TONY FLORIDO, A GOOD FRIEND
I just felt that writing something about my friends could fill up some time even if they are miles away and having grand and fulfilled days with their family.
A friend was worth recalling.
In 1994, that was a good two decades ago, a private company sent someone to assist me in my travels. He was Tony Florido, a professional tour guide, driver extraordinaire, a loyal companion, an expert escort and a good conversationalist. He stayed with me throughout the period of my regular travels and in the course of our interaction, he easily became my confidant. It was not surprising that when I was about to fulfill my final professional exposure after years in the bureaucracy, he would resign in his company just to join and volunteer his services to me as a final gesture of allegiance.
It was not the retirement period which was remarkable though, it was all the time when we were out in the field and hustling that was very memorable; the period of sharing ideas, thoughts and daring-do.
He was already there when my kids were just learning to walk and in retirement, my kids were already having their own kids already. That was how long our affiliation was. It was a lasting friendship we had known and we never had any moment of disagreement. We simply liked the good life, the adventures (and misadventures), the choices of trips, the people we loved to interact with, the sumptuous food.
I was an open book to Tony and he would simply note. He also knew who my friends and enemies were. Well, there were only a few foes and they were all worth ignoring. He would rather focus on the list of friends we would check once in a while. And well, there were lots of them.
Tony knew whom I got most of my amusement. I think he also had a grand day having a good laughter every time we get engaged with them. He knew who were the analysts, the opportunists, the freebooters, the buccaneers, the swashbucklers, the speculators. My friends were a mixture of characters, a concoction of personas, an assortment of guises and personalities. All of them were great in their respective ways. There were the ultra loyalists and the acquaintance. He was drawn with my loyal following but of course he was also very careful with new faces.
We would also share the dark side of our thoughts. He was simply cautious because he knew me as a powerful officer in an organization but at times he would also be that unrestrained knowing that he was also dealing with a tolerant personality who was bold and daring given a flagrant situation. I was also guarded whenever I would offer extreme solutions to a problem he would share knowing that he has brother who is a man of the cloth. Bonifacio’s Katipunan was cracked from the confessionals of the Church.
Tony loved and rejoiced the endeavors of his children. He was their number one cheerleader. There was no day during our travels when he would forget mentioning his children. He was proud of his family. He was a doting father, a dutiful husband, a skilled guide and an obliging neighbor.
When I retired, although my buddy retired earlier, and as we parted ways, he was a picture of triumph. Much as we try to reminisce and thrive on thoughts of continuing our adventurous travels in the future, time had declared our knees and breath too challenged to take on tests that demands athleticism.
Today, Tony is an accomplished father and a caring grandfather who ply Singapore regularly to visit his children and graciously stretch out in his Tagaytay rest house. For a man with humble beginnings and years of struggles, his senior years have already been defined in an exquisite and fulfilled manner.
It was a fitting salutation for one, who lived with honesty and righteousness, taking a glimpse of a good life previously and in the final count; himself would enjoy its perks with his own family on their own.