While eating al fresco style on a balmy Friday night overlooking the star kissed Subic Bay; three tables joined together at the By-The-Sea Resort, with a few friends in attendance I with one ice cold San Miguel beer and a full plate of Mongolian BBQ on the table in front of me. These are the kind of days I live for.
Our daughter Ymir Thea and my grandson Jayden (AKA: The Lil’ Dude) declined to join us, our other daughter YoHanna May and husband Chris had taken my Granddaughter Colleen to Pampanga to the Fontana Resort for her Swim Meet and to celebrate the Chinese New Year. And of course she won more medals!
The conversation was light and humorous; all was right with the world until Mayang’s new smart phone started chirping away. The number was not one she knew but she took the call anyway, as we might have won a million pesos or maybe we could avail ourselves of a new condo in Manila. No such luck, it was our daughter Ymir Thea (Yhen) in a blind panic on our neighbor Anna’s phone.
I’m busy chowing down and consuming cold SMB’s obvious to the pandemonium brewing around me. But I knew something was amiss by the reaction of the other Tagalog speakers at the table, and hell even the waiter knew what was going on before I found out.
The story as relayed to me: Yhen excited the house to on the light in the car port. A 30 second trip, when she heard the heavy Nara Wood front door of the house slam shut with a resounding bang (I’m paraphrasing here) It seems that her 20 month old son (The Lil’ Dude) noticed that the door had been left open and dutifully closed it. Of course the lock was engaged, which left the mother on the outside looking in the window at a proud son on the inside smiling with pride.
Panic and mayhem are now the order of the night; hands are raised in alarm, and a chorus of “Aye, Aye, Aye” echoes’ into the night on both ends of the phone. All eyes look to me for my reaction. Do you really believe I’d not have a contingence plan? Oh ye of little faith!
I relieved Mayang of her phone and instruct my daughter to send a kid who is sitting on my wall out front. (They are always there as I provide a street light) to her Tito Juhn and put him on the phone when he arrives. My friend and I have another beer while waiting. Hey what else would you have done?
I put the beer down raise the phone up and simply explained to my brother-in-law Juhn what to do; “Juhn, go to man cave, get hacksaw off the wall, pick a first floor window that appeals to you, slid the glass and screen back and saw off the padlock on the jail house window, open said jail window and climb in. All this was accomplished while receiving a play by play narrative from Ymir Thea on the phone. At the dinner table you could have heard a pin drop, and my food being chewed. A collective cheer went up within the restaurant as Mother and child were back within each other’s arms, the old lock thrown away and new one installed. The carport light had been on’ed. Juhn returned home and the Year of the Horse had been properly rung in and all was right again, within my preview.
A collective sigh of relief (In Tagalog) rose from my table and the wait staff milling around and even a few raised thumbs from both Pinoy’s and Kano’s sitting at other tables who had been observing our little soap opera transpiring. Let the New Year celebrations continue!
Was the problem solved? Could Paul order his next beer? Ney no so! The problem had been rectified and all was well on the Eastern Front, but Paul had to go home “NOW” so mother and daughter could commiserate with each other, and relive the adventure over and over again. As I took that long walk toward the New Old Honda, every man there knew exactly what was going on, and knew that for the Grace of God, it might have been them. I could see the simpatico within their collective eyes.
And yes I’ve had to do this house entrance twice myself, over the years; I hope that will explain why I keep a box of spare locks in my “Gold Locker.” in my Man Cave. Where is the key to the jail bars you might ask? They are near each window but not close enough to reach from the outside, even if you knew where they are hanging. I refused to be locked into a burning house with no swift egress to the outside.
At home once again Lil Dude and I played on the floor with a few of his toy trucks. For he was totally innocent of all wrong doing, as he is a toddler that was only doing what toddlers do for a living. While Mother and Lola rehashed what had transpired that evening over and over again.
So for the year of the Horse I wish you all: “Gong Xi Fa Ca!”
Or translated from Mandarin: “Wishing you prosperity”
I don’t like any New Years at all…