Saturday, July 31, 2010

A funeral not attended, A fish pond started

Al Mitchell was buried today in the American Cemetery on Clark. Long before the ceremonies were to begin I was up, showered and dressed, fully intending to go and pay my respects to help give Al the send off he deserved.
I finished tying my shoe laces, stood up and had to sit right back down again. My heart was palpitating, my head spinning. Weak and powerless, I suddenly felt sick to my stomach. Divine was ready to go, already getting our scooter riding helmets ready for the trip.

“Give me five minutes,” I told her weakly, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

Worried, she nodded and went to get me a glass of water. I sat back in my easy chair with closed eyes and shaking hands. I realized I was having an anxiety attack, probably from the thought of attending the funeral. Anymore, going to those things brings on waves of panic and nausea.

Feeling guilty about not attending I changed back into shorts and t-shirt. Sorry about that Al. I’ll come out and say goodbye later. I promise.

During the days of worry, anger and fear over the then unsolved Angeles City murders I did a lot of watchful meditation way in the back of my yard.
I go there to rest and think, sitting on a bench located strategically behind a visually protective wall of vegetation where I feel relaxed and secure, my feet propped on rocks topping the eastern rim of the depressed feature of my tropical rock garden. It's safe there in that deeply shaded spot, my back against a high wall where I can easily see anyone and everything while they have no idea that I'm there.

The gardens back there have been in place for two years now and other than the climbing spread of the pothos and other vines up the mango tree it looks much like it has from the beginning.
Thinking back, most of my visitors over the years ask if I intend to turn the rock lined yard deep hole, its sides filled with various types of growing plants, into a fish pond. I always chuckle, agreeing that doing such a thing would be pretty cool indeed.
"Maybe someday..." I always answer them.

There was something about the unexpectedness of the deaths of the Brit, the Canadian and the American, all older retired men in similar circumstances to my own, that brought to mind the concept that life is too short to NOT do worthwhile things WHEN possible.

Looking into the green depths of the rocky hole at my feet, it suddenly seemed more like a verdant mocking grave. At that moment I felt compelled to fill it with water and brightly colored fish. I thought of blogger Ed’s post on a really cool Koi pond and in a flash I knew I would make it happen.
Slapping my knees I got up to go find Divine. Her brother-in-law, Eddie, has always been my go-to guy when these inspirational urges to build or improve the homestead come over me.

“Sweetie, call Eddie. I got a new project for him. I want to build a fishpond!”

She laughed and I saw that look on her face that says “Oh boy, here we go again.”

The very next day Eddie came over and I explained what I wanted and showed him where I wanted it. In seconds my little idea became his grand vision.

The day after that, this morning, he was over bright and early with his stone and mortar man. Eddie also brought with him two of his grown sons, his standby workforce, to help with all the preparatory grunt work, such as transplanting the plants into pots and helping to dig up the rocks and boulders that used to make up the structure of the rock garden.

It was surprising how much dirt was removed to make enough space. As they dug out the area, enlarging what I thought was already a substantial hole, I figured at least a couple yards worth of sand and mango roots were wheel barrowed to a new pile across the yard.

The rest of the day was spent mixing cement out on the street and transporting it to the work site where the tile and mortar expert used it to form the foundation and walls of the forthcoming fish pond. By the end of the afternoon we had two tiers completed with two or three more to go.

When we do stuff like this everyone in the household takes great interest in watching the proceedings, and with great patience and good nature, no one involved doing the actual work minds in the least, a very sweet Filipino quality I've observed over the years.

Tomorrow is Saturday, but all the workers will be back once again bright and early to continue to build on the latest project. Tune in tomorrow to see how it progresses. I’m kind of anxious myself to see how it goes. I've got some really cool ideas I want to pitch to Eddie while we still have time to incorporate them.


Ed said...

I hate going to funerals and try to avoid them unless absolutely necessary.

I like the start of your koi pond. After reading about your various projects, I often wished I had a person like Eddy to call at a moments notice for projects like that. People like him are hard to come by here in the states.

Beau said...

Your garden looks beautiful, and will be even nicer with the pond finished.

I'm sorry about your friend, and understand how hard it must have been.

PhilippinesPhil said...

One of my best friends went to the funeral. He said hundreds of people showed up. Al deserved it, but what he REALLY deserves is to be ALIVE!!!! God DAMN the man who killed him. I'm so mad I can hardly see to type this.

I'm lucky to have Eddie. He's a gem. He's out there right now standing over the brick and tile man as each new stone goes in. Going to buy a submersible pump now to make a waterfall on the far side of the pond.

justkyut said...

sorry you were not able to attend the funeral... but were you able to pay him a visit?

wow! you got a nice backyard! and now you're building a pond more wow! hmmm... I think I know that road infront of your abode... but I like too the long stairs up to the trees... was is that for? just asking... it's ok if you don't want to answer it...

PhilippinesPhil said...

Not yet... I will by next week though.

The stairs go up almost fifty feet to a platform at the top of my fruit trees. We also incorporated some catwalks from the tower into the trees to make it easier to pick fruit and prune branches. Its a nice place to go up and catch a breeze and to be able to see the mountains in the distance. I have a small place but we take advantage of every square inch of it, including the "up" areas as well. Hey, if you'd like to catch up on my "treehouse" posts, click on this link.

justkyut said...

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! Truly amazing! From nothing to something, you turned your yard into a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing the photos... You got lovely kids! :-)
I wish I have a place where I can unwind after my work... I bet you go up there during sunset.. I was wishing to get a photo of the sunset but I got no place to take a good shot of it and your tower is a wonderful place to take photos. I'll arrange some shots I took and share them with you but there's no sunset in them lolz!

justkyut said...

Phil, here are some of the photos I took,