Bananas and Pa's Death Anniversary

Freshly harvested bunch of bananas with around 10 "hands" or "piling".

Today we remember the second year of Pa's passing.

I harvested a bunch of bananas last month after my sister-in-law saw one yellow fruit through our computer shop window.  That was the first time I personally cut a bunch of bananas right out of its "tree".  I didn't realize how heavy small bananas are when still collectively attached to their "stem".

Firsts are almost  always moments of joy and awe.  That was exactly what I felt until I remembered that on several occasions roughly 20 years ago Pa would arrive in my boarding house while I was still in College in Baguio City.  During some of these visits he would bring bananas of different kinds from the province here in Bicol.  I didn't give it too much thought then.

I was then deep in my own college life -- busy with school, table tennis, my new-found Christian circles and dreams of helping change the world.

I realize now that even then when I felt like I was living life for others I slowly set aside the fraction of my life supposedly reserved for my father.
I slowly thought of what Pa might have felt 20 years ago.  How excited and proud he must have been travelling 900 kilometers to hand over his fruits to a son who couldn't remember now if he ever thanked his father for the gestures.

With my left hand I held on to a small piece of the bananas' stem and a bolo on my right as I clumsily hacked the bunch, oblivious of its weight.    I felt the joyful rush of a harvest while dragging the heavy and slippery bunch toward our computer shop.

As I lay the bunch on the ground, and until long after I took the picture above, I remembered my father. I wasn't ungrateful then but neither did I show any sign of genuine thankfulness either.

A day passed and I also realized that my current fixation on agriculture was wordlessly encouraged by my father.  I belatedly recall that upon Pa's return from a four year contract in Saudi Arabia we used to watch and enjoy "Ating Alamin", an agriculture television program hosted by the popular Gerry Geronimo.  We didn't talk.  We would just watch together.

I just (ironically?) loved watching that agriculture program even though I wasn't surrounded by farm land.  I was surrounded by mountains in a mining community. (read Coming Back to the Mines).

I've always credited maternal inspiration for my love for flowers ("Why I love Flowers") but now I realize that my recent love for the dignity and life-giving power of agriculture was conceived through my father who never even talked to me about life, passions, and dreams.

Finally, this musing led me to belatedly think, two years after my father's death, that he has been a powerful, though mute inspiration to one of the things I  love doing now, perhaps contrary to "Chasing Pa" and "Losing Part of My Home".  It continues with the recent post on his influence in carpentry ("I am Carpernter" blog post here) and on to this current post.

Two years onward and the chase is far from over.

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