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Happy Birthday Dad!

February 2nd, 2008

Today is my Father’s Birthday. Dad would have been 84 today. He passed away last April 17, 2007… “prepared to welcome death not as a grim tyrant but as a kind messenger, sent to translate us from this imperfect to that all perfect, glorious and Celestial Lodge where the Supreme Grand Master of the Universe forever presides”.

On this day I’d like to recollect Dad as I had known him.

dadandme3.jpgMy Dad is a Gentleman of the Old School, a strict disciplinarian, a man of few words, prim and proper and a bit uptight. He makes it a point that we respect his authority as Master of the House by observing the House Rules he laid down for us. We grew up with these rules and there was never a time when anyone of us questioned it or challenged his authority.

The only occasion where we can have a lengthy conversation with our Dad were during dinner. And at the dinner table my Dad was always the first to open a topic for conversation. We the siblings can buzz with each other on the side but we don’t start a focused conversation on the table unless Dad started it. We can find time to talk with him man to man only if he’s not busy, and more often than not he was always, busy. His last years gave us the only oppurtunity to have long chats with him, and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Perhaps the greatest legacy that Dad bequeathed us is his being a Freemason. Dad grew up having uncles and other mensfolk of his clan as Freemasons. The only relative he had when he was assigned to Dansalan (old name of the present day Marawi City)in the early 60’s was an uncle who was a Freemason. My Dad became a Master Mason before he married my Mom. Following his footsteps, among his five sons, four of us became members of the Order of DeMolay. He taught us the virtues of Masonry in every chance he got, especially when one of us errs. And like a true Mason that he was, he never invited us to join Masonry.

I’m wondering if I had frustrated Dad, perhaps for some hopes or dreams he had for me that I failed to live up to. I may no longer know the answer to this, but I’m certain that I had given Dad his proudest moments during the closing years of his life.

dadandme2.jpgI can still remember the smile on his face when for the first time he held in his hands close to his heart, his first grand-daughter, my baby Maia. I can also remember how excited he was when he learned that I have knocked at the door of Freemasonry. He guided me through my travels in the mysteries of Freemasonry. We were even surprised that in his already failing sense of hearing, the only words that he seemed to hear very clearly, were only those about Masonry. I remember every time when I’m in the middle of my recitation to him of our Masonic rituals, tears would start falling down from his eyes. After my raising to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, he greeted me warmly as a son and embraced me tightly as a Brother. The last request that he asked me was to ensure that he’d be given a proper Masonic funeral rite when the time comes. This wish, I made true for my Dad and Brother.

It is your birthday today Dad, I know that you will celebrate it in fellowship with your ancestors and the Brethren now assembled in the Celestial Lodge above.

Happy Birthday Daddy! Here’s a toast on your birthday, my Brother!

I miss you Dad…

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