Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Days

Born, raised and probably get much younger every passing day on this Island called Seipel (that's Saipan for those who don't really know much Carolingual). I was not hatched yesterday but I can tell a few things about the other day and the days before that.

I'm originally from Chalan Kanoa (C.K.) 4 where I grew to love the "ration" days. The more population in a single family, the more truck load of goods you'll get-sometimes two. That was no problem for any of us within the area because we were all family and boy-when those days come, my cousins and I hit them hard like ration junkies.

My late grandma Leighamaal loves fishing. She would go with others (rest their souls) like nana Ketta, Ellen Muscle, nana Delores Tanga and nana Kamin-just to name a few. Their favorite fishing spot is located at the northern Sea Plane ramp in Lower Base situated behind the present power plant. Armed with a slim 15-20 feet Japanese bamboo pole, tabi and a homemade fish box (made out of a mesh screen) and kept afloat by empty plastic Clorox bottles, one on each of the four sides, the fish are kept alive until they return to the beach where the fire would proudly be blazing for some good bar-b-qued fresh fish. My uncle Ray's "Tiger" favorite part. There's always pa-lenty fish for the family.

And if they're not out fishing with their bamboo fishing poles, Nana would always call on me and my older cousin Patricio (Pat) to be her "two-not so mean paddling machine" for her wooden boat. Both Pat and my paddling output don't even come close to equal an 8 horse power outboard motor but my late uncle Saturnino's boat was equipped with a 20 HP Johnson motor. His boat was much bigger and he'd team up with his loving wife (aunt Innes), his late cousin (uncle Tito) and his loving wife too (nana Merr Wa-ke). They'd sometimes toll us in nana's boat to Garapan before they go their separate ways, we'll fish the whole night (Friday) until the next morning when we'll finally get back to the beach in C.K. 4. We didn't have coolers back then so we just kept our catches under the wooden floor boards in the boat where water always seemed to find it's way to settle. By the time we reach the beach and had the boats along side each other, the flopping of our catch from underneath the boards would always get my two uncles attention followed by their shouts of "diabang, diabang" thinking they had the best catch but upon approaching Nana's boat, the agony of defeat settles in them. Not only did we had more catch, we had bigger fish than they did. Their excuse for not having a better catch is always followed by another excuse. Sorry Pops and thank you Nana for the fishing lessons and the few tricks I now have up my sleeves.

A couple of years later, I'm paddling up my Stingray bike to Oleai almost every weekend via Texas Road. My cousin's John and Stanley is all the reason (not) why I always landed in Oleai. We'd go shoot some hoops at the San Jose Church basket court (that's if the Ol' Aces are not practicing) or we would be gathering fire wood as our homes were not equipped with either electric or gas stoves in those days. Uncle Pete "M-Boat" is a BIG and I mean B-I-G, not only big as in tall but also big all around ways. It is from him that we learned a little about cars and it's mechanisim. He would wake John and I early in the morning to check the car battery fluid, radiator and brake fluid, all the basic hands on and this is something routine for John. If uncle Pete's truck had other problems that he thinks it can be fixed, John and I are it but he coaches us in what to do to fix the problem. Thank you Tata Peteru for taking me on my very first trip to the Northern Islands. It was quite an experience.

Saipan is my home. I've traveled to other places and whenever I do, I'm always homesick and thinking what friends and families would be doing. The longest I've been away from home was three years. That may not be long for some but it was for me. A month away from home is long enough that anticipation starts setting in on me and the sight of home is always a relief. Having arrived home from one of these short trips, I was admiring my wife's collection of flowers. Although I had been away only for a couple of weeks, I thought the flowers had grown much, heck, I thought our puppy "Judge" had grown too-I just had to pet it. No wonder why everybody's saying "there's no place like home".


A dot on the globe surrounded by water where it's always summer and populated by a mixture of different but friendly nationalities. An island mostly covered by green with an array of brilliant speckles here and there. Speckles of hand waves and different tongues that greet you daily with a warm Hafa Dai, Olomwaay, Obo-saiyo, Ni-hao and others I still need to master. Diba?

1 comment:

Gus said...

Definately no place like home. I hear that a lot form the sibs who were born and raised on Agrigan and Pagan. I was almost four when the fam got evacuated to Saipan. I recall freedom and peace back then.

Thanks for sharing your story, Bwiibw. ; )