THE DAY MY FATHER RETIRED FROM GOVERNMENT SERVICE
It was my father’s 65th birthday and it was in the mid-80s.
There was celebration and some kind of reunion for all members of the clan. Mother was the busiest that day engaging visitors and family members as well. It was the culmination of a lifelong career in the bureaucracy and there was father bowing out with flying colors. It was the retirement day of my father. It was memorable for my parents having completed their duties and responsibilities not only for their dream of reaching the apex of their professional calling but also a swan song for their children.
In the afternoon, it was a period devoted between my father and me. I was stronger now than my father. Years had sapped his energy and it was my time to take the reign. From that time on I vowed not only to protect them but assist in my humble way their sustenance.
But my father, ever proud, a self made man, merely nodded. He knew he had more years and retirement notwithstanding, he intended to proceed with his faculty role in the academe and accept more teaching loads.
I implored “Tatay, you must relax already since you have spent a great deal of time earning for our upkeep. It is time to slow down, pamper your garden if not persuade Nanay to see the world instead!”
My father‘s eyebrows rose and nearly screamed, “What???!!! You mean to say I will have to spend my retirement gratuities just like that? No way. We will have to budget it and maintain it for purposes of emergency. No one knows when it would happen. We do not wish to be dependent on you in this regard. No, we will just keep it.”
My father showed me his bank book and the first tranche of his retirement benefit printed in the amount of P110K. He deposited it at Manila Bank. At that time, the peso was I think 5 to a dollar. Hence, the amount was fairly big enough. “This will be my insurance basket just in case,” said father.
My father was a picture of confidence but not for long.
Three months later, he summoned me to our house. “Ven, I think, you were right,” my father lamented. He continued, “Who would have thought and anticipated that Manila Bank, founded by Puyat family, a prominent political family, would experience a bank holiday! My retirement benefits were all tied in there and worst, PDIC can only give P25K as insurance backflow. Now, here is my bank book and work to get the f*#@king 25K and use it for whatever you could make out of it.”
There was sadness on father’s face but I tried to lighten up his day. “Don’t worry Tay, give me 3 f*#@king months within which to recover your money. But promise me to use it for your personal satisfaction.” Tatay knew that I was only trying to prep him up but obliged by giving me a snappy salute.
I went to the bank and filled up forms to retrieve the insured P25K. After a couple of days, I had the amount already. I immediately scouted for a second hand car, procured it at P15K, spent 5k for repair and repainting job and sold it for 40K. With that amount, I bought another car at 20K and loaded it with 5k worth of accessories then sold it for 50k. Thereupon. I haggled for another car at 20K poured in 10 for accessories and sold it for 80K. And finally, I acquired a bargain, a car worth 15K and sold it at 60K. In all, I was able to regain the full amount of P115K.
When I visited my father after a quarter, he was in his garden and as usual, having a tutorial class. He was teaching Nihongo during weekends. That was his hobby and means of earning extra dough.
I greeted my father and handed over to him an envelope with the amount P115K. “Tay, I finally recovered your retirement savings with interest” I proudly proclaimed.
Father was unimpressed. He merely took my greetings as my usual antic. But when he opened the envelope, his eyes widened. He counted the bills and smiled at me. He admonished me, “Of course, you produced this without hurting anyone?”
“Of course!” I answered. “I was a buy-and-sell merchant for a while until I succeeded in producing the amount.”
“Well, then…” my father paused and handed back the envelope to me. “Use this money and start your own business.”
“Of course not!” I pleaded. “I am not a businessman. I am in government and my line is public service. I merely wanted to prove that I can recover anything as long as I put my heart into it. Now, use it along with Nanay and travel, enjoy your retirement and I will take care of the rest.“
My father bought himself a gold necklace and a matching gold anklet for himself. He likewise gave mother a gold earring and diamond tiara.
They were a happy couple and they were gleaming in every party they attended. They would even wear their precious trinkets at home as if they were anticipating a grand event. In short, they were a picture of accomplishment, a majestic portrait of a decorated couple.
A month later, their gems got lost.
Again, my father sent me a word that their jewelries were gone.
I responded to my father with a message “Oh, well, don’t worry Tay ; at least, you enjoyed it.”