Father – an inspiration forever and ever

Posted by watchmen
June 17, 2017
Posted in OPINION

Tatay is the operative word—whenever, wherever, whatever—in all occasions. Simplicio Cordova Carreon, Sr. was Tatay to us seven siblings as much as Cristeta Rivera-Carreon was Nanay to us. Tatay and Nanay spoken in crisp Ilonggo.
At age 90, Tatay (January 9, 1903-October 25, 1993) exited to Shakespeare’s “undiscovered country where no traveler returns.” A life well-lived, friends and neighbors like to say—so much so that he became an inspiration, not only to us his children, but to the barangay folks, as well.
On Father’s Day, celebrated every third Sunday of June—June 18 this year—I ask for your kind indulgence, dear reader, in sharing with me sweet reminiscence of my father. He was the youngest and the only son in the family. He left their inherited farm lots to his sisters for them to go about the planting and harvesting. He never wanted to stay put as a farmer.
Tatay’s adventurous spirit in high gear, he was charmed by opportunities in then oh-so-distant Manila. Thus it was with two other courageous barangay mates from our native San Antonio, Oton. They immersed themselves working odds and ends—earning a living and making firm steps upward in the educational ladder. Grim determination bore fruit: Manuel Roa became a lawyer, later a judge. The other, Leoncio Peregil, was a competent faculty member of Oton High School. Tatay, on the other hand, rose to become high school principal, much later, Oton Municipal Mayor. What else could we say, but congrats for the trio’s enviable strides in life.
I always contend that the potent influence in an individual’s life comes from the persons closest to his/her heart, agree or disagree. Thus, it was with my own Tatay and Nanay. As I’ve written earlier, Nanay was compassion-incarnate. Her kindness I still have to equal. From Tatay, I learned to see the bright side of life. Trials and tribulations? Get over them! You are stronger than you think, he used to tell us. His infectious optimism is reflected in my write-ups. His legacy of speaking truth to power has put me in good stead as a media person. The edict: Speak the truth be ye in front of a slave or a king. Guiding me is this snippet from my previous article:
“Father wished for me to throw in nuggets of wisdom in things I write. What father meant was to abide by the dictates of conscience in putting words into print. Henceforth, in my own small way, make a difference through writing — onward a one-way street without crooked detours, and always for the uplift of mankind.”
Throwback when Tatay was mayor of Oton for twelve years. Indulge me with these excerpts:
“Yes, he was re-elected twice. Newly elected government officials may take his daring for making a lot of enemies in his first term of office. He uprooted the houses squatting at the back of the Oton Municipal Building, a wide area where now sit the Multi-purpose Gymnasium, the Puericulture Center, the Senior Citizens Bldg., a series of shops, and a parking lot for trisikads, tricycles, jeeps, etc. It was a to-hell-with-all-comers attitude for as long as he had the public good in mind.”
I find this a significant conclusion in the life story of my father: “A [funeral] Mass was officiated by Fr. Ronnie Carreon, his grandson, who said in his homily that Tatay was a poor town official and died a poor town official. The audience understood the truth behind his statement.” He had his share of human foibles, but those I leave to the public for comments — pro or con.
Across the Great Divide, father remains a beckon of hope to us his children and our children’s children: an inspiration forever and ever.
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Julia Carreon-Lagoc was a columnist of PANAY NEWS for two decades. She pops up with Accents now and then. (juliaclagoc@yahoo.com)

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