June 24, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Midland Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on March 23, 2014)

In my grade school years, March was both a welcomed and dreaded month, since in a fortnight or so, school would be out to make way for the summer break. But before then, the last periodical or final exams, the result of which would mean moving up to the next school level, or be left behind by your classmates.

Whichever, it meant a few sleepless nights, worrying about how you fared in the tests, or getting all excited about summer vacation, that time of year when you get to visit generous lowland kin in the old hometown.
Each day you play basketball under the hot morning sun, later on trekking to the river to cool off, getting laughs from the other kids because you swim dog paddle.

Coming back home in time for the Holy Week, following a short church visit, off to “Burham” you went, skating and boating with money given by aunts and uncles just before departing Balaoan, La Union, my mom’s hometown where she was twice fiesta queen, before my good looking dad, in his neatly pressed constabulary lieutenant uniform, and driving his 1936 Plymouth runabout, swept her off her feet.

At my age, memories are as wonderful as listening to a live symphony concert, clasping hands with my Minda, whose folks, Socorro and Melecio, like my own Pedro and Catalina, are sorely missed by our two boys, who only have fond memories of their grandmas and grandpas (my dad died before they were born, but eldest son Marc Benedict got to meet people who knew my old man, speaking kindly of gentleman Pete, always dressed in suit and tie, quite happy to have met his grandson). Now you know why we named our other son Melpether.

Woes of the season: Landlords of boarding houses worry about not making any income in the next four months, eateries catering to students worry about the same thing, and beer joints are pulling hairs, losing a lot of money while the students are on a four-month vacation. Best time, however, to have a summer fling, four months, instead of the usual two.

Policemen raided my crowded Lucban neighborhood the other day and carted away barbeque and other sidewalk fares, I am told, for lack of a business permit. Aside from the barbeque and fish balls, the improvised stands and carts of the vendors were likewise confiscated.
You have to hand it to the police. They are fast on the draw when it comes to apprehending vendors, enforcing the number coding, illegal parking, and smoking in prohibited areas. But when it comes to curbing crime, well….

I say it again. A uniform is not proudly worn by military and police authorities. Oftentimes a uniform is a license for abuse, and a gun is a dangerous and intimidating weapon in the hands of the trigger-happy.
Again, I ask. Why do many – bullies mostly – want to become military and police officers? Certainly not to serve the country, or maybe they start out that way, but soon get lost in the system. Today military and police officers are more feared than respected and sadly, that is how they like it. I am tempted to pray to God to sink ASAP this country of thieves and wrongdoers to the bottom of the sea.
Have a wonderful summer!