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They’re Only Seven Once

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Why is the seventh birthday so important? I’ll never fully understand the why of it, and I decided to be quite and go along with.

It’s Mid September sitting at my kitchen, and those discussing the planned party are, 1 Great Grandmother, 2 Grandmothers, 1 Mother, 1 Grand Daughter (soon to be seven) Plus 1 Father, and not to be left out, me the Grandfather. (In the dining room and living room, were assorted Aunts, Uncles and cousins not involved in the planning, but voting present) I admire you folks, who are taking the time to learn the local language, yet once in awhile it’s a blessing to be ignorant of what’s being said, and believe me this was one of those times.

49 Ways to Make a Living in the Philippines

Chris (my son-in-law) feeling sorry for me, disappeared and returned with a frosty bottle of, San Magoo Beer. (You knew that was coming!) Then came the important part, the plans are set, all goes quiet, all brown eyes are peering into the blue eyes that my folks burdened me with, and for the first time that evening English was spoken and I was informed that my part was P24,500.00.

Now I knew why my beer was never empty, and I just agreed. The party was set for October 3rd (made sense, as it was the Childs birthday) the Sunday before the big event we must go to SM Mall in San Fernando. From my house in Bataan, it’s an hour drive. 9 am with my wife and I, birthday girl and her parents in the car, we’re on the way. In Lubou the traffic is very heavy and a truck hits my Honda on the rear left door and fender well, and sails off down the road.

Panic ensues, I’m instructed to race after the truck, and find a policeman, and to stop and inspect the damage. I just want to get out of this traffic and go to the mall. The truck is gone, the police have the day off (It was a Sunday) and I’ll check the car at the mall, as it was driving just fine. Why had I not followed all the great advice I’d received? The truck was long gone and if I had caught up with it the driver would deny, deny, and deny again. The police, if I could have found one would have keep me for an hours or more filling out paperwork, and answering questions that I could not answer. Like, what’s the name of the other driver? Who owned the truck, where was the truck purchased? I think you get the drill.

Now we’re at the mall, birthday presents in tow heading to my car, when my wife informs me my granddaughter was in a Barbie fashion show and would be done sometime after 2pm. I smile; I wait, because it’s what grandfathers do. Return trip to my house and a well deserved cold beer. Hitting 50 MPH, left front wheel hit a pothole the size of a crater on the moon, and blows the tire off the rim. Son-in-Law changes the tire, and at 6pm I’m safe at home. Cold beer at the ready!

The shopping at the mall P7, 000.00, the new tire P2, 700.00, bodywork and paint on the car P5, 500.00, then there’s the original cost of the party, the look in my granddaughters eyes the night of the party! Absolutely, positively priceless! I’d do it all again.

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Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
11 years ago

John;
I can only assume that the DJ will be live also. (LOL)
I forgot to thank you for that great idea to investigate “the whys of the 7th Birthday”.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
11 years ago

Edward;
I was just thinking about Sainthood, and it reminded me of a line in a country song “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but they don’t wanna’ go now” I feel the same about Sainthood, I’ll take it, just not soon.
Bob;
I like that birthday idea. Can I send the bill to my granddaughter??? LOL

John Reyes
11 years ago

You’re welcome, Paul. Good night, everyone.

Toting
Toting
11 years ago

Hi Paul,

I think age seven is just supertitious belief like Lucky Seven. It is also a new phase being a kid not a toddler but more on the “Lucky Seven”

You are one lucky guy to have those families around. They are also lucky to have you!!

Toting

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
11 years ago

Brian;
Beer still comes in six packs? I thought only in multiple cases. 1st beer or 24th their all lucky to me.

dans
dans
11 years ago

hi paul,

The 7th b-day is celebrated because during the Spanish era, many Filipino children die before they reach 7 due to disease/illness, in those days malaria,diphtheria and polio are the widespread diseases, until this day many Filipino believes that when a child survive the 7th year the child is “somewhat” free from sickness.

btw, my aunt died when she was 6 years old (diphtheria).

Spencer
Spencer
11 years ago

$863 U.S. (incl. tire, fender, etc.) for a 7-year-old’s party that (hopefully) she’ll remember forever.

I’d say that’s a bargain. Not to mention all the good will and favor you managed to purchase. I’ll have to add this to the expected budget. (Not sure yet how many 7 yo birthdays I’ll get to finance yet, though.)

File under “miscellaneous anticipated expenses”.

Thanks for the story, Paul. You are teaching me the most important thing about living in the Philippines is to smile a lot, and have a San Miguel ready.

Edward Gary Wigle
Edward Gary Wigle
11 years ago

Well Paul it is good to see that no matter where you are, things like birthdays are the same. Keep this up Paul and you will make sainthood soon. Thanks for the story.

Paul
Paul
11 years ago

Hi Paul – You’re definitely stuck in grandfather-land.

I would have taken the truck swipe as an omen, handed the keys to the son-in-law, left the immediate presence of all concerned, and sought out that magic elixer which wonderfully makes all that stuff go away (a trip to the “SMB” Mall, if you will!). 😉

Then, again, I t’ain’t no grandfather (fur ez I kno!).

Dave Starr
11 years ago

Excellent story, Paul. You may recall I had a popular writeup back when my oldest nephew turned 4 last year … he and I shared a”real” Jolibee party and it wasn’t quite as expensive as yours but I feel the memories are as precious. In Japan becoming seven is a really, really big deal, the last of the special series of 3-5-7. During these special birthdays, Japanese children participate in the upcoming Shichi-go-san Festival (meaning the “Seven-Five-Three” Festival) and for a little girl the kimono bill will be about the same as your total … once again, it’s better in… Read more »

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