Treasured sunglasses part of image

Eric Ariel Salas

Eric Ariel Salas

Several things in this world are visually inseparable. For instance, try to picture Joseph Stalin without his signature moustache. Or Elvis without his long sideburns. Try imagining U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice without her distinct hairstyle and “Bad Day” singer Daniel Powter sans his hat. Or, try this one, our very own University Pres. David Chicoine minus his moustache. I bet you cannot.

Same thing when I think of my grandfather. I just cannot visualize him without his pair of sunglasses. It is like a made-for-each-other sort of love affair. Where one is, there goes the other.

Lolo Nayong (Grandpa Nayong) as I tenderly call him, kids almost always about his dark sunglasses being made extraordinarily sturdy to resist the toughest of storms, solid enough to stay screwed on during a ten-story free fall, and above all, crafted to suit his well-defined facial features. Of course, he would laugh afterwards.

My Grandpa, already in his early 90s, no doubt, is the coolest Lolo of all. Who would believe that even in his age right now he can still ride his motorbike with the ease of an expert? Speeding off like a pro car racer, he could smoothly dodge potholes, cruise dirt roads and swing dangerous curves, to the amazement of barrio folks. He might adore his bike but not more than his sunglasses.

As an avid aficionado of his sunglasses, Lolo abhors substitutes of the sort of fad being flaunted right now. In clinging to his very own prized possession and fearlessly snubbing any substitute, he is comparable to those legendary lovers of yore whose devotion to their lady loves were unwavering. To this day, with his letter and picture I just received from home, my Grandpa has stayed true to his sunglasses.

In every visit to my hometown, I always made it a point to drop by Lolo’s abode just to be entertained with his sharing of the funny anecdotes of his life. He never failed to charm me with unending tales from how he managed to mesmerize Grandma’s elusive heart to how he convinced everyone that his 10 years older than Grandma was never an impediment to a happily-ever-after romance. He regularly told me how he exercised by playing tennis until he was 70 and helps cultivate his acres of rice fields even up to now.

I miss and love my Lolo so much. Not for the reason that he has a high regard for what I do. Not because he loves reading my articles to the last word. Nor because he is awesomely unique with his eyeglasses. Not also because he likes talking and writing to me in the English language and that he always insists I inherited his talents and skills. I love him simply for the reason that he brings sheer joy to the family, a true treasure himself with a comforting aura only his character could give.

Without saying, he would never miss to read this article once it gets printed from the online version. When I would see him again soon, he would probably smile big at me, most likely hug me tight and then tell me again and again how good I have turned out to be and how so good-looking I have developed into over the years. As always, I would only laugh silently and entertain the one logical yet amusing idea why I rather hope for Lolo to wear his treasured sunglasses often.