Udis the Great, Chapter 6

                                                                                  Udis the Great, Chapter 6
                                                                                       My Mother
                                                              © Dr. Udis Sanchez Manalansan-Lord, Ph.D.
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            My mother is physically and emotionally solid than all the pyramids put together.       She was never daunted by any problem that she encountered. She always told me, “Every problem has a solution.  You just have to look for it.  Have faith.  You will be tested to see if you will forget the Lord.  Keep praying.  You will find the answer.”
            She used to climb tall trees with her bare feet and hands with a big bolo on her hand to cut them down.  Then she burned them into charcoal which we sold in the market place in Sta. Cruz.
            We laid the charcoal with the banana leaves, santol, mangos, bananas, etc,. on  the ground.  It was so hot.  Sometimes we could not sell them until very late in the afternoon. 
            Since the people knew that we did not want to take them back home, and we need the money to buy some rice, they haggle for a cheaper price than they are worth.
            My mother took me to church every Sunday.  After Church we went to a store in front of the church to buy  rice cakes.
            The lady selling them put a little dab of butter, I thought it was the best thing in the world.  I just wished that she put just a little bit  more.
            The masses were in Latin. The only thing I saw was the back of the priest who said the mass looking at the altar in front of us.
            The choir sang on an elevated stage on back of us.
            I did not understand a single word the priest prayed in Latin.  I doubt that my mother understood either. But since she knew she was praying to God, she prayed them solemnly as if she knew what she was talking about.
            My mother prepared for this Sunday Mass as a very special occasion. She ironed her clothes and  saya, (gown)  which is a gown with sirol, big blown up sleeves.
            The barrio people called her Agila meaning eagle, because she dressed up as if she is the prettiest person in the world.
            During Christmas, my mother and I used to walk late at night to attend the midnight mass in Sta. Cruz.  We walked together in the dark.  The road was dirt road outlined by huge acacia trees.
            When we passed by Dau, where I was told many Filipinos were burried during the Japanese occupation, I was very scared.   The place was marked by a huge rock in the middle of the ricefield, surrounded by old, thick bamboos and acacia trees.
            Every night, my mother led our family to pray the Holy Rosary on our knees together.
I still remember very clearly the statue of Jesus Christ sitting on His throne that we prayed at.  Oftentimes when I woke  up, my mother was already in the chapel praying.
            One day, I woke up with a bloody nose, and I spat apple size clotted blood.
            My brother Toti gave me  a ride on the back of a carabao.  I do not remember how I got to the Second Station Army Hospital where my brother in law Theogenes Ragos was stationed as a soldier.
            The only thing I remember was that I woke up, and my mother gave me a pretty white dress with pink flowers to wear.
            She pawned her gold necklace to buy me the dress, because the dress that I was wearing must have been soaked in blood.
            I was told that I was given 24 hours to live.  Somehow, with God’s grace I did not die.
            I remember my mother carrying a metal tray to get my food  ration. That was a hospital for soldiers.  I was not supposed to be treated there because I am not a soldier, but the doctors did not turn me away.  They saved my life.
            I wish I know the names of the military doctors who saved my life.
            I was told that the bleeding was a delayed result of my falling off the window when I was young.  That was when I broke my neck.
            My Aunt Sidra cured my neck with the malatinta grass that she saw a snake feed another  snake that was beaten by a farmer.
            After the dying  snake swallowed the grass, it slithered back to the grove with the other snake who gave it the  malatinta (just like ink)  to cure its broken bones caused by the farmer who hacket it with a stick.