When you drop silverware on the floor in the Philippines it means you are going to have a visitor and depending on the specific utensil, fork or spoon, the sex of the impending visitor is also determined according to local belief.
My asawa revealed this to me many years ago one lazy afternoon when I had accidently spilled a tray of silverware on the floor. “Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed! “We are going to have many visitor’s today”. I must confess I found this revelation most amusing because we had numerous visitors each and every day without fail. I didn’t need to read tealeaves or interpret fallen eating utensils or even rely on gravity to determine the certainty of coming guests.
I mentioned in a previous article each time we return to the Philippines our house becomes the social hub of numerous transients. Abandon all hopes of privacy if ye come to reside in the Philippines. The relatives who come to visit range from directly connected immediate family to estranged distant relations that perhaps share some far-reaching Asian continental common DNA.
Each year the group that cohabits with me changes slightly in cast but for the most part is stable and well known to me. My routine over the years has varied little. I would rise early and go to the ocean each morning to fish as was my custom. Two or three of my nephews would accompany me carrying my equipment and then meet me when I returned. They would then rinse, clean my gear, and set it up for the next day’s excursion. This went on for some three weeks without incident one year.
One morning a young man arrived at out house around 5:00 am with some freshly baked pandesal bread. I was busy passing out warm pieces of the bread to my dive helpers when I realized I didn’t know the name of one of them. I felt embarrassed and discreetly asked my wife what is that boy’s name? She looked at him and said I don’t know him.
I said “Dear, Sweet Heart, He has been sleeping and living here with us the past month and you don’t know who he is?” “Who the hell is this kid?” My asawa then quizzed everyone in the house and it seems no one knew who he was or where he came from.
Forgive me I an a simple Wisconsin back country boy, but is it wrong to wonder how a child came to eat and sleep in my house unnoticed by anyone of my family members. Well after an extensive investigation if turns out that perhaps one of my nephews suggested he might come live with his Kano Uncle after he and his sister had a falling out.
Apparently he had come to visit his sister and she had spent the return bus fare so he couldn’t go home. They had a fight and he ran away. Well not exactly away…. to my house. I then explained to my family that I could barely assist helping them with basics but was unable to take in people we didn’t even know.
I confronted the boy and said “Excuse who are you? He proceeded to run out of the house and into the jungle. I followed him and caught up to him. I brought him back and said he could spend the night. The next day I took him and the whole family out to eat and then to a movie. I then bought him a return bus ticket. We then saw him off at the station so he could return home.
I went home and posted a set of rules on the wall of our house.
- No one can spend the night at our house without my permission.
- Any friends you bring to my house must be introduced to me.
- No one can smoke inside our walls
- No one can drink inside our walls
- Don’t Piss off Uncle Henry
It takes a village to raise a child. He wasn’t from our village!