Mindanao Times » Icoy San Pedro http://mindanaotimes.net Mon, 01 Oct 2018 16:00:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 Honoring my Mother: Adapting to change http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-adapting-to-change/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-adapting-to-change/#comments Mon, 01 Oct 2018 16:00:29 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62650 Read more ›]]> It was in high school where I first heard the saying, “The only thing permanent is change.”

I never paid it any mind though, and simply brushed the idea aside with a sneering ‘Yeah yeah, every second that passes becomes the past, and each present moment is only as fleeting as the next, and so on.’ (Priest-teachers can really be boring, no?) Who thinks about these things in high school anyway?

In college, I heard the same saying again, this time from a friend, and I had thought, so what? What’s with everyone, do all these quotes come free inside chocnut wrappers? However, my reaction by then had somewhat graduated to a freezer-cold, “Of course, everyone knew that. Duh.” In all, for many years, I have maintained this so-what perspective, and even still asked, what was the fuzz really all about?

Then, I got old.

By then, the live-for-the-moment posturing of youth had long gone and moved on to sons and daughters, and you’re unceremoniously led to the lonely path where you’re constantly left reminiscing between what has transpired in your life and what the hell happened. The answer to that might as well be written on a sign at the path’s end, and it would read, CHANGES, in bold, and in all capital letters.

Throughout those early years, idealism, hormones, the sense of adventure, and the struggle to be understood and heard had been the most important things. Because of these, we’ve probably, more than once, taken for granted little decisions that may have seemed insignificant at the moment. Through time, these then slowly piled up unto each other and thus formed crucial markers that eventually influenced the direction leading to where we are now. All connected, whether we like it or else, these “little things” eventually defined what we are now.

Youth, with all its promises of a seemingly-endless journey and bountiful gifts of blinding energy, is actually a double-edged sword, if not handled skillfully. Yet, how were we supposed to know that? Truth is, a restless youth does not necessarily guarantee a restful old age. This is why listening to others harping about the good-old-days is such a trip because you know that literally, you are only what you put in, in the end.

So, how has this permanent whatchamacallit turned everything out for you?

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Honoring my Mother: A celebration of life http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-a-celebration-of-life/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-a-celebration-of-life/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2018 16:00:01 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62452 ]]> Attempts at remembering good times during moments of utmost sadness, like the sudden passing of a long-time friend, have got to be among the most difficult things to do. Even with a given, that sometimes emotions and tears may get in the way, all efforts at concentration are shot, as the feeling of disbelief interrupts you each time.

In the hospital room, the aura of death lingers like cheap perfume and the deathbed seems eerily out of focus. The voices of the people lingering about sound like coming from a deep well, as in the movies, and you whisper, “Think of good times, think of THE good times…” and it drones on like a mantra in your head.

These were my recollections of that fateful day when Eric, after a few days in
coma, finally passed away. Earlier, or close to three months, we had only seen each
other twice but never really talked. A disagreement in opinion over music had just
lingered somewhat to what our friends had fondly termed as common among two grumpy
old friends. Then, on a Sunday evening, I received a message from his wife Connie, that I should visit my blues buddy in the hospital because he had had a stroke, was in a coma, and that the prognosis was not good.

As I stood by his bedside the next day, memories, from our first concert together in the 70s, up till our Blues Lolos and Blues Drivers’ heydays, played back in my mind and in sadness thought, so this is the way we have to end, brother.

In the five days before he succumbed, I then witnessed quite a parade of our
friends, met his own set of friends from way back and rediscovered how we all loved to share our own little stories involving the rambling blues man who had been all over the world. There, in that stark, machine-filled impersonal room, we weaved old tales of his exploits, some unknown to me, until what emerged was a pure celebration of life, over adversity, over death. Sadly, we only hear about glorious things like these during darker times, but since he could still hear us, he must surely be smiling.

So go up that majestically lit stage in the sky one last time brother, and play your heart out. God is your audience now.

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Honoring My Mother: Snap you http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-snap-you/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-snap-you/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2018 01:51:15 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62242 ]]> If we were to judge the world by its hair-trigger reactions on social media, we might safely infer that, my oh my, this is such a touchy planet. Have-a-piece-of-my-mind is now the new normal and ‘I am, therefore I exist,’ has turned out to be more alive than ever. The voicing of opinions, in the internet, seems to have broken through the surface as, in just seconds, you could bear witness to hundreds of perspectives from so many different people all at once.

Not long ago, I commented on the results of a sports poll where a controversial basketball player was chosen as MVP. My expectations of healthy exchange from this innocent poke had immediately turned into a disturbing experience. A continuous stream of replies, ranged from a few agreeable likes to almost a hundred dissenting retorts, slowly began to flood my thread. What was surprising (and sad) were the vile and hateful messages that, in the first place, should never ever find their way to print. Like roaches out of the woodwork, they came unrelentingly and I thought, “who are these people?” and “why so much hate?” I likened the idea of comparing these newly-emboldened digital warriors to cowardly snipers who hide in the bushes, confident of their anonymity. Check it out yourself. Pick out any present topic of discourse from any page on social media and scan through the comments. You’ll see what I mean.

Alarmingly, bullying through the net these days has likewise turned rampant, particularly among students. The shocking thing is, this has yet to be given proper attention by the authorities. The phenomenon is being treated by many as common pains of growing up and as part of life, but studies however have shown that some student suicides are directly related to it, and yet the issue is still being swept under the rug

Alas, these point out that the proverbial pen, or the keyboard/keypad had now evolved from being just a tool for expression and communication, to becoming a weapon against one another. You could say that in this age, it (the pen) has truly become mightier than the sword.

With technology greatly improving communications, and thus enhancing our ability to express ourselves, the evolution of shortcut expressions, only hint at how adept we’ve become to modernity. Emoticons can now readily explain in one simple image what one generally feels at the moment (atm) and their usage has become as simple as Thanos’ finger snap. Acronyms such as “lol” (laughing out loud) and “smh” (shaking my head), simulate via the keyboard real-time responses, as though in actual face-to-face conversations. Now, there’s even news reports of thought transference-to-screen experiments that, while ridiculous to consider a few years back, are now possible and actually being tested and fine-tuned.

In spite all these that have brought about a voice and the sense of empowerment in everyone, almost always, the perception that “everybody’s talking all at once”, has become the more overpowering downside.

For that matter, one wonders, is anybody listening? The chatter is like hard rain falling and, to borrow from Dylan, it’s almost like, “the sound of a wave that could drown the whole world”.

While others may have slowly gone back to basics (like no-devices during family dinners, for example), the most common reaction is still that of total surrender to this “brave new world”. Go with the flow, Joe. Embrace and ride the wild tide of the future. Meanwhile, the writing on the wall remains unheeded, and I believe it should be addressed soon.

Quo vadis, human race?

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Honoring my Mother: Savoring Memories like fried chicken http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-savoring-memories-like-fried-chicken/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-savoring-memories-like-fried-chicken/#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2018 16:00:53 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61930 Read more ›]]> I was once told that the restaurant where my friend and I had dinner the other night was a local branch of one of the oldest restaurants in the country.

But of course, I already knew because, this long ago back in the 70s when I was still playing with a band in Manila, we used to frequent another of its branches near Malate and Roxas Boulevard, and ordered nothing but their famous fried chicken.

Truth be told, the distinct flavor of Savory’s had not changed a bit since I first tasted it. Because of this, our dinner slowly began to elicit memories of what I loved about Manila then, and looking at the framed pictures of that old city on the walls, naturally segued to realizing how much I have missed the old Davao too.

I remember my childhood as being wrapped around the taste of Mang Caloy Millete’s fried chicken down at Molave. It had the same peculiar flavor, look and taste as Savory’s, but this was proudly our own, and the thought continually played in my mind during the course of our meal.

Davao at that time wasn’t the busy metro it is now, and as you knew almost everybody then, the places to frequent and have a meal with your parents and fam were likewise well-visited and popular with any true-blue Davaeño of the time. If you wanted Halo-halo, there was the Three Sisters at San Pedro. The best ice cream could be had at Merco near the junction of Claveria and Uyanguren (still called Acacia because of the gigantic tree near the road). For Chinese fare, the whole area near Uyanguren was the ideal place. Also, walking distance from Apo View was the immortal Dencia’s, where Filipino, American and Chinese cuisine was always served hot. Luz Kinilaw was already at its birth throes, but visitors have begun to take heed. Lastly, for fried chicken, you simply headed on without a second choice and proceeded to Molave down Claveria.

Nowadays, if one just focused on this BFF (best fried fowl), things will surely take a turn from simple to complicated. With the number of styles at preparing fried chicken, as done by the same equal number of food establishments operating in the city, one might as well daringly try them all and declare himself as fried chicken connoisseur non-compare. Consider this; there’s spicy, greasy, crunchy, original (?), as well as medium-rare (with blood still in the bones) and of course, the super-dry and tasteless variety they peddle at the sidewalk and inside subdivision streets nowadays.

While some may say that it’s just nature taking its “course,” the sad truth is, the meals of my youth, to my utter distaste, have slowly been overrun by the unsavory and impersonal fast-food-fast-life world of today. Much like life. And love. Whatever.

May I have the bill please.

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Honoring My Mother: September means http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-september-means/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-september-means/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2018 01:44:30 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61657 ]]> Two songs prominently feature the month of September. One talks about seeing you when summer is gone, and the other, reminds you to wake up when the month ends.

Well, what do you know, it is that time of year again folkies, and just to be a tag official about it, let’s talk a bit about what makes this month “espeysial,” not only among songsters but ordinary people as well.

Here, most of us pinoys believe that, despite all the “kayod” (struggles) we face in life from the months of January up to August, come the first of September, things will slowly begin to take on a new (and more positive) turn somewhat.

For one, Christmas songs will begin their gradual takeover of the airwaves and every shopping mall’s house music. The establishments’ facades will likewise undergo slow transformation as the days roll on. In fact, SM, Abreeza and Gaisano have already begun installing Christmas lights on their walkways people! All these, unimportant as they may seem, lighten up our mental load somewhat with the thought that better times are definitely up ahead. For others with weathervane sixth sense, they will attest that come the first of September, the wind chill changes somehow, steadily bringing a brrr kind of breeze (thus Septembrrr, get it?).

Now, I have heard this many times before, that the Philippines is where the longest celebration of Christmas holidays is at. This may be true, although I have also heard that some cities in Asia have begun to do the same thing. Here, Christmas “starts” in September and ends in mid-January. Some skeptics primarily see this as a marketing and commercialized scheme, because the subject where they garnered 3.0, Finance 101, tells them that everyone spends more during Christmastime. However, while it is true that business takes advantage of this opportunity, it’s actually more than that.

As a people, we are many things. It could be that, for one, we always look forward to celebrating, and doing so with loved ones, family, and friends is the greatest passion ever for us Filipinos. Have you counted how many holidays we celebrate in a year? There’s fiestas, festivals, foundation days, heroes’ birth and death anniversaries or what have you, not to mention Holy Week and Muslim holidays.

Lastly, despite our general status as a relatively not well-off bunch, compared to other countries, we always find hope, joy and happiness in the little things, and hearing Christmas carols and welcoming the cooling breeze are just some of them. Who cares if many of us use these as excuses for R & R or respite from the day-to-day undertakings, this is a good thing right?

In the end, God knows, what we are, are really a unique group of happy, smiling and sturdy people who know how to appreciate a good thing and more important, anticipate an up and coming good time. As a dear friend used to say, work hard and rest easy.
Now, wake me up, let’s cool some beers.

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Honoring my Mother: Ode to youth on a weekend http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-ode-to-youth-on-a-weekend/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-ode-to-youth-on-a-weekend/#comments Mon, 27 Aug 2018 16:00:32 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61422 Read more ›]]> Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Ugh, that Beatles song again.

It’s another weekend morning. With a hangover starting to threaten in my head, as the direct result of last night’s drinking frenzy, I the zombie, slowly (and painfully) make my way to the corner store to buy some eggs and veggies for breakfast. Let me correct that; because my son’s classmates are coming over to cook food in under an hour for their school picnic this morning, I’m buying extra veggies and extra eggs so we could cook and prepare breakfast for all of us. The sun’s not fully out yet but I’ve got my handy shades on, just in case it suddenly bursts out from the gray clouds above and shocks these sleepy eyes out of their socks, er, sockets.

With my successful purchase safely tucked in my arms, I’m headed back home when suddenly, two kids run out of a neighbor’s open gate, gleefully shouting Marvel battle-cries and acting out a weird slow-mo sword dance. For a moment, my uneventful trudge towards home is broken by an accepting and bemused smile that seems to imply, “Ah, the wild abandon of being young!” Just looking at these kids at play at such an early hour has stirred up an envious feeling that directly cries out for my longing for more energy and staying power (and I’m not talking about Viagra folks).

Waking up and sprite-jumping out of bed has been one of the missed things I had not done in a long while. Time was when I had early morning runs, which were slowly reduced into morning walks, until… nothing. Nowadays, waking up also means rousing the aches and pains that you slept with the night before, like an insistent and clingy lover demanding an extra hug. The alarm clock, that seemingly immortal device created to haunt you every morning, had also totally turned against me.

My mindset is still stuck at a time when 30 or more years ago, I could play tennis all day and just need a good night’s sleep to recover. Speed and reflexes, those collateral victims of age, still linger, but now only as memories, while I wish I could still run all day like a colt and wield my racquet as if it were a magic wand, smashing enemy orbs left and right.

But enough of the remorse. This is really all about celebration. As I’ve seen with babies and youngsters alike everywhere, watching the gift of youth at full gallop always brings to the surface a strange feel of pure satisfaction, especially when viewed through the eyes of one who now dwells in fading sunlight. That sight is also of hope, that the cycle of life is a constant wheel where all play their dedicated parts as mere cogs towards our grand performance as one race in this creation.

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Honoring my Mother: A Madayaw kind of week http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-a-madayaw-kind-of-week/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-a-madayaw-kind-of-week/#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2018 16:00:28 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61232 Read more ›]]> I caught a bit of the Kadayawan fever this week. The Lumad festival that celebrates thanksgiving, bountiful harvest, and peaceful co-existence with others (in other words, the motherhood celebration of all celebrations) had everything happening in the city all at once.

There were art exhibitions, food fests, musical concerts, street dances, parades, and even a surfing competition, which I heard some reporters say, was a first in the city.

I was lucky enough to be squeezed into the concert circuit, and jam with some old friends from the 70s. Right, the last time that Rolly Maligad, Popong Landero and I shared a common stage may have been last year’s Kadayawan gig, but to be in one place again for this year’s festival, brings back to mind 41 years ago, we were in one “super” group which could monopolize a night’s gig in Manila’s music bars. Back then, we offered what bar owners deemed was a great package: three solo performances, a duet, a trio, and a full band. During that time, we even brought our own sound system and instruments (our drummer owned a music store).

Present day and here we were still at it. While Popong played with his own Reggae band, Roll had brought his Cocojam brand of music to session with local musicians and performed during the four days of the festival, and it was a thrill to play with him again. I couldn’t attend the scheduled rehearsals weeks earlier but that didn’t matter once we stepped on that stage, as years and years of playing together naturally kicked in and auto-mode was set to full on.

Naturally, after the first gig, I had posted a picture of us three on social media. Because of this, the thrill of playing together again was only overshadowed by the outpouring of responses from ancient 70s friends who came out of the woodwork, as if to say we’re all still here, and glad to see you’re still, well, alive and kicking ash. Looking into their present Facebook pics and seeing how we have all changed through the years was a pure delight and a source of teasing among a few of us. Truly, our mind’s eye is always locked in on how our acquaintances looked the last time, and that becomes radically challenged when they encounter the present-day image. No matter, we’re all still children in this universe anyway.

I know these friends from the good-old days have all gone through so many journeys and trials since the last time we saw each other, but hearing from them now had markedly narrowed that time-induced space between us once again, and surely, it’s the same with everyone. I have heard of a saying which roughly says that, when friends who have been apart for so long meet once more, and then simply start where they left off; that is a mark of true friendship.

These guys are just that and I’m happy for their being a part of my music life. Their reaching out during this festive occasion had definitely made this week double-whammy magical, and even for a brief moment in time, the memories of that rock and roll era had just come sneaking back and merging with the new age, under the festival lights of Kadayawan.

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Honoring my mother: Saying goodbye http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-saying-goodbye/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-saying-goodbye/#comments Mon, 13 Aug 2018 10:27:55 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61021 Read more ›]]> When you think about it, the term ‘goodbye’ evokes a deep sense of finality that is so difficult to comprehend. It often begs the question, what follows after you have said goodbye?

I have often heard advice from some people to “move on” at the drop of a hat, as though in a race but, in the proper context, how easy is it really, to utter a final goodbye when someone you love is on the brink of death?

It is August 13 once again and she should have been 91 this year.

I remember too well that it was midwinter in 2007, around seven in the evening, and my son and I were all alone in the house, when I received a call from my sister in Davao. Her voice was firm and straightforward, “Mama’s unresponsive and slipping fast. We think she can still hear, so I’m putting the phone close to her ear so you can to talk to her maybe one last time.”

At that moment, my first impulses were to hurry and be rattled, being afraid that I might miss out on all I yearned to say in so short a time. It didn’t even occur to me to slow down and collect my thoughts. What came out was a rambling, incohesive string of mumbles. I remember little of what transpired then, but still clear to me were a lot of jumbled regrets, loops upon loops of I-love-yous, and finally, after realizing that she had suffered enough for years, me telling her to rest, everything was going to be alright and to stop worrying about us. The connection broke off for a few minutes. When the next call came through again, mom was gone.
Up until this day, 11 years later, I still find myself feeling that I had not said enough during that fateful night. Would it have made a world of difference had I been there, physically present by her bedside? If so, I might not have said anything then, and knowing myself too well, I might have simply sat there dumb-stricken and just held her hand. Eloquence was out the window when I needed it the most.

It’s been 11 years, but I still sometimes find myself stuck back in time to that wintry night, composing and recomposing that opening farewell. With still so many things left to say, I often imagine what her response would have been, had she been able to answer me back that night.

In almost every conscious moment when a decision had to be made, I often ponder, how would she handle it? Be it in the middle of a struggle or a small victory, I’m still wishing she were here somehow to offer counsel, even though in the past, there were countless times when I didn’t heed her advice anyway. In all, I always see myself wishing she could still see how everything unfold now with the family or the clan, or just share with her anything, including even the most trivial moments.

I will keep at this until who knows when, that’s for sure. Those who may have lost a loved one definitely feel the same way too. Throughout all these, one learning stands out and I believe this to be an absolute truth. When it comes to the ones we really love, the act of saying that final goodbye means nothing because their essence continues to live on within you and meld into your core, in all the memories, shared past experiences and everything else that has made you you, until that fateful day when you both shall meet again. Eleven years mean nothing because I love you forever, mom!

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Honoring my Mother: Love thy neighbors http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-love-thy-neighbors/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-love-thy-neighbors/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2018 12:59:15 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60857 Read more ›]]> If respect for others were measured through a visual spectrum of colors, then living in the middle of a housing project, such as a subdivision, would totally be a rainbow.

As such, the most comprehensive variation of colored pencils would still be unavailable at any store and, if this were the case, the salesperson might probably just lie through his teeth and mutter, “walay stock sir.”

Aside from our house’s thin walls and the proximity of our door to the narrow street, the block-by-block configuration of the Philippine version of suburbia, is the perfect victim to a daily cacophony of audio interventions, or noise. Be it loud music, incessantly-crying two-year olds, or just naturally-boisterous neighbors, the daily bombardment is up to a point wherein, one just lamely accepts his fate (especially if you can’t afford to move to a much quieter neighborhood). Add to this the motorcycle-riding peanut vendor whose face shows up at the screen door, shouting “mani mani!” while you’re having breakfast.

I’ve really tried to take it all in stride and even attempted to convince myself to see a brighter side to all these. In almost any part of the house, I can get my daily update of the freshest gossip, left and right, and then opt to listen to various playlists and musical genres blaring like fire sirens from here to the corner. But no, it’s not my cup of tea. Sometimes, I fight fire with fire so to speak, and play harmonica blues music at near-full volume on our speakers. As this in turn, sends the neighbor’s dogs howling like crazy and irritated at the harp’s shrill sound, I feel sweet revenge seep in like a long nice drag from my Marlboros.

However, I have only resorted to this tactic a few times, as I myself cannot think when it’s too noisy in the house, especially come writing time. The struggle is all too real, mind you, and my only consolation is during the weekends. That’s when the neighbors (and their help) go en masse to either the malls or somewhere else to take a break from my torture.

The only welcome noise I want to hear next is the pot-pot horn of the garbage man, and my response to that would always be, “take them please!”

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Honoring my mother | Of lasting friendships in a smaller world http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-of-lasting-friendships-in-a-smaller-world/ http://mindanaotimes.net/honoring-my-mother-of-lasting-friendships-in-a-smaller-world/#comments Tue, 24 Jul 2018 01:46:11 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60552 ]]> Just before the weekend over a sumptuous dinner, my family and I touched base with two friends whom we had become very close to during our stay in Australia years ago.

The evening fete however unexpectedly turned into a wondrous chance meeting with someone whom I had not seen since college. As it dawned on me that our two pals and her had been colleagues throughout all these years without me knowing, the more pleasantly surprised I was. At this, our simple get-together had transformed into a double reunion of sorts, complete with continuous updates, laughter and the never-forgotten photo-ops (of course).

Reminiscing those college days, this girl-slash-friend had been one of the more popular ones among our batch, being the “crush” of classmates. Though she might have been on the lips of my buddies at that time, to me, she was always the witty and intelligent writer-to-be whom I secretly admired (in a rather quirky way) because of her outspoken and non-conformist nature. I had once spied written on her notebook under the portrait of Jose Rizal the caption, “super effing straight guy.” I had lauded her that at the time, as her maverick flare was rare among the “kolehiyalas.” For me, she was a gem, my kind of pal.

Through the years I have realized that while some friends have come and gone, and each life phase introduced new ones, there were those who defied distance and absence of communication altogether. These types of friendships refused to be cowed into falling in the complete-stranger abyss. For these friends, be it an island or half a world away, when you meet again, you carry on as though nothing had separated you in the first place.

These friendships are special, and only in reunions or chance encounters such as the one we had the night before, can their preciousness be appreciated. True at first light, Hemingway had said.
My attention is then turned to those five thousand or so-friends I see of other accounts on social media. Could it be that this “list of friends” also includes business contacts, acquaintances, co-workers and such, thus accounting for the thousand mark? How many or how few fall as your “friends?”

As I had done years before, I randomly ran through my list and asked questions like, what special moments have I with this individual? It had started a process where slowly, my roster eventually became a real category for me until now. While it may even be called other names for some people, at least the so-called friends’ list is always on “real-time.” In other words, we know who our real friends are.

Start from there. Weeding time. :)

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