There is a strange thing that happens here in the Philippines that can only be compared to Florida and it’s called “The Snowbird Syndrome” This is where a group of human beings live in a part of the world that has that thing called winter. And that winter thingy causes them to abandon their regular home and fly to the Philippines to find warmth and sunshine. I’m not saying they should be spurned or punished for only spending part of the year here, as that would be wide of the mark, I’m saying that they enter into our lives for a few months and then fly away.
This season in my purok the Kano population was well over the allowed limit. This season Don Cook and his wife Teody flew in first, they have a house right up the street from me about a 5 minute walk away. They hail from San Diego CA. where Don retired after his career in the US Navy.
Shortly after Carlos Schofield and His Wife Juliette arrived shortly after and they hail from Haywood CA. and Oregon. Carlos was a WW II Merchant Seaman and continued sailing after his two year tour of duty in the US Army during the Korean War. Their house is a five minute walk down my street.
Next came Bob Kunkel and his wife joined us from Missouri Bob is a former Marine who had been stationed in Subic many years ago, Now his house is on the way to Carlos’ house about 4 minutes away from mine. Bob was only here for a couple of weeks so we didn’t see very much of him this year.
So the gang is all here, Don Bullock who lives kitty corner from my house but resides fulltime here and Tommy Heath and his wife Lolet who lives in Olongapo down the hill from us, who is also a Merchant Seaman (1st Engineer) was in from sea and on Vacation for a few months. Then there is Rolly Lopez a retired member of the US Navy who returned to his home country to live out his days in paradise.
We like to get together and go to dinner at our favorite Mongolian BBQ joint down in the Barrio. Plus lunches at Texas Joe’s on Subic Freeport. Did I forget to mention roving cocktail parties all within walking distance of our homes.
But with all things they must come to a close, last Wednesday night we all met at Carlos’ house to say adieu, farewell and adios as he must return to California on last Friday. We assembled on his second floor patio where there is always a cool breeze and a very pleasant atmosphere plus no mosquitos due to the elevation and wind.
Since we are all Rum drinkers (Except Don Bullock who prefers beer) I brought a bottle of Angostura (1824) Trinidad & Tobago 12 yr old Rum that was Given to me a week earlier by my LiP buddy from South Africa Frank who was in to visit for a couple of days. We found the bottle was corked and sealed in wax so this must be top shelf rum, and it was. Need I say that it didn’t last long and we had plenty of Tanduay Superior 12 yr to transition to.
The food was great, the company even better and a good time was held by all, now to explain to the folks who never served in the USMC or Navy the Hail & Farewell is a time honored tradition where you gather to meet new arrivals and send off old friends. A drink could be involved in both cases.
Next month we’ll have to do it all over again, as Don Cook is going home and Tommy has to fly back to his ship. But have no fear for good news is in the air, Loren Pogue and his wife are flying in from Colorado and the good times will start once more.