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Que sera, sera

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

“When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother/ What shall I be?” Remember that great songhit of the sixties or seventies that blared out from every store and eatery all day and almost all night long, too? The title itself was poignant, “Que sera, sera”, meaning, “What will be, will be.” But that was not what I asked my mother, I asked her what profession I should go into that would enable me to go places, see foreign countries, and write about them. I was very earnest in asking.

***

No, she didn’t say “Que sera, sera”. She said, “Then you should be a journalist. They get assigned to cover  events in different places, even countries, if they are successful.” That fired my imagination, but, being one of nine children, it just remained there. I decided on a Liberal Arts course, later taught English, but took some subjects in journalism at U.P. during summers. But I had to be realistic, my younger brothers, seven of them, were still in school, so the journalism dream was relegated to the background.

***

But “Que Sera, sera”, indeed. After some years of teaching, I decided to apply at the Development Bank of the Philippines, and fortunately, one of its governors then was Roberto S. Benedicto, a Negrense, whom I approached in his Makati office and he was the one who interviewed me. I crossed my fingers, but it didn’t take a month before I was called by the local DBP to report for duty. Several years later, the chairman of the DBP came to Bacolod and when he was told I was writing  for local weeklies, he said “You should be in the head office.”

***

The head of the Branches and Agencies Department happened to be married to a relative of my mother so my parents allowed me to accept what was a promotion. But I got so homesick, my salary went to PAL because I would go home to Bacolod every month and spent all I earned on plane fare. Why am I writing my autobiography? Sorry to those who are bored, but honestly, I lack sources now that the TV goes blink now and then and that had been my main contact with the world lately. Ah, when will things return to normal again? Will it be, as the now well-known phrase, be the “new normal”?

***

Does “normal” mean that the Olympics will be held as planned? That is the latest news that seems to augur the return of normalcy. But are all the athletes and officials ready and willing to go on even if the vicious COVID had not yet been conquered by then? At least that is something to look forward to. I hope, though, that our own sponsoring  of those games will not fade in comparison with the coming event. Sports can always divert attention especially one as exciting as the Olympics.

***

Speaking of the Olympics, are you not glad that now, with TV and other media, we can watch the competitions as they actually take place? Years ago, my uncles who were athletes themselves would regale us with their feats, but there was no TV coverage and we just listened in awe at the accomplishments of Negrense players. But I guess athletics does not run much in my family. An uncle Salvador, was a boxer, brother Bing was on the basketball team, I ambitiously tried to get into the volleyball team but they called me “Butterfinger”, and that was my whole sports record.

***

Meanwhile, the United States has a new President, but his first day in office was greeted by a record of almost 6,000 deaths from COVID. But he is not the only world leader facing such problems. I forgot to take down the names of the official who said that the deaths from this virus could be more than the mortality in wars. Well, during wartime, you can hide, but this virus can be passed on to you even by your best friend or your own family. I thank God, though, that my Tita Maia Ramos, has survived it.

***

Who was that “prophet” who declared that 400,000 may have died from the COVID by Valentine’s Day? How heartless naman! Instead of making such dire predictions, we should call on our people to pray for our liberation from this scourge. This is not the first time such a disease had decimated mankind, God in His generosity had removed them and I don’t doubt that prayers and repentance will save us again. AMEN.*

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