September 25, 2023

Christmas Eve and Christmas day was literally spent in sick bay as the muscle spasms in my good leg came unannounced coupled with the effects of the cool breeze that makes one wish he lives in the Arabian deserts at this time of the year. Fatigued from the incessant and obligatory parties and carolings, the excess booze, food, and lack of rest and sleep finally caught up with the aching body and took its ultimate toll.
The consolation was my own share of text and private messages of holiday greetings which definitely are appreciated especially the assurance that you are in the thoughts of the sender somehow. A most difficult task, of course, is texting back unrecorded numbers on your phonebook but it’s the thought that matters most. So it was that I missed the midnight mass and the annual trek to visit the in-laws at Brower Road.
Not missed even if one had to hop to the dining table was the simple Noche Buena and the riotous exchange of gifts that followed. Next day was Boss Benny Carantes’ birthday which was of course missed but Betchay’s 1st birthday celebration was a must. Must be hard to celebrate your birthday right after Christmas when only family and real friends come over because the rest are hung-over or still sleeping from last night’s revelries. Anyway the best is yet to come for the lucky ones who share a birthday with Jesus.
The best tale that I could remember through all these was that of the wise old cab driver. One day, a lady hailed a cab on her way home for lunch. Expecting the cab ride to be the same mundane journey as like any other cab ride she had experienced before, she slid comfortably at the back seat of the cab, informed the good driver of her desired destination, slouched back, and started to stare out of the window at the people passing by and at the similarly snail-paced vehicles moving along the heavy traffic.
Much to her surprise, the driver, a big guy who happened to be a retired government employee, struck a conversation with her. Curious, the lady spoke and listened. Their conversation began with the usual complaints about how bad the traffic jams in the city were, what the government should have and could have done about it, whose fault it was and so on.
The part that caught the attention and interest of the lady was when the driver talked her about. “The four stages of life.”
The first stage was when a person believes in Santa Claus. Apparently, this stage pertains to the early phase of childhood.
The second stage is when a person no longer believes in Santa Claus because he already knows that Santa Claus is really his mother and/or father. This would probably pertain to older children who already know the difference between real life and make believe.
The third stage is when a person is already the Santa Claus. When a person becomes obliged to give gifts and surprises to his nephews, nieces, or godchildren. He said this is the longest stage that a person can go through and is the most important. This is where you discover your self-worth, experience everything, do everything and where you get the chance to make the most out of everything. This is where you figure out your direction and purpose in life – wherever and whatever that maybe. The wise driver advised his fare to seize the day, not to waste time and to give her best in everything she does. Life is too short, the driver said.
The fourth stage, is when a person already looks like Santa Claus – white beard and all.
The year 2019 was a good year to all of us, give or take a few downs which is part and parcel of living. The lessons of the wise cab driver are worth remembering – live life.
As it comes to an end, we gather our friends, family, and people closest to our hearts and reflect on the past and prepare for 2020. Let us share with everyone the blessings of a revitalized spirituality so that the love, peace and joy of will always be with us this New Year and all the days to come. A very prosperous New Year indeed for everyone. Sigh.