or, was that Larry Hooper? The Lennon Sisters in prairie dresses and bonnets?

Yup, I watched Lawrence Welk when I was a kid, developing what I thought was sarcasm and wit. Watching it with The Daddy was a treat. I never tired listening to his assessment on the tenor Joe Feeney after he trilled "Danny Boy" or another break-your-heart song, holding the last note to kingdom come and back. When Feeney was done, The Daddy remarked, "He earned his two-bits." I never knew if The Daddy liked Feeney's singing. Should I meet up with The Daddy in the after life, that's one question I shall ask of him.

The tobacco tins in the photo belonged to The Daddy, which meant Older & Only Bro and I bought The Daddy a new pipe for The D…

From the Archives: Going to Church with the Daddy

Hi ya! Hey ya! Hope all's well with ya. All is well with us. I'm reaching into my archives for the next several days so I can play catch up around the house. "I'll do it tomorrow." has finally reared itself into today.  Such is retirement. :-) Have fun out there.

Today's post (edited) was first published on February 13, 2013. Warning: Cursing ahead. ============
One of the last times I went to church with the Daddy was a Good Friday. The Mama scored big that day as she got both the Daddy and me to go with her. I don't know how she did it. I did daydream through the service. That is, until the Daddy caught my attention.

It was a struggle for his old cartilage to do all the physical activity that takes place during a Catholic mass, especially at the much longer Good Friday service. You stand, sit, and kneel a lot.  I don't think the Daddy realized he was protesting out loud. I still wonder if God and I were the only ones who heard him. 

Stand.
Sit.

The Daddy on the Mainland

This faded photo of the Daddy was taken in 1946. That's all I know about the photo because the Mama had printed the year on the photograph. Technology has finally allowed me to see the image a bit more clearly.

Until today, I thought the Daddy was standing in a desert or someplace in Los Angeles. Now, I think the photo may have been taken somewhere nearby Hollister, soon after he moved here. The Daddy had been living in Hawaii for 18 years or more. He said that after the war, he was homesick for family. He had no idea if the family in the Philippines was alive, but he knew Uncle Frank was in Hollister, so he bought himself an airplane ticket to California. While serving in the Army during the war, he became a U.S. citizen, which I suspect made it easier for him to travel without questions.

In a year, the Daddy would go visit his mom and siblings in the Philippines. He told me that if his girlfriend was still unmarried, he would propose to her. I don't know know if he was kidd…

El Camino Paraiso

In Fall 1962, the family moved into a brand new house on a brand new street a couple miles east of town. Lucky 711 was the street number; El Camino Paraiso, the street name. Translation: Paradise Road. Myself, I prefer "The Road to Heaven" because the cemetery, run by the Catholic Church, sat next door.

I thought a ghost lived in my bedroom closet. Every now and then, until I left for college, just as I was falling asleep, I experienced old hag syndrome, a kind of sleep paralysis. The only way I felt safe was to sleep in a fetal position on my left side, facing away from the closet.

Cute yellow house, don't you think? It had a huge back yard, enough space for the Daddy to grow a good-size vegetable garden, as well as plant fruit trees and raise chickens, pigeons, goats, and pigs. Fortunately for us we lived in the county. With all that, the Parents still were able to put in a patio, some lawn, and a flower garden. 

The Mama sold the yellow house in 1987, a year aft…

Blurriness

My eyes, even with the glasses on, are still seeing blurry images. The ophthalmologist dilated them about four hours ago so she could see clearly into them. And, what did she see?

Sufficient level of cataracts to merit surgery for which the health insurance company would be willing to pay. The cataracts are worse in my left eye.  On my arbitrary scale of 1-10, the doctor says 5 or 6. My right is 4, but a 5 when she factors in the glare of lights I see when I drive at night (which is the reason I don't like to drive at night). I've known for seven years or so that cataracts have been developing, but I thought I would be in my 70s, maybe 80s, before I had to start considering cataract surgery. Booo. Hisssss. Bummer.

The Daddy had cataract surgery in his left eye when he was. . .gee. . .about my age. He hated wearing the contact on his other eye, which either the Mama or I had to insert. That was always an ordeal. Blink, blink. Eventually, he went back to the comfort of wearin…

Cheers to the Daddy!

Today is the anniversary of the Daddy's spirit passing into the Heavens. I didn't realize that until I checked the calendar to write the date for a journal entry. Must've been why I didn't feel like getting up this morning. The Husband said, "You were dragging yourself down the hall."

The memories are strong. Here are a few moments that I recall about the Daddy: Him handing my five-year-old self a pear that he picked from the orchard where we sat. It was the Daddy's smoke time. No matter where he was in the tomato field, where he kept watch of the water flow in the irrigation canals, far away or near by, he walked back to the car and sat with me until smoke time was over.

The Daddy taking me to my first day of school, my first day of first grade, and my first day at my new school. Nothing was ever said between us that I can remember. I scurried beside and a little behind him swinging my lunchbox. He walked up to the teacher or the principal and confidentl…

Sizzle, Sizzle. Sizzle.

Yesterday I fried chicken for the Husband's and my main meal, which some may consider a very late lunch or a rather early dinner. I've been wanting to taste fried chicken for the last several days.

Fried chicken is one of my comfort foods. Nibble, nibble.

The best fried chicken I've ever eaten was cooked by the Daddy, perfectly crisp on the outside and moist inside. It has been over 35 years since I ate the Daddy's fried chicken.

Recently I decided it's not worth buying already-made fried chicken from any of the options in our town. It's too disappointing. Too greasy. Too dry. Too salty. And so forth and so on.

So, this Missus Lady (as Molly the Cat calls me) cut chicken thighs into bite-size chunks; shook them in a bag of flour, paprika, turmeric, mustard power, garlic powder, black powder, and salt; and fried them in olive oil. Sizzle, sizzle. 

The result was quite tasty. Nibble, nibble.

The best part about eating fried chicken yesterday was remembering how…

Feast Day of Santiago

Today is the anniversary of the day that we celebrated the Daddy's birthday. He would've been 112 this year.

The Daddy was born on July 15, 1905, but most of his formal papers show July 25. This is my theory for the discrepancy: His baptismal document, the only legal paper he had about his birth, was in Spanish, the primary language of the Philippines back then. Spanish was not the Daddy's family's first language. And, I suppose nobody cared when the Daddy signed a contract in 1928 to go to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations, nor when he joined the Army during WWII or he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

When the Daddy was born, the Philippines was in transition from being a Spanish colony to a United States territory. The Daddy said that when he was a baby his parents ran him up into the mountains to hide during the war. The Daddy was surprised when I told him that it wasn't Spain the Filipinos were fighting, but the United States. I'm not sure if ever …

Always, the Daddy

I imagine it going this way:

"Susie. Susie, hold still."

"You can go play in the water after I take the picture."

"Susie! Stop moving."

The photographer, who was probably the Mama, sighed. She most likely turned to the Daddy who knew what to do.

He crouched behind me, holding me in place.

"Susie smile at the camera."

Click.

No doubt the Mama sighed when she saw the photo. Oh, well.

Throughout my life, the Daddy always had my back.


Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

I'm hooking up with Seasons, a meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from JeshStG. Click here to check out other participants. Toodle-ooo.


Crybaby Me.

The Mama used to tell me a story about the time that the Daddy carried me on his back while they picked tomatoes one summer day. I was maybe two years old. "You cried and cried," the Mama said. "You kept saying, 'Go home, Daddy. Go home.'"

The poor Daddy! And, all those other poor workers around us who were forced to listen to a tiny, fat crybaby of a girl piggy-backing on her poor Daddy's back. The poor Daddy!

How did the Parents ever get me to stop crying? Did the Daddy take the Mama and me home and go back to work? Did I eventually calm down, get off the Daddy's back, and find a way to entertain myself so the Parents could work in peace? I don't know. The Mama never told me what happened. She simply laughed after telling me.

Why am I telling you the story? I don't know. I find myself tearful all of a sudden lately.

C is for crybaby me. Not pitiful me though.

C is the letter for this week's ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme that is keeping …

Four Weeks Ago

"Mama's gone."

Four Fridays ago, in the early evening, I walked into the kitchen to let the Husband and Molly the Cat know that Mama's spirit had slipped into the ever after.

I had started making dinner. As I put the frying pan on the stove, I had a feeling and I didn't want to know. The Husband and I had been sitting at the kitchen table, talking about the house. How we needed to replace faucets in the kitchen and in the Mama's bathroom. That one day we would need to replace the linoleum and maybe it would be better to take out the carpet and put in a wooden floor. House stuff that neither of us had ever done or been interested in doing. But, at that moment, it all seemed natural for us to do.

With the frying pan on low, I went to check on the Mama. She was warm, but she no longer breathed. She looked quite content. I like to think that the Mama heard us talking in the kitchen and she felt assured that her house would be in good hands and that the Husband a…

Warm Hearts

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Anonymous, Greek proverb
I read that Greek proverb this morning on Facebook. It reminded me of the Daddy when he planted peach, pear, apple, persimmon, cherry and fig saplings around the backyard of his and Mama's house. "These trees are for the grandchildren," he said. I recall thinking how lucky those kids would be to climb the trees. The Mama moved before the Only and Older Brothers' kids were old enough to try them out. I like to think that other kids did.

The proverb also had me thinking of the Mama and her wonder of planting the apricot and avocado seeds from the fruit that we've harvested from her trees. This year two of the second generation apricot trees bore fruit. I have no doubt that all the other apricot and avocado trees will do the same one day. It'll be one crazy fruit forest out in the backyard when the trees grow up.

I love that my parents are amon…

Watching TV with the Daddy

Yesterday, Georgy, of Jubilee Streetand Remember Freedom, wrote a post on her former blog that sparked a memory bubble. (Thanks, Georgy.) That's watching "Bonanza" with the Daddy on Sunday evenings. It came on after "The Wonderful World of Disney." I can't recall if the Daddy watched that with me. If he did, that was nice of him to let me watch it.

We watched TV nearly every evening together in our favorite spots. The Daddy sat on his recliner while I laid on the floor with my legs on the couch.  I had a good excuse for being near the TV. I was the Daddy's channel changer and fixer of the horizontal line on the TV screen.

P.S. I'm linking up with Art Every Day Month Day at Creative Every Day.

P.P.S. Monica, hostess of the NatureFootstep Digital Art Meme, invited me to link up. So, I shall.  Thanks, Monica.



Cheers!

Is it coincidence that there are dates in both the Husband's and my family that are common? Or, is it synchronicity? I prefer thinking it's the latter. I also prefer not figuring out how it's so.

That said, November 15, for example,  is special for both the Husband and me.

November 15 is the Husband's Dad's birthday. Jim would've been 97 years old today. Happy Birthday, Jim!



November 15 is the Mama's and the Daddy's wedding anniversary. They would've celebrated 68 years together. Happy Anniversary to the Mama and the Daddy!





The Daddy's Loving Support

Several photos in our family albums show baby or toddler me perched on a big log or rock at the beach as the Daddy held me securely up there. But, you can only see the Daddy's legs and a bit of his torso in those photos. One of my favorite photos is of him crouched behind a three-year-old me on the shore, with his feet and hands visible. In that photo, he seemed to be keeping fidgety me still for the camera. It's not until I'm 21 years old that you can find a photo of the Daddy and me together. And, that, too is one of my favorite photos.

I have wonderful memories of the Daddy. Playing out in the tomato fields while he irrigated them. . . being taken to my first day of school. . .riding in the back of his pick-up. . .seeing him in the back of the room at all my important presentations. . .watching TV with him. . .holding poles and boards as he hammered them in place. . .being taught how to drive a stick shift. . .traveling to the Philippines with him. . .going mushroom h…

From the Archives -- The Daddy and Religion. Kinda

Today's archived post is from my second blog, This and That, Here and There, Now, Sometimes Then. What Daddy Told Me (originally published May 7, 2010)
My dad didn't advise me much when I was growing up. When he did, they were humdingers, and usually they were one-liners.  For instance, on the day of my senior prom, he told me rather placidly, and unexpectedly, "Don't go f***ing around." The idea hadn't even entered my mind.  And, when I was attending community college, Daddy pronounced suddenly in his usual unruffled way to me, "Don't be a hippie." Nothing more.

Probably the most profound guidance Daddy gave me was when, as a teenager, I decided to check out different churches. Not because I was looking for a church to join but because I was curious about how different churches worshiped. I didn't know that Daddy had noticed what I was doing. Even if he had, I didn't think he would've cared since we were not avid churchgoers.…

V is for Vegetable Garden

My earliest memory of the Daddy's vegetable garden was floating a pea pod in the water rushing down one of the narrow vegetable ditches. I was about four years old. I remember the garden being tall, green, and wild-like.

Every year, the Daddy put up a vegetable garden for the family, growing many Filipino vegetables that we couldn't buy in the grocery store. We ate a lot of long beans, bitter melon, Japanese eggplants, tabongaw (a type of gourd), Kabocha squash, saloyat (okra leaves), parda (a hairy, bigger, and thicker pea), and kabatiti (a kind of squash with ridges) during the summers. Also into the winters, after the parents bought a big freezer.

When the Daddy came home from a long day of irrigating vegetable fields, he went straight to the garden to see what needed tending. The Mama went into the garden to harvest vegetables for the evening's meal.  The Daddy was always getting after the Mama for picking the bitter melon leaves from the top rather than the bottom. G…

N is for Nighttime Snack

"Let's have a snack," said the Daddy. He sat in his Lazy-boy recliner, while my teenage self stretched out on the couch beside him. It was a summer night, with the doors and windows still wide open for the breeze. A rerun show played on the TV, at which I looked up now and then from the book I read.

Without doubt, that scene took place around nine o'clock, the usual time the Daddy called for a snack when he was in the mood. The Daddy's favorite nighttime snack were the doughnuts without the hole that I made from canned biscuits. They were quick and easy to make, about 10 minutes, if I recall correctly.

As the oil heated in the iron skillet, I opened the cardboard can of biscuits, the best part of making the doughnuts. Pow! A satisfying blow against the edge of the corner. Pop! The eight (or was it 10) small, soft, slices of dough smiled between the cardboard.

Carefully, I dropped the round slices into the heated oil in the skillet. Sizzle. Sizzle. Sizzle. I qui…

F is for Foul, Fowl!

The Daddy bought several live chickens at a time from a local chicken farmer, and he and the Mama would slaughter them in the backyard.  I was 11 or 12 when the parents decided it was time for me to help with the slaughtering. Like I really wanted the experience. I suppose they figured a day would come when I would need to slaughter a chicken for survival. Yes, it would definitely be an asset if I were to be chosen for Survivor, the reality show. But, that's if I didn't get kicked off before my team won a challenge that rewarded us with chickens. I digress.

My part in the slaughter was simple.  I only needed to hold a chicken firmly down on a block of wood while the Daddy slit its neck. On the day of my rite of passage, I watched the parents do the process a couple of times. Then it was my turn. I kneeled behind the wood, and the Daddy put a chicken beneath my hands, face towards him. He did not let go of the chicken until he was sure the bird could not get away from me.

B is for Turning Blood into Pudding

I bet that title caught your attention. Maybe you shivered and thought I must be a vampire. Of course not!  Or, maybe you went, "Ewwwwwwww!" Well, turning blood, pork blood, to be precise, into pudding is definitely not for the squeamish.

I was ten years old when the Daddy gave me the task of turning pork blood into pudding. (If I could, I'd put in a sound effect like Dum da da dummmm!) Okay, let me give you some context. Back then, every now and then, the Daddy and his friends would purchase a pig from a local pig farmer, bring it back to our house, and slaughter it in the backyard. We lived in a small neighborhood two miles out of city limits so that was okay, and, as far as I know, the neighbors did not care.We lived in a rural area after all.

This usually happened on a Saturday morning. The men would be out in the backyard partying it up with a bottle of whiskey as they butchered the meat. The pig's blood would be brought into the house to turn into a thick-lik…