Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions. They can take away your money and they can take away your health, but no one can ever take away your precious memories. So don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories every day.”
Those are anonymous but beautiful words of wisdom that consciously or sometimes subconsciously influence my daily life.
Part of my memories are scenes I’ve witnessed. I was not the principal player in these scenes but a silent observer who takes delight in watching the world go by. These memories I look back to give me a spirit lift when recalled.
Life is a wide stage of performances. One can be the performer or the audience. I consider myself part of the audience to performances while seated in a mall restaurant, or in the car waiting for the traffic to ease or just parked waiting for my driver to wrap up shopping for spare parts.
I turn my seemingly boring predicament into an interesting pastime — observing people and making memories while doing so. I am exceptionally observant when I am near-boredom.
I vividly remember a scene I witnessed with my daughter Christia while we were seated in the car in Gandara, Chinatown’s busy commercial district.
It was 4:30 p.m. when we noticed a tricycle park in front of our car. The driver, a man in his early 20s, retrieved a black bag from under the tricycle seat and started changing clothes — from his threadbare pants to clean denims, from his old shirt to a clean, well-pressed white polo. He put on socks and clean rubber shoes in place of his worn-out rubber slippers.
You can imagine a lot of wiggling at the scene, with a very small space to work in.
Christia guessed that maybe he was preparing to meet his girl. I agreed. Maybe he has a date, I said.
He combed his hair, meticulously folded his shed clothes and placed these in the black bag with his rubber slippers. Then, for the final touch, he got a notebook from the black bag, slipped a school ID around his neck, and pedaled away on his tricycle.
We were amazed. The young man was preparing to go to his evening class! That poor tricycle driver was going to school, after all. Never had a scene struck me in a way this one did.
Despite his poverty, he dared to dream and was doing something to achieve his dream. He was an epitome of hope, of an optimistic outlook on life.
Christia and I said a short prayer for him, that God may bless him with success.
I have also witnessed scenes that made me wish I brought a camera to record them. But on second thought, not being able to record them made them more interesting parts of my memories, too.
Do you agree that the Filipino male is most caring to his girlfriend, and expresses it in unusual ways?
I was a witness to this unusual thoughtfulness while in a mall restaurant.
At first I noticed a woman walking with her boyfriend. She was holding on to him and he was carrying her shoulder bag the way a girl does it — across his shoulder, pressing it to his body. I thought this was just their very own different way. But in time I noticed another couple doing this, then another, and another, and another — all 14 pairs of them.
I wonder how long this practice has been going on. It did not happen in my own dates, in my own time. My memories tell me so.
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Ophelia Tiangha Flores, 76, is a member of Zonta International, an organization of executives and professionals whose mission is to empower and advance the status of women through service and advocacy. She was president of Zonta Club of Baguio and director of Zonta International District 17 Area 4. She is vice president of G.A. Flores Construction Inc. and Gamaphel Realty Inc. in Baguio City.
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