Growing up was tough for me. I did not belong to a nuclear family. My mother worked hard raising me, but she had to travel to put me through school. I spent my childhood moving from place to place, living with my grandparents and relatives. Some may actually find that difficult, and yes, it was at times.

There were times of loneliness, times of trials, and there were times of questioning. In the midst of it, there were also times of learning and times of growth. There were opportunities to meet new friends from different places, fun times with cousins, and memorable moments with my grandparents.

Papalo” I will always treasure and be thankful for the time I spent with my cousins and grandparents in the province of Bohol, Philippines. The times I spent with my grandfather, who we all call “Papalo,” were very special! I remembered when he used to call out early in the morning, “LARGA!” means let’s go in the Visayan dialect. All of us would get up no matter how sleepy we were still, for it meant beach time. It was bonding time; it was time for fun!

My grandmother was a great cook. She spent most of her time in the kitchen. My favorite as a kid was her “flying saucer burger.” We call it as such since my grandmother would make it in this flying saucer looking cooking gadget. I will never forget the aroma of the burger as we all enter the house after playing outside; it sure made us all full and happy afterward.

A home filled with love
Their home was nothing special; it was simple, made out of wood and tin roof, but it was big enough to hold more than twenty kids and some adults. It was not a mansion, far from it for sure, but it sure felt like one to us. The house was filled with laughter and love, that’s all that mattered to us.

Fondest Memory One of the fondest memories I have as a child was when all of us would camp on the living room floor. Can you imagine twenty kids in the same room? Chaos right? Well, somewhat, but as soon as Papalo comes in and sits on his favorite wooden chair, we all get quiet. We all get comfortable as we listen to him tell us one of his made-up tales. Some made us laugh, and some were meant to scare us. It was our routine before going to sleep.

The next day, we are awakened by the sound of a man yelling, “puto Konchinta,” a popular breakfast treat in the Philippines. We all get up, run outside, making sure we don’t miss the man, but as always, Papalo beats us. We find him speaking to the man as if they were best friends. We go back in to see Mamala with hot cocoa ready for all of us. I will always be grateful for the time I had with my grandparents and with my cousins. One to be cherished for sure!

We celebrate Thanksgiving Day by being thankful for many things. We are grateful for good health, for blessings, for family and friends. Every day, I try to be appreciative of everything I have and don’t have. I make sure also to be grateful for the things I don’t have, for it makes me appreciate it more when I am given a chance to have them in the future.

In the spirit of this year’s Thanksgiving, I am making an intentional effort to look back, remember the good times, to cherish the memories I have with the special people in my life, especially those who had passed on and be thankful for them!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remembering, Regee Cabagnot, Rudolph “Tabugok” Cabagnot, Marcello “Papalo” and Florentina “Mamala” Cabagnot
Originally posted