28 November 2010

When I Start Thinking It’s Christmas

PAGASA has been talking about the northeasterlies for a few weeks now; except that, as far as I was concerned, they seemed to have gotten lost in the streets of Novaliches and never got here. In fairness, the layang-layangs have been here for a couple of months now; and as sure as I live and breathe, their arrival has always been the sign that the winds have changed.

Is it just me, but I have always had this childhood hang-up that the holiday season and warm weather just do not connect. You know, I’m-dreaming-of-a-white-Christmas and all that American pop culture crap that I am sure even they – i.e. the originators – had no inkling about the cultural mix-up they were causing innocent bright-eyed boys like moi.

So, alright! Even as an uhugin little boy I was not stupid. I kinda learned over time that snow just did not come to these beautiful tropical islands of ours; and over more time that if it ever fell at all, it would be catastrophic.

But it did not help that I was born and raised in a city a thousand feet above sea level; and that I grew up in an Air Force Base where our humble abode was a remodeled formerly prefabricated American-style Dallas hut right next to a golf course. When the northeasterlies blew, they sprinted across the golf course with a whistling sound as though a thousand harpies were partying on through the night.

We had standard issue itchy woolen military blankets which were unbearable during the summer months but would become snugly warm and comforting when the whistling winds came. Because I was a little boy with a lively imagination, when the sound of the rushing winds became unbearably eerie, I would cover my head with a blanket with just a tiny slit through which I stuck my nose out to breathe.

That was in case one of the partying harpies came into my room…

So thus, even though I already knew it would not really snow, I nevertheless came to equate this time of the year with, at the very least, some chill in the air. Last year, the cold winds arrived as early as October. Which is why this year had been a disappointment…

Until yesterday! I had retired early from the training game between the college and high school teams to take pictures. As the afternoon wore on, the winds started to blow briskly. But it was just pleasant; definitely not yet what I would place in the category “cold.”

Late this afternoon, it was not just pleasant anymore! Boy Scout me, I had stuffed my brown overcoat into my backpack this morning when I left for work. I was not really sure I would be having any need for it; and indeed, at midday, the sun was still out blazing.

But late this afternoon, and particularly after the sun had sunk into the western horizons, the winds started to play on the field just as the lads started to scrimmage. I had not brought my playing gear, so I sat on this plastic monobloc chair clutching the overcoat closer to myself as I watched the lads play.

Unlike yesterday, the cold had a bite to it so that, at times, I found myself shivering underneath my coat. I am not complaining, though. On the contrary, I am celebrating!

There are just some things I can bet my life on. It may not always come at the exact time I want it to; but as sure as I live and breathe, I know that the cold will come to this city I call home.

And then I can start thinking that Christmas is really just around the corner…

[This story was first published on Facebook on 1 December 2009.]








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