First Thoughts

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

I awoke to a rooster crowing from a distance. “Funny,” I thought. “I never paid much attention to the Miller’s rooster before.”

But today was different. I felt like I was back home in the old country.

Sitting up on one side of the bed, my wonderful mind conjured up images of rice fields, nipa huts and cardboard shanties complete with the national beast of burden – the water buffalo – standing patiently by an old tamarind tree.

I could smell the fresh scent of rice stalks heavily laden with grain – ripe for harvest. My nostrils could detect the unmistakable scent of white smoke from burning straw billowing underneath the vine trellis, suffocating and driving the ladybugs and pests away while saving the long green gourds to mature unblemished. The clear mountain spring waters running down the irrigation ditch, effortlessly flowing past arrays of lotus leaves, flowers, clumps of floating water hyacinths and the exposed tangled roots of bamboo… how heavenly peaceful the sound.

Darkness diffused by early morning light signaled the beginning of a new day. My first thoughts were of home, my old village by the sea where I grew up… how precious the time I spent with my family. I thank God for granting me glimpses of these thoughts now – remembrances and snapshots of cherished time to revisit, all enshrined in the scrapbook of my soul.




She weaves the buri strips into light-colored place-mats in her arts and crafts class but sees her father and the sea painted on each one of them

Her father died the year she qualified for the SAS Ai financial aid program to attend Saint Augustine School. Devastated by her loss she nevertheless courageously bore her hurts, collected herself and decided to move on with her life.

Dealing with her grief while attending school presented many challenges. Her heaviest burden dealt with the persistent and indelible memories of her late father. She saw his likeness upon his fishing nets draped over an idle fishing boat. She saw her father in the bursting sea wave, green, cool and inviting. She remembered her father’s occupation – an avid, all-weather fisherman of the sea.

In her arts and crafts class where she wove buri palm frond strips into light place mats, she would see images of her father pulling his net clearly embossed upon each place mat. She felt burdened by these visions at first but as time passed she finally learned to deal with these ever-present images of her father. He lives on in her memories certainly. Perhaps her father’s famous expression, “Don’t forget – remember always,” simply means just that.