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The mystery of the Kalachuchi

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Something must be wrong with “connections” lately. Yesterday, I could not turn on my TV to several channels. Then, after an hour or so, it was all right again. And the first channel that worked was RJ’s program, with himself singing, and accompanying himself on his guitar, the old hit “It’s Now or Never”. I am sure it was a replay, because his regular program is at night, nevertheless, it lightened my spirits, because I had been feeling so low after the interment of my last aunt – on my mother’s side, that is – because my father was an only son.

***

So my only “phone pal” and consultant now is my uncle, Jose “Toti” Ramos, the youngest brother of my mother. He is the one I call, and who calls me so we can mourn together, and console each other. I know he will need more distraction now that the nephews now working abroad will be returning to their jobs. And me, with my only sister Perla also gone, have no one to discuss matters with or even quarrel or argue with, because, my caregiver and driver dare not answer me back!

***

Well, I know that I am not the only person in the world in such straits, and I also know that I am even luckier because I still have my two brothers, Pros and Bing, and their families who are all supportive and caring, and even spoil me at times with things that I enjoy. And I have the DAILY STAR to worry about because, if we had been operating on a shoestring before, figuratively, matters are even worse now with so many of our “suki” advertisers and supporters in dire straits themselves. But the Good Lord has not abandoned us, somehow,  He has, as the song goes, “helped us make it through the night”.

***

That is why we are so grateful to our advertisers and subscribers as well as readers who still continue to inspire us to go on. And I am also thankful to the two Popes, who are now Saints, who have been our inspiration and intercessor in our desperate prayers. For those who would like to know the brief prayers, I am printing here those petitions that I believe, have been earning their help and protection for the DAILY STAR through all those years of insecurity and doubt.

***

The first one, says “Saint John Paul  II, pray for your children. Help us to have courage and faith always”. The one from St. Pope John XXIII, says “Saint John XXIII, pray for peace and joy. Help us to follow your example of trust in God”. These have been my constant recourse when things seem no longer manageable, as during the onset of this pandemic, when many had been condoling with us, thinking it was the end of our dream for a daily newspaper for our city and province.

***

Another consolation, even if we do not get any financial gain for it, is the readership that the STAR reaches. Bacoleños and Negrenses from all over the world often reach out to us to tell us how much reading the STAR eases their homesickness and longing for their families and friends back here. When we had to stop for 10 days at the height of the COVID pandemic, many thought the STAR was “finished, kaput”. But the Good Lord sent us help, especially through my nephews who inspired me with their love and “Never say die spirit”.

***

A funny bit of news lately was about senior citizens who were reported to be very picky in their choice of vaccine, and would not  submit to it if their “kursunada” was not available! Luckily for them, the health workers were compassionate ones who did not snap at them “As if it matters!” But let’s not blame or laugh at them. It is their own life they are thinking of, and hoping to make eternal! Me, until now, I have not even asked which vaccine had been administered to me. I am supposed to get the second dose two weeks from now, and I am not thinking of complaining, too.

***

But a very strange incident took place that puzzled me after the interment of my aunt, and sister of my mother, Ma. Dolores “Maya” Ramos, last Sunday. When my uncle noted artist Jess Ramos Ayco died a few years ago, my sister Perla, sister-in-law Nena, and I were the last to leave his wake held at his residence at San Sebastian Street, that we often visited whenever we needed his help for some project. It was past midnight  when we left, but when we got to my car that I had parked close to the house, we saw that three Kalachuchi flowers had fallen right on my windshield! So we took them, one for each of us, saying it was a “thank you” from Tito Jess.

***

Yesterday, after leaving the mausoleum where the remains of my aunt Maya had been interred, the first thing I saw when we got to our car was a single kalachuchi flower again on my windshield! I am sure she and my Manang Perla have already met, and must be discussing their problems in education as they were both school officials. But, Oh, how our families will miss them both!”*

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