Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Attorney Crescente Caladiao, "Lolo Dear"

"Heaven On My Mind"

Attorney Crescente Caladiao or as I would call him "Lolo." ("Lolo" in Tagalog means grandfather.) I was a "lolo's girl" and loved it! Not for the attention I get from all the cousins who might have envied me for being his favorite, but because of what this man, this greatly revered man has taught me.

I had two mentors in my childhood: my mom, the science genius in the family, the Physics teacher, the perfectionist and my grandfather. Now, what my grandfather has taught me, I have not acquired in any science or math text that my mom and I would pore over when I was in my earlier years. No, my grandfather has showed me "self-denial."

"Our life is not ours, but is given by God, therefore is God's," proclaimed John, my friend, at bible study this morning. As I heard those words, the image of my grandfather formed clearly in my mind. His persona serves as a living representation of the word 'service.' He is a natural humanist, and always believed in the Miss America's dream of "world peace." That might be a mockery to others but not to my grandpa who believed in a state of illumination despite war. As Barbara Smith Conrad, Civil Rights Pioneer, said "As is taught in the Christian faith, you make peace, not war. There is something so much more dynamic and noble if you can turn lemons into lemonade show(979)." People, who "amidst the darkness, don't forget to turn on the light", as Dumbledore said on the seventh book of Harry Potter, fascinate and inspire me. My grandfather and Barbara Conrad's inner will to create a place of peace has changed me, in that their leadership in the Christian and social community has ignited in me a will to serve others.

My grandfather is smart, inquisitive and never wastes a tick of a second with nothingness nor despair. He is amused by little things, nature. It's as if he sees the presence of God in a rock, a tree, or an ant. His love for books and his never-halting desire to learn as much from the world has molded me into someone aspiring to be "well-rounded."

I can't help but noticing the similarities in traits between my lolo and Betty S. Flowers as she tells her life at The University of Texas during the 60's, the "flower power" era, and the Vietnam War. My grandfather, like Flowers, lived during the times of war. my grandfather have lived in an underground cave to escape the Japanese bombs soaring in the pacific air in the Philippines. Both have the sight on things, the ability to see beauty in everyone, everything and the will to go on despite what I would have probably called "hell." Betty S. Flowers says during the many protests and angry riots on campus in the 60's, "At sunrise I had been setting up nets in a cow pasture north of town to catch birds for the laboratory at Balcones where I worked half-time. At noon I had been singing with a hundred others... At two, I had heard a brilliant lecture on T.S. Eliot." Betty has not succumbed to the troubles of her time. She is similar to my grandfather, who went to school during World War II, sold purple yams while so their family could eat and still enjoy a book. He contains a certain state of mentality, of peace, of Nirvana, that I would compare to Gandhi's as he walked barefoot on the Salt March and meditated on the wind-blown beaches of India. Betty S. Flowers said one afternoon as she sat on the Tower stacks of UT in 1967, " [I] considered what a luxury it was to spend an afternoon reading Ezra Pound, and thought to myself that being at The University of Texas was wonderful... It still is (968)." Now, my grandfather and his presence brings about the same feeling in me about life that Betty had that afternoon. My Grandfather, a real man, with flaws like a norman human being, is the closest god-like persona I have ever known.

He is like my torch, my guiding light. His presence enlightens, illuminates, satisfies. His presence is--- "heaven on my mind."