Saturday, May 3, 2008

Falling Asleep at Mass

Originally posted Sep 19, 2005

So, anyway, we went to Mass, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. This parish church looked amazing: it was a cathedral, almost a Basilica in its guilded reliefs and grandeur. Of course, since we are a bit away from the hubbub of Metro Manila, the Mass was entirely in Tagalog. Entirely. (Usually, at Marikina, the readings are in English and the order of the Mass: the Sanctus, the Lord's Prayer, the Homily are in Tagalog, so I can follow along well enough.) Our choir director came to the Philippines when his daughter's family came here on, um, business. He later complained to us that all the choirs here sing to the heartbeat: bump-bump, bump-bump goes the bass drum in every synthesizer of every choir he heard. Not so with this choir! They alternately chanted the Tagalog verses and then sang beautifully layered harmonies. It looked like there were eight members; the soloists sang wonderfully on their own, but also blended in with the other singers nicely.

The highlights of the mass where two full-on meltdowns by Isabel (she dropped her sunglasses on both occasions and could not be pried away from the floor) requiring that I take her outside into the sudden torrential downpour (that suddenly ceased as I walked outside carrying her) and my ability to jerk myself awake, three times, from a standing position. Those 5 pm Masses, after being awake since 2:30 am, are killers, I tell ya!

It's funny, as soon as I stepped outside, carrying the li'l tyke, she instantly stopped wailing to check out the neat surroundings. She became a sweet little baby again, looking out curiously from my arm to see the surrounding shops and houses, but she was especially attracted to the pair of Patriarchs guarding the entrance to the Church. On the right stood St. Peter in a green robe and gold cloth holding a pair of keys and on the left stood St. Paul in a grey robe and red cloth. I would point out features of each saint, and we would stand and admire the saint for a moment. Isabel would then shyly point toward the other saint, so then we would walk over to admire and observe. This cycle repeated quite a few times: Isabel also became interested in removing the rain water from the palms planted in front of the saints. As soon as she saw her mama pass by the entrance (returning from assisting Elena Marie, who needed to excuse herself for a moment), the game was up.

Good thing, too: she weighs in at 30 lbs now!

After Mass, the priest remained in the center aisle to dispense blessings. Diane's parents, who are not Catholic, shook his hand, instead of "mano"ing [bowing one's forehead to the back of the hand]. This surprised him. Then he saw me and Omar, who was wearing a "NYPD" dark blue shirt ... I think today was an unusual day for this priest.

We all then rushed out, back into the rain, to pile into our van. Isabel, being tired, began crying, so we formed a hasty plan: Elena Marie would go with Anda and Pap"U" to the pancake house for breakfast ("HOORAY!" Elena Marie is not one to turn down a pancake house invitation), and I would "guard" Isabel when Diane put her to bed. Not quite sure how well I "guarded" Isabel, because I was out before she was.

And then I woke up "this morning" to practice Kenjutsu, but, this time, the staff were used to my early morning ways (actually, I showed up at dawn, around 5:30 am, trying first to return to sleep), so, instead of panicking or keeping a very safe mental distance from me, they sat back and enjoyed the show. I always knew that 20 years of practicing swinging around a stick would turn out useful somehow.

'til next time (oh, by the way, our server's name at Pizza Hut (I was vetoed for McDo) was "Maui").

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