My lolo looked very old. He was baldheaded, wrinkled, and bent. I asked one time how old he was and Mother said he is 60 and is “reservado,” one who does not work and need not pay any tax because of old age.
Lolo smoked a lot, chewed “buyo” and was fond of drinking “basi” or sugar cane wine. His eyes were dull, his ears were deaf, and he coughed a lot, with lots of phlegm he spat out of the window and which got draped on the outer wall of our house as it dried up.
He cussed a lot, too, saying: “ANAK TI DIABLO” (SON OF A DEVIL) when he was mad or confused.
Whenever he lighted his cigar or hand-rolled tobacco, he used a flint stone (red stone) which he struck with a piece of steel to cause sparks to fly into a small cotton ball that turned into an ember that he stuck to his cigar to let it burn by constant puffing and blowing.
Whenever he wanted to chew buyo, he crushed the betel nut with a stone mortar, then applied it inside an areca leaf which he powdered with lime. Soon his saliva became red as blood.
When he was not yet very old and disabled I saw him spinning thread out of raw cotton to weave fish nets for fishing. He also was constantly engaged in weaving fish nets while conversing or resting. He used the net for fishing in the Abra River during dry season. On rainy days or wet season, starting May, for six months, he was farming by planting rice or vegetables in his farm.
I saw Lola Isia weaving with her loom some blankets or clothing material. She would beat the cotton flowers with two long sticks to remove their seeds and then turn the cotton bolls into thread with her bamboo wooden spinning machine. She then placed the thread into a spindle and a shuttle to run between the threads in the loom as she pushed each thread together with the loom’s swinging boom.
My grandparents were always busy doing something with their hands until they grew too old to work or too weak to do anything.
Grandma became blind before she died. Grandpa was sick of PTB and suffered from hardship in moving his bowel.
Whenever Father or Mother tried to punish me and my brother for fighting very often, Lolo would come to screen us from the whip, at the same time cursing our parents for beating us small kids.
I was less than ten when Lolo died. May their souls rest in peace.