By R Juan de Abril
In the past it was popular among high-school and college students to know the 7th ancient wonders of the world. I bet young people today don’t know them.
Do they even heard of the Hanging Garden of Babylon? Maybe the Great Pyramids of Egypt? The Banaue Rice Terraces, among others? I’ve memorize them all until came a time I personally add an 8th.
Yes, the 8th. He was a walking wonder to me. Maybe not as ancient and spectacular as the others because at 80 years old in the early 1980’s he was still strong, lovable and kind.
I was fond of him though distantly because I was shy of him. But I was always observing him. He was from Bohol and he came to Butuan once a year to visit us. He was a farmer and he brought a sack of rice every time he came.
It was like holidays at home when he’s around. We have special food and we kids are told to behave, not much noise and running around as he might not like it. Sometimes we gather around him to listen to his stories about our cousins back in Bohol. He also talk a lot with my father even late nights.
Years followed and he didn’t come anymore. I missed his visits. I was told he couldn’t come anymore as he is getting weak. But we have a sack of rice brought by my father’s relative sent by lolo.
To my mind, he was so caring and a successful farmer to send us “our share.”
His words. He was such a dear. So when it was time to go to Bohol for my traditional summer visits to relatives there, I look forward to see him in his farm.
But when I arrived my cousins were quick to get into some gimmicks and the visit to lolo’s would be attended to some time later. Until guilt kicked in, I finally took time to see him.
From the town proper to his farm was a few kilometers walk. He must have known I was coming that day because from the distance he was standing in the middle of the rice field. He was waiting beside two scarecrows with a big smile and welcoming hands.
I kissed his hand and we had a small talk, me asking how big’s the farm and he proudly pointing the the length and width. Then he led me to his house atop a hill. I followed him.
Watching closely how he walk. I couldn’t help be amaze at this man, so loving and humble yet so hardworking despite his age. And it dawned on me the pride and realization he was so full of wonder he deserve the rank of the few “wonders of the world.”
I am privileged to be his grandson every time I remember him. My 8th wonder.
Photo courtesy of Marc Anderson