Daddy Dearest

For Arthur F. Suguitan

 Arthur F. Suguitan and Lisa Suguitan Melnick (Photo courtesy of Lisa Suguitan Melnick)

Arthur F. Suguitan and Lisa Suguitan Melnick (Photo courtesy of Lisa Suguitan Melnick)

Hey Dad,

Remember when we moved to a corner apartment on Belmar Avenue in Daly City? You, Jimmy and I nicknamed it “Belly” and this helped make the place feel a little bit cozier during an otherwise sad period in our lives, we, having lost our mom, and you, your wife.

Your home cooking—Dad’s meals – fortified my spirit, cheered me up because I got to experience the soft and nurturing side of a strong and strict dad—the breadwinner. What was my favorite meal? The recipe which began with the red and white box of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti with Meat Sauce finished off with your “secret ingredient.” No, I’ll never give it away.

Just a few years ago, you revealed to me that by the time I was fifteen, you knew I was ready to make it in the world on my own. I remember the day: we were driving along Ralston Avenue back to my home.

You told me you recognized my sense of independence, a little bit of a loner, self-sufficient, independent.

Your wisdom, understanding, and words make my heart sing and, like your cooking, still and always, fortify my spirit.

I love singing with you. Remember this one? You taught it to me when I was around three or four years old:

I’m looking over a four-leaf clover
That I’ve overlooked before
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
Third are the roses that bloom in the lane
No need explaining the one remaining
Is somebody I adore
I’m looking over a four-leaf clover
That I’ve overlooked before.

I love you. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

- Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Moss Beach, CA

For Mariano F. Manguerra, Sr.

 Mariano F. Manguerra, Sr. and his daughters (Photo courtesy of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard)

Mariano F. Manguerra, Sr. and his daughters (Photo courtesy of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard)

Hi Papa,

I want you to know that I turned out all right! When you died, I was only nine, so you had no idea what I'd turn out to be. I was your youngest child who was always daydreaming and who liked to read. As things turned out, I ended up a writer.

Thanks for taking care of me and my siblings; thanks for driving and picking us up from school; thanks for the afternoon rides to the pier and for those Cokes and M&M's during those paseos; thanks for taking us to holidays in Manila, Baguio, and Negros; thanks for sitting down with us and reviewing our homework.

Papa, you would have been amused to know that one of my sons is a civil engineer like you; and another son looks a lot like you.
 

- Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Santa Monica, CA

For Gualberto S. Besa

 Gualberto S. Besa and Elizabeth Ann Quirino (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Gualberto S. Besa and Elizabeth Ann Quirino (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Dear Dad,

I miss your wisdom. You always knew how to give the best advice. Everything you predicted about my life happened to me the way you said it would. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you then.

I miss your kindness and generosity. You helped everyone and gave back generously to us, your family, friends, employees, even strangers. You gave unconditionally without asking for anything in return.

I miss your sensible, healthy ways. You exercised daily, twice a day and shame on me for having to drag myself to get to the gym regularly. You ate healthy from all the vegetables, crops and fruit you grew yourself. You were the pioneer in “farm to fork” even before it became the buzzword it is now.

I never thanked you enough. And I wish I told you more often how I loved you. You live on in every prayer I say, every thought I have, everything I do for my family.

- Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino, Flanders, NJ