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"…with his little mandolin and a twinkle in his eyes…"

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Mar 2008
The Smell of Burning Dry Leaves
Posted in Uncategorized by Tita Becky at 7:16 am | Comments Off on The Smell of Burning Dry Leaves

A neighbour started a bonfire to burn the raked dry leaves in her yard, and the smoke came in through our open windows… and a soft-spoken, elderly neighbour came to my mind…

The gentle smell of the smoke reminded me of this one incident (I was a very small girl back then) when my father, who was always tidying up around the house, was burning dry leaves in that part of our yard that’s near the fence and the aratiles tree, and he was painstakingly fanning the smoke so it’d go into our house. Our elderly neighbour, in his usual leisurely and calm stride, came nearer to the fence and said a mild “hello” to him. and he said “‘oi!” back. And this neighbour said, “Pumapasok sa bahay ang usok,” (translated: “the smoke is getting into the house,” probably referring to THEIR house, too). And my father answered, “Oo nga, pinapapasok ko talaga sa bahay para lumabas ang mga lamok!” (translated: “Yes, I am really trying to get the smoke into the house so the mosquitoes would come out!”). And our neighbour, still softly and always careful not to offend, said, “Paano makalalabas ang mga lamok diyan, e me screen ang buong bahay n’yo?” (translated: “how could the mosquitoes come out, when your house has mosquito screen all around it?”)

My father laughed softly but did not answer; then he gingerly inched back into our house, and summoned my brother to take a pail of water and put out the bonfire he’s made…


Amazing how a simple smell of burning dry leaves could bring back deep-seated memories…

Tomorrow, 21 March 2008, is my father’s 94th birthday. Though he’s passed on three years ago, fond memories of him still flood my consciousness.

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