Abe V Rotor
I stopped schooling in Manila, so I went home to San Vicente, arriving there on a Sunday at dawn. Instead of directly proceeding to our house, I dropped at the church through the main door. In the distance a man was standing, stooping, his nape showing the marks of old age. I wondered who the man was, and to my surprise I found out he was my dad. I did not know he had grown that old. I said my prayers, and left with a heavy heart.
It was at home that my dad and I met after the mass. He knew it was not yet school vacation, but he was very happy to see me. I did not tell I saw him in the church that morning. Later I told my plan not to continue my studies anymore because I wanted to be with him. He was silent.
The following morning he prepared our two bicycles, which my brother and I used in high school. “We are going to Banaoang,” he said with an aura of determination. Banaoang is a mountain pass through which the mighty Abra River flows, where bamboo poles from the hills are sold in volume. We were going to build a flue-curing barn. Raising Virginia tobacco was a lucrative business then.
The going was easy at first, but the distance and the uphill part were exhausting. After about ten kilometers Dad gave up. We could view the Quirino bridge, but our destination was still far.
“Can you get a rope, and pull my bike? Let’s go back home.” He sat down in the shade of a mango tree. There was no rope I could get. When we were rested we slowly pedaled back home. Both of us were silent the rest of the day.
I stayed with my dad until the end of summer working in the tobacco barn we put up. I went back to Manila the following school year to continue my studies. I always pass the highway dad and I once took, and there under an old mango tree, I would be seeing a old man resting in its shade. Beside him are two bicycles. ~ ~ ~
Living with Nature, Volume 3, AVR. All Rights Reserved.