I believe that human was created to be simple. What we need to live a decent life is to have something to do, someplace to live, some food to eat and someone to love. Yes, the simple necessities in life. I remember those days when my late Lola (grandma) and I were visiting her sister’s family along the riverside of Silay City (Neg. Occ., Philippines). They used to cook with firewood piled neatly in a stone circle. The fire woods were gathered from the twigs of the trees surrounding the little town. As a child, I really enjoyed gathering these woods with my cousins. We would go around picking up these dried sticks and after loading a handful, we would put them beside the fireplace which to be used by my Lola for cooking. We would then go down to the river and soaked our tiny bodies in the water. My cousins have always enjoyed jumping and diving while I satisfied myself sitting and splashing along the shore watching them. You know, I am afraid to go deeper since I don’t know how to swim, unfortunately, until now. This amusement would go on until my Lola would call us for lunch. Lunch would usually consist of “uga” (dried fish) or tinabal (smashed fish with vinegar and salt) and laswa (a local vegetable soup). This combo meal, when eating with a huge number of relatives, is my all-time favorite. Nothing can top the taste of it while eating by hand. This only made special by the fact that my older cousins did the fishing and the vegetables were from my Lola’s homegrown yard. Yes, vegetable garden can be seen in every neighbor’s backyard, while across the street, you could find a thousand hectares of sugarcane farm. This is our place of dessert, we would march up across the street and would choose the plumpest cane. We would peel the husk by our bare teeth, gnaw the stalk, and sip the sweet juice down until there was no drop left on it. There would also be chances that we do carabao-back-riding, this was on rare occasions when our Uncle’s animal farm was not tired enough from the farm’s work. I remembered my first carabao ride, I put a cloth on it so not to feel its rough hairy back. I also remembered that I was having so much fun riding. Then if we felt hot from playing under the scorching heat of the sun, we would go back again to the river, splashing in the water until sun down. Our good night sleep will be joined by the blackbird squeaking or the gecko clicking. I used to be frightened by the bird’s sound on my first few visits on the farm. Later, the sound became a pleasurable music that lulled me to sleep, dreaming of the morning to come and wanting to do the same cycle of events all over again.
It’s one of the pleasant memories of my childhood. A simple life worth living for, again and again. No complications, no conditions.
I miss you Lola.