Sunday, December 14, 2014

When cousins are friends

Cousin Henry with his retired man's pouch lends an ear to a niece.

To keep my sanity during this season's frenzy, I try to be selective about with whom to spend my time, with whom socializing isn't a strain (that is, I can be myself, especially where LOLs are concerned--hearty and uninhibited and damn Emily Post).

Every year, that's my December resolution, and so far I've managed to apply this with, I'm proud to say, some stick-to-it-tiveness. I've junked the Aunty Social stance--life's too short and too grand to be a grouchy hermit. The friends who I've managed to keep in the autumn of my life are way too precious for me to just email a Christmas letter to. If they're around and they'd appreciate my company, of course, I will run at the first summons. The same with family members who make up my first friends in life.

When balikbayan cousin Henry Romero (his nickname is also spelled Enri) called for a luncheon clan reunion, the turnout was good, although Baguio duties kept me away. Wala bang Take 2? Well, there was one open Saturday for a hurriedly organized reunion of absentees from that earlier reunion. Unless someone offers to host everything, the reunions of the Lolarga, Romero and Valdellon families are potluck affairs with no consultation, no declaration of what pot contents we will bring.

So we welcomed Henry again with homemade spaghetti, store-bought suman and sapin-sapin, siopao and siomai, ensaymada and oranges. Henry wolfed down two siopaos and half-laughingly told of how he brought his son Dino, who's returning to LA, on a nostalgic trip to Ma Mon Luk only for the younger man to complain that the food tasted like rags. I guess it's a generation thing.

It was good to see Henry talking, listening, giving advice, hoping aloud for another reunion even if it's 10 years down the road and our generation by then will be hard of hearing and of walking. He was natural in the role of family elder.

Meanwhile, we're grateful just to be together for a few hours with a December moon hovering over the snug condo where our niece Regina May de los Reyes had just moved in.

Blogging relative, Dino and Henry Romero, Regina May de los Reyes and Yonni Habulan

Gathered 'round the kitchen-cum-dining table with cousin Eileen Lolarga (third from left) and Yonni's fiance Lady (to Regina's right)

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