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Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako A Different Christmas Story: A Kindness that Became a "Little Moment of Joy"
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Thursday, 23 December 2010 18:02

 

By Jesse Jose

A Cup O' Kapeng Barako

 

Pasko na!

 

Those words fill me with gladness. Because to me that means joy and happiness and the laughter of children ... and sharing all those happy, joyful things with family and good friends.

 

It's a Christmas Tree, twinkling lights and of gift-giving ... and about those long-lost friends who surface once a year with their Christmas cards greeting us, Merry Christmas. 

 

It's the Midnight Mass and the Simbang Gabi, and greeting each other "peace be with you" in church. It's the noche buena, the mano po, ninong, mano po ninang ... and the lull in fighting between enemies. 

 

It's the arrival of the "good news" ... and  peace and goodwill to all men.  To me, that is PASKO.

 

"... For behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For today in the city of David a Savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

                             "Glory to God in the highest

                             "And on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests."—Luke 2:1-4

 

Yes! Christ is the REASON for the season. I believe that with all my heart. I also believe that Christmas is about kindness ...

 

What follows is a story about kindness that was sent to me by a good friend Gerry that I wish to share with all my earthling-and-cyberspace friends, and that includes Don Azarias of Chicago, too. (Pare, pasko na, 'wag ka nang magalit). 

 

A nd, of course also, with all of you, my Dear Readers. Get your Kleenex or your hankies out, for Christmas can be sad, too, for some. This was written by a cab driver who preferred to remain anonymous and was titled "The Cab Ride (the Day Before Christmas)."  Enjoy: 

 

QUOTE.

I arrived at the address and honked the horn.


After waiting a few minutes, I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman who was probably in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

 

She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing," I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued in a soft voice. "The doctor says I don't have very long to live." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

"What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As sunset was soon coming, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said. “Merry Christmas.”

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you. And have a Merry Christmas, too."

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the fading afternoon light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life . . .

UNQUOTE.

PS: And that to me is the heart of Christmas: the KINDNESS that that cab driver has shown to that dying old woman. A kindness that became a "little moment of joy" for that old woman. Joy to the world, the Lord hath come. Pasko naJJ

 

 



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Last Updated on Thursday, 23 December 2010 19:28
 
Comments (4)
1 Monday, 27 December 2010 20:08
Hi Jesse,

Beautiful article - thank you for sharing. 'MALIGAYANG PASKO!"

Sister Grace Marie
Carmelites Monastery
Shoreline, WA
2 Monday, 27 December 2010 20:10
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Congratulations! A touching story.

Yeah, You're right, Christmas is a not only a story of kindness but of LOVE.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tessie Navarro
Vancouver, Canada
3 Monday, 27 December 2010 20:14
Sent: Fri, Dec 24, 2010 10:31 pm
Subject: RE: Kapeng Barako story: A Different Christmas Story: a Story of Kindness


Jesse,

I really enjoyed your recent column. It spoke from the heart. Thanks for using the story of kindness I sent you. It still brings a tear to my eyes when I read it.

My thoughts of Christmas is to thank all those who have helped me throughout the year. You, my friend, are at the top of that list. You have shared so much with me and have allowed me to express my sentiments on many issues that I feel passionate about. You are a very good friend. But I also believe Christmas is about giving to others as our Lord has given to us. Christmas should be remembered that Christ came to earth, born of mortal flesh to save us all from our sins. We, in turn, should share some of that love for those who have less, who often don't even have enough money to put food on the Christmas table for their families. I believe we should all do what we can to help those who need it, as Lord has done for us.

Christmas is also a time to remember our families, and the blessings family brings - love, kindness, sharing and the need to have these feelings returned. It is also the time we share with our friends and other loved ones and remember all those who have given a little bit of themselves to help enrich our lives in ways we would not know if they weren't in our lives.

Life is so short. It is very easy to forget our blessings, especially during the hustle and bustle of daily life. We often don't think about all the blessings that we have been give by our Heavenly Father. This time of year brings all of that out. It is a time to remember our Saviors birth, the reason for his coming and be thankful for all that we have.

And while I talking about gratitude, let me say just how thankful I am for you. This year you have been especially gracious with your time and attention. You and Maribel have remembered me and my family with your warm thoughts and prayers, and for that I will never be able to say thank you enough. But I promise I'Il try.

May God bless you always, and I wish for you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Your friend, always,

Gerry Garrison
Auburn, WA

Life is short. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.
Hello Gerry, my dearest friend,

I was touched by your comment on my Christmas story. It was so beautiful and splendidly-written and so personal that it took my breadth away. It was a gift, my friend, a Christmas gift that I'll cherish forever. Thank you so much for your friendship and for your kind, embracing words.

Jesse

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