I told Papa Bernie I believe that, if you are a good person, with a good soul, who speaks and acts with their spirit, then to you will come those who also share their beautiful spirit with the world.
When you meet, you then understand that you love each other, and neither of you, at least for that moment, really has to worry because you found each other. Papa Bernie had one missing leg, replaced by a prosthetic, dressed with a pair of dingy cream-colored corduroy that were once white. He drove a van with a modified clutch and he spoke of a girlfriend he once had in Ireland that he thought he might have married. He once was in the business of merchandising that brought him to Dublin, Ireland, and Guam. He showed me an old U.S. social security card made of steel, embossed with gold that had his name nearly scratched off.
This beautiful, dirty, old man told me that when he shares his stories with other people, they think he is crazy. That an aged, stinky, bald man like him could have never gone to such places. It’s like the times when I meet a stranger, or tell a story to someone I’ve known my whole life of what I’ve done, and they do, but don’t believe me.
One day I’ll be Mama Bernadette, and be rambling about adventures that my own grand child just cannot believe. I sat right next to Papa Bernie on the two-hour van journey between Batangas and Tagaytay, wedged in the middle of him and Tita J who was also elderly, wise, and prioritized. At her stop, she took my comfortable, story time VIP seat in front. Between them must have been 120 years of life I can only imagine to live.
As much as they’ve seen, and as much wisdom they have gathered after 60+ years, they wanted to know my story…which then became our story after the van ride. It was an honor.
© 2012 Bernadette Lynn Ignacio