Sunday, August 1, 2010


I TOOK A DAY off from my weekend trips to the bush today, July 18, 2010. I have to keep a promise I give to my wife, Vilma, a week ago to clean my backyard of an unused structure which have served as my dirty kitchen of long ago for it is in a sorry state and an awful sight to look at. It has to go.

I rose up early at 6:19 AM and turn on the FM radio to listen to the '80s rock classics in NU 107 as I sit and eat a light breakfast of coffee and a sweetened bread. Everybody is up early today except for my eldest, Gringo, who has a cold. Lovella, Cherokee, Kurt, Jarod and Gabriel will be going today to D' Family Park in Talamban for picnic. Chokie and Laila will fetch them later.

Finally, my turn to use the bathroom. I have to go to church today for it is a Sunday. I left at 7:12 AM and walked the distance from my home to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral – a distance of more than a kilometer. Wow, this is good! I arrive too early for the eight o'clock mass and sit myself comfortably at my favorite niche.

I am very fortunate today as the Holy Mass will be celebrated by nine priests lead by Msgr. Roberto Alesna with guest celebrants Fr. John Iaccono and Fr. John-John Limchua. The Gospel is about Jesus, Mary and Martha. Oh, I wished Vilma is with me today. But she is busy cooking and preparing food for the kids like Martha.

The mass ended at 9:10 AM and I walked back the distance to my home. I feel good today. Hearing a mass is most appropriate with a little sacrifice like walking (as if I am on a pilgrimage) and parting a coin to a hungry child. My heart is light and Vilma is bewildered when she sees me with a big smile. I see the house almost empty.

Dressing up quickly for a demolition job, I place a makeshift ladder near the washing area to access the roof of the unused dirty kitchen. Armed with a claw hammer, I begin to remove mushroom nails one by one from a single sheet so I could transfer from the shaky ladder into a very stable cross beam.

Having done that, it was easy work all the way. I flail away each sheet removed and slide off each wood, protruding nails and all, into a safe area. I still have trust on the beams I made long ago to support my 200-pound weight and so I teether back and forth along the structure like an overgrown primate.

Time to go down to Earth. I stack the wood far to a safe corner. I might need those as my back-up fuel in case the LPG run out its course. The rust-battered roof will be dealt away and will be converted to cash in a junk shop. Probably, the junk roof sheets will be donated to a passing scavenger if Vilma sees that it gets in the way of her laundry area.

Oh, Vilma also instructed me to clear the spreading branches of a tambis (syzygium aqeum/water apple) tree away from a neighbor's roof and to prune away the top half of a jackfruit (artocarpus heterophyllus) tree so its branches could spread horizontally. However, I cut one mango branch that I find very annoying to the other trees and pruned a young durian tree short so I don't have to worry about the spiny fruit falling overhead me in the future. All these done with just a steel-saw blade (without the frame).

In between I coax a fire to life so I could use the wood embers to light up the charcoal. Vilma is treating me with grilled pork meat and she will cook it herself over my prepared fire. It is almost twelve noon. Time to rest and tidy up a bit for lunch. Meanwhile, NU 107 churned up classic after classic on FM and it keeps my juices flowing. Letting loose a bit with an imaginary guitar to shake off the dust and a sore back. Ha ha...

Lunch time over the dining table, Vilma couldn't hide her satisfaction at the amount of work I made. Neither I could hide my satisfaction of the juicy meat served on the table as I dip a piece into vinegar and soy sauce. We eat with our bare hands as all the spoon and fork have been carted off by the picnickers. Gringo seems to be at peace without the young ones running havoc all around.

After a siesta of one hour, I went back outside to clean the debris and unwanted items that were sheltered by the now-demolished dirty kitchen and placed them all inside empty cement sacks. During that clean-up session, I found my lost hatchet head, now very rusty. Yes, this is good.

With my other hatchet, I cut away from the rest of my hardwood cache, a tugas1 handle for my new hunting knife and a narra2 shaft for the lost-and-found hatchet head. These are very hard wood, dry and well-aged, and these need hard work with exceptionally sharp blades and an equally exceptional pair of skillful hands. I have both except the time.

With the same hatchet, I cut away a dangling branch of a fig tree growing just a meter beside my house and let it fall to the creek bed. I needn't worry about the branch obstructing the flow of water for I know it will rain tonight and will be washed away downriver. That the afternoon is so steamy hot is one indicator that it will rain and the other one is that Vilma is having fits of sinus and it never failed me in my predictions.

Sure enough, it rained at eight in the evening while I was already in dreamland and all the kids are safe under the roof.

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer

1Vitex Parviflora Juss.
2Ptericarpus indicus.

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