I grew up with my grandfather around, whether by the coal stove fanning on the fire to cook rice for the family, by the television watching his favorite basketball game, or outside by the grotto reading his favorite book.
Lolo as a Mentor. Lolo loves to read. I often see him reading a book or reading the Holy Bible. One day I grabbed one page of the newspaper he was holding, and I landed on the comics section (thankfully). I was mimicking him to look like I was reading as well, but I did not notice that I was enjoying what I was reading and got absorbed in it. It started my love for reading, first with the comic section in the newspaper, then novels that I borrow from Lolo. He inspired me to love reading and to learn from what I read, as he would always say,
“Read, read, read, and learn from books, as it will keep your mind sharp even when you are old.”
“Yes, Lo,” I answer as I look into his eyes, seeing the passion and his love for reading pierce through me.
I never stopped reading, and my love for books grew as I remember him today. It was as if he was there reading with me.
Lolo as a Storyteller. Lolo would often tell the stories of what he recently read or a story from his past. One of his most told stories was when he was a young boy. One night there was an event in their area, and he wanted to watch a theater act, but the show cost five pesos, and during that time, it was a lot of money—a thousand pesos compared to today’s currency. His parents made little, so he knew his father would not give him a centavo to spend on unnecessary things. He was a kid, and his will brought him to steal five pesos from his father’s pocket. Although he saw a larger amount, he only took what he needed. He enjoyed what he saw until the end. It was time to go home, and as he was walking toward their house, he thought about what his father’s reaction would be to find a missing five pesos in his pocket. Young Lolo thought about it and contemplated not going home, for he knows his father would punish him once he finds out. He prayed and felt the punishment was worth it, for the show was that great. It was about baby Jesus being born, and it was the most beautiful thing he ever saw.
As he was walking nearing their house, he saw a brown envelope. He thought it was trash at first, but as he went near it, something was inside it. With no hesitation, he picked it up. He checked the content before entering their house, and his eyes widen as if he saw a ghost. The envelope contained a bundle of cash. He did not know how much, as he did not think to count it. He placed all of it inside his father’s pocket, to where he got the five pesos from. This time, he could not wait for his father’s reaction as he finds that cash inside.
Those stories will forever live on through the book that I wrote—their life story will remain in the bookshelves of those who read it and in the hearts of those who heard it.
Lolo as our Adviser. He advises everyone—neighbors looking to fix the family problem, church people looking to connect with God, or us, his grandchildren, finding our ways in life. I listened to whatever he says, for I know it will always bring me to the right path. I looked up to him for his wise words.
Three lessons from a wise man:
Poverty is never a reason not to help others
I grew up having enough food on the table for the people in the house, nothing more, nothing less, but every day someone would come to visit our home to ask for food, and my Lolo would willingly give what we have.
“We still have something in our table, but those people that come here, they have nothing, so we give what we can.” he would say when any of the family questioned his actions.
For as long as you did your best, it will be perfect
Lolo would always say to give your best in anything you do, and no matter what the outcome is, It will be perfect. Whenever Lolo sees us struggling with our homework and on the verge of being tempted to ask someone to do it for us, he says these words, “give your best, and it will end up perfect, no matter the outcome.” According to him, there are lessons we could learn by making it ourselves. The result was the icing on the cake because we already have the knowledge gained from experience. He was right. It is in the process that we learn, and not from the outcome.
Make Jesus your Best friend
The last one and the one that he constantly says to us, Make Jesus your Best friend, and He will not forsake you. He served the church all his life up until he can. No matter what life throws at him, Lolo never doubted the Lord and even held on tightly. Every Sunday, he encourages us to go to mass as it was the highest form of worship, and he would say, “Jesus would be there. You do not want to miss it”. I still remember those words as if it was yesterday.
Thank you, Lo, for these words of wisdom. I engrave these words in my heart, so I will not forget.
I am forever grateful, for I met a mentor, an adviser, and a superb storyteller. I hope, someday, I could be half as good as you.
I miss you, and I love you, Lo!